During a fire, panic can set in, and all you want to focus on is putting out the fire as quickly as possible, using the available fire extinguishers. However, there are different types of fire extinguishers as there are different types of fire classes. When it comes to putting out Class B (flammable liquids and gases) and Class E (energised electrical) fires, a carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguisher is the best suitable choice.
Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers contain pressurised carbon dioxide gas stored in the extinguisher as a liquid. This makes the CO2 gas come out at great speed, which is why they’re not recommended for cooking fires because they could blast the fire into surrounding areas. The CO2 fire extinguisher can be easily recognised by its slimmer red body, sizeable black horn, and lack of pressure gauge.
Top 5 Things To Know About Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers:
CO2 Fire Extinguishers Are Especially Effective For Extinguishing Class B Fires And Electrical Fires
Class B fires that can be extinguished by this fire extinguisher include flammable liquids, solvents, tars, oil greases (excluding cooking oils/greases), oil-based paints, and lacquer. CO2 fire extinguishers can also be used for any class E fire which involves energised electrical equipment.
Carbon Dioxide Displaces Oxygen To Extinguish The Flame
When the lever of the extinguisher is pressed, the CO2 gas discharges into the air in the form of dry ice particles and displaces the oxygen fueled by the fire.
A combustible material, heat, and oxygen are required for a fire to start. Since the fire is now deprived of oxygen, the fire goes out.
However, a CO2 extinguisher may not effectively stop the fire outside because the wind may direct the gas away from the fire – and supply the fire with more oxygen instead.
CO2 Fire Extinguishers Have A Relatively Small Horizontal Discharge Distance
Like other gases, the CO2 gas spreads immediately after it’s discharged, but its horizontal spray distance is limited to 1 to 3 meters, which is just about half the average spray distance of an ABE extinguisher. This implies that you should only use this type of extinguisher in minimal fire outbreaks.
They Don’t Leave Any Residue Behind After Use
CO2 extinguishers are effective because they reduce the oxygen content in the atmosphere, thus preventing combustion(burning fire) from continuing.
And after a short while that the carbon dioxide gas has neutralised the fire, it will dissipate into the air, leaving no residue behind.
This makes a CO2 extinguisher ideal for electrical equipment, server rooms, offices, or homes. In this way, you can even continue working immediately after using CO2 without damage caused by extinguishing.
On the other hand, when using other extinguishers like water, powder, or foam, even a small extinguished fire would render the machines unusable.
Avoid Contact With Bare Skin
The CO2 is usually very cold – an advantage as it helps cool down the flammable liquids or electronics in a fire. However, due to the freezing temperature of the carbon dioxide, it can cause frostbite if there’s contact between it and the bare skin. So avoid any contact.
Do you know the right fire extinguisher for your building?
Do you have many sections in your establishment or home and are unsure which type of extinguisher is most suitable?
Our team of experts at Spectrum Fire Protection will be happy to explain the difference between different fire extinguishers and when which extinguisher is the right one.
We can also help you with the professional inspection, testing, and maintenance of your fire extinguishers. This way, you are always assured of a properly working fire extinguisher in an emergency.
We are an IQP-registered company, fully qualified to carry out necessary compliance checks on fire protection equipment. So give us a call today for assistance in finding the right fire extinguisher for your building.