Choosing the right fire extinguisher for industrial use

In case of a fire, it's important you have provided the proper equipment for your company. There are different types of fire extinguishers that are suitable for different types of fires. Depending on your workplace, there might be one or more type of extinguisher that is preferable for your company. It's important that you educate yourself what might be appropriate for your needs.

Electrical equipment

Depending on what type of industry you're working in, there are different kinds of fire extinguishers. If you are working with a lot of electrical equipment, you need an extinguisher suitable for class E fires. To not damage the electrical equipment, there are extinguishers available that use carbon dioxide to put out the fire. The gas smothers the fire, but does not soak anything, leaving electrical equipment unharmed. It's not always appropriate to use these types of extinguishers, as the gas doesn't have a cooling effect, which might cause the fire to re-ignite. This type is also only suitable for small fires. Special types of powder extinguishers are also available for electrical fires.

Powder extinguishers

Other types of powder extinguishers are also available for fires involving combustible metals. Powder extinguishers are in general suitable for putting out fires in flammable liquids and gases (fires of class B and C). Inhaling the powder from the extinguisher might, however, be dangerous for your health, which makes powder extinguishers inappropriate for use in small, confined spaces. It also doesn't have a cooling effect on the fire, so be prepared if the fire was to re-ignite.

Wet chemicals

Fires in cooking oil and fat, a class F fire, should be put out using an extinguisher with wet chemicals. These types of extinguishers can be dangerous to use around electrical equipment. This is also the case with water and foam extinguishers. These limitations might be an indication for you to get different types of extinguishers for different parts of your work space. Just make sure the sign which says what type of fire class to use the particular extinguisher on is clearly visible, and that everybody in the company understand the different fire classes.

Seek expert advice

For your fire extinguishing needs, make sure to contact a fire servicing professional that can advice you on what types of extinguishers are appropriate for industrial use. They might also be able to recommend any additional equipment that you might need, like fire blankets or fire extinguishing trailers that are appropriate to use in large spaces. They will also be able to tell you about the local laws and restrictions when it comes to fire extinguishing equipment.