Fire Safety

Regardless of the industry fire is a major hazard for all. Fire extinguishers can greatly reduce the risk of a fire escalating, but if used incorrectly they could potentially increase the risk of injury, the size and outcome of the situation.

Training is vital when it comes to the use of fire extinguishers as the use of the wrong extinguisher in the wrong way could lead to disaster!

Before using an extinguisher it is important to know what is on fire. Fires can by classed into different groups.

The following are the different classes of fire:

  • Class A: Ordinary combustibles or solids Fire Fighters
    e.g Wood, Cloth, paper, sawdust, tyres, rubber, plastics, hay etc
  • Class B: Flammable or combustible liquids and liquefiable solids
    e.g Petrol, Paint, Alcohol, Varnish etc
  • Class C: Flammable gases and liquefied gases
    e.g. Propane, Butane, Oxygen
  • Class D: Combustible metals
    e.g. Sodium, Potassium, Steel
  • Class E: Electrically energised equipment
    e.g. Any electrical equipment fire
  • Class F: Cooking oils and fats
    e.g. Deep Fat fryer fire etc

There are three things vital for a fire to survive. They are Fuel, Heat and Oxygen this is known as the fire triangle. Fire extinguishers are designed to remove one or more of these factors.

There are five different types of fire extinguisher:

  • WaterFire Extinguisher
    A fire extinguisher containing water can be used on Class A fires such as wood, paper, textile and solid material fires.
    They are red in colour and should never be used on liquid, electrical or metal fires.
  • Foam
    A foam based fire extinguisher can be used on both A & B class fires. It can be used on solid fires and liquid fires such as petrol, paint etc.
    They are red in colour with a Cream label. They should not be used on electrical or metal fires.
  • Dry Powder
    Can be used on class A, B,C & E fires. They are very versatile but are very messy when used.
    They are red with a Blue label and should not be used on metal fires.
  • Carbon Dioxide
    C02 extinguishers can be used on class B, C & E fires. They have a high internal pressure and parts can get very cold during use, because of this the discharge horn should not be held while in use.
    They are red with a Black label and should not be used on metal fires.
  • Wet Chemical
    Wet chemical fire extinguishers are designed to be used on deep fat fryers and other class F fire but can also be used on class A fires. All of the contents should be emptied on to the fire when used.
    They are red in colour with a Canary Yellow label and should not be used on electrical fires.

Fire extinguishers should only be used if it is safe to do so and if your are trained on the use of fire extinguishers.

Phoenix Safety offer a wide range of fire safety courses which include a fire extinguisher demonstration, contact info@phoenixsafety.ie or (01) 4730550 for more details.