Archive for the Fire Extinguishers Category

Which Fire Extinguisher Should You Use?

There are a variety of extinguishers that use different extinguishing agents depending on the type of fire. Would you know which type to use if a fire broke out?

Water- Air Pressurized Water Extinguishers (APW) – These extinguishers use water as the main extinguishing agent, usually filled two thirds of the way with water. The other third is pressurized air. APW’s are ideal for Class A fires and extinguish the fire by “cooling the surface of the fuel to remove the heat element of the fire triangle.” According to OSHA, class A fires involve wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and certain plastics. FPT’s extinguisher manager, Rob Babcock, says an easy way to remember a Class A type fire is “Anything that is burnable that leaves an ash.”

CO2 or Dry Chemical – Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers – These extinguishers use CO2 as the main extinguishing agent. The non-flammable gas is under extreme pressure, allowing it to cool the fire because pieces of dry ice shoot from the horn. The CO2 works to displace the oxygen. According to OSHA, CO2 extinguishers are designed for Class B and C (flammable liquid and electrical) fires.

Multi Purpose- Dry Chemical Extinguisher – These extinguishers use ammonium phosphate to put the fire out by coating the fuel with a “layer of fire retardant powder, separating the fuel from the oxygen.” These are used for class A, B, and C fires.

Class K – Wet Chemical Extinguishers for Kitchen Fires – A class K fire extinguisher is designed to be used in the case of a kitchen fire. According to OSHA,

“Due to the higher heating rates of vegetable oils in commercial cooking appliances NFPA 10, Portable Fire Extinguishers, now includes a Class K rating for kitchen fires extinguishers which are now required to be installed in all applicable restaurant kitchens. Once a fire starts in a deep fryer, it cannot always be extinguished by traditional range hoods or Class B extinguishers.”

Class K extinguishers usually use potassium bicarbonate as an extinguishing agent. Furthermore, some Class K extinguishers spray a fine mist and are considered a Class K wet chemical extinguisher.

Clean Agent/Halocarbon Based Extinguisher – These extinguishers are ideal for a computer room/IT room where no residue or water can be used. A Halotron 1 extinguisher “is a clean agent that leaves no residue after application, and consequently inflicts little to no collateral damage on equipment in the vicinity of the fire.”

Class D Fire Extinguishers- These extinguishers are used for combustible metal fires. “Badger’s Class D Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher is ideal for addressing combustible metal fires involving metals like magnesium, sodium, potassium and sodium-potassium alloys.”

Of course, many buildings require a variety of different types of fire extinguishers to satisfy the many emergency scenarios that could arise.

For questions about what type of extinguisher would best fit your needs or to schedule a fire extinguisher training class, contact us or reach out to

Wondering if your building is up to code? Contact FPT for a free compliance audit.

Fire Protection Team, with locations in Connecticut and Southern New Hampshire, is the Northeast’s premier source for all your fire protection and life safety needs.

Fire Extinguisher Knowledge is Critical

fireextinguisherWould you know how to use a fire extinguisher in the event of an emergency? Would your staff members and coworkers know which extinguisher to choose and how to discharge it safely?

While many buildings are stocked with extinguishers at key locations, their effectiveness is lost if people are afraid to use them in an emergency or simply lack the know-how of how use them safely.

Nearly three in four Americans have never used a fire extinguisher, according to polls. More than half of adults surveyed by Harris, 55 percent, have never used or received training on the proper operation of a fire extinguisher. According to the NFPA, “Once a fire begins its size and intensity can double in just 60 seconds.” This makes quick action critical if a fire breaks out. Fire extinguisher training helps to ensure proper use and confidence in the event of an emergency.

Extinguisher dataAt a recent Fire Protection Team training session at a local nursing home, most employees claimed to have knowledge of the acronym PASS – a commonly-used reminder of the steps involved in fire extinguisher use (see below). However, after an on the spot quiz from the FPT trainer, it was clear they were a bit unsure.

Life Safety Codes require both the placement and training in the proper use of fire extinguishers in commercial buildings. In fact, training sessions are required by OSHA requirement 1910.157(g)

“Where the employer has provided portable fire extinguishers for employee use in the workplace, the employer shall also provide an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage fire fighting.”

Fire Protection Team training sessions are designed to both satisfy the OSHA standard and prepare employees for an emergency.

How does a training session work? Prior to the training event, Fire Protection Team sets up a tub filled with water with a pipe running underneath that delivers propane to the tank to act as fuel for the fire. This demo setup is designed to maximize safety of all participants and our staff. The propane that acts as fuel comes from a propane tank similar to the one on your gas grill at home. This allows for the fire to be turned on or off with the twist of a dial. Additionally, using propane ensures there is no mess left at the site of the demo. CO2 extinguishers are used to ensure no powdery mess is left at the site.

Fire Protection Team provides the all the extinguishers needed for the training. The trainer reviews topics such as types of fires, various types of extinguishers, proper use of a fire extinguisher and most importantly what to do in case of an emergency.

The acronym PASS provides a convenient way to remember the necessary steps for fire extinguisher use.

P – Pull or twist the pin, essentially breaking the seal and “unlocking” the extinguisher.

A – Aim at the base of fire, standing 6 to 8 feet away.

S – Squeeze the lever on the top releasing the agent used to extinguish the fire.

S – Sweep across the base of the fire.

After each individual successfully extinguishers the fire, the trainer answers any questions or concerns that may have come up throughout the training.

For questions about what type of extinguisher would best fit your needs, or to schedule a fire extinguisher training class, contact

Wondering if your building is up to code? Contact Fire Protection Team for a free compliance audit. Fire Protection Team, with locations in Connecticut and Southern New Hampshire, is the Northeast’s premiere source for fire protection and life safety needs.

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