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The Types Of Fire Extinguisher Out There For Use In Business

Aug 22, 2008
In all businesses the fire extinguisher is a common sight, one being present in nearly every room and stairwell. Legally the extinguisher is a necessity, as is the training that staff members should undertake so they can manage fire effectively. While large fires should be left to the professionals, an extinguisher can be a useful tool in fighting a way out of the building. Understandably having the right training to recognise the types of extinguisher as well as the best ways to use them is an essential responsibility of all business owners, legally and morally.

In terms of the types of extinguisher out there, there are four distinct varieties that have specific uses for certain applications. Legislation ensures that a company must have a suitable number of each variety depending upon the operations being performed on the premises. It is down to effective training that members of staff will be able to recognise the type of fire and select the correct extinguisher for the purpose. This is however made easier thanks to the simplistic labelling of the varieties that uses shapes and colours. Once again effective training enables the user to decode the symbols and find the right tool for the job.

As well as the colour and shapes there is a class system that uses the letters A, B, C and D to define the specific application. A, B and C class extinguishers can usually be used in multi purpose situations while D class are used for certain types of fire. The extinguishers are still labelled with the colours and shapes although manufacturers are realising the importance of using simplistic logos to make use easier. Even with these simple logos and diagrams, training should still be conducted as part of any health and safety plan.

The substances used in fire extinguisher varieties means that they will be suitable for certain types of blaze. These fall into four categories.

The dry chemical form of extinguishers are filled with a substance that is suitable for combating most fires. Naturally the compression agent that gives the extinguishing power is non flammable.

Halon extinguishers are deemed as specialist and are used in areas where there is a large amount of expensive electrical equipment. This is due to the fact that halon extinguishers leave no residue and will not damage valuable equipment while being able to put out the blaze.

The oldest form of extinguisher is the water variety, in the past these had to be tipped up and gravity forced the liquid from the canister. Today they are pressurised, although they should not be used on any fires that contain electrical equipment or flammable liquids such as oil.

Carbon dioxide extinguishers are some of the most widely used in business as well as domestic premises. These can be used on most fires and put out the fire by starving it of oxygen. Training for CO2 canisters is vital as knowing when the fire is out is hard to judge, as is knowing how far to stand from the fire when extinguishing.

With such a large variety in the different forms of fire fighting equipment out there it is understandable that many businesses feel the need to send their staff members on training courses. Having this vital knowledge really can save lives, helping people control fire in its early stages as well as aiding them in escaping a burning building. As previously mentioned leaving fires to the professionals is always advisable, but any help you can give to them will be gladly accepted.
About the Author
Regulatory expert Thomas Pretty looks into the importance of fire extinguisher training in the business world.
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