When people talk about fire extinguishers, they address them as if they are all the same. However, that is not true. Different types of fire extinguishers use different methods for putting out fires and are designed for different types of fires. Therefore, it is essential to understand the different fire extinguishers so you can purchase the right ones for your needs.

1. Water

Some fire extinguishers are actually just filled with water. This essential fire extinguisher is designed to put out a fire started with wood, paper, and textiles. If you are going camping or have a fire pit outside, a simple water-based fire extinguisher can meet your needs. This basic type of extinguisher is often found in places such as schools, hotels, shops, and offices.

Water extinguishers are affordable to purchase. Some water extinguishers have an additive to increase the effectiveness of the water and reduce the weight of the device. Those models tend to be a little more expensive.

2. Foam 

Foam extinguishers are likely the most recognizable. Foam extinguishers work on two different types of fires: those that contain wood and textiles as well as those that are started due to a flammable liquid. They are not designed for electrical fires but can help put out an electrical fire if you are ready for a bigger cleanup job. Foam extinguishers tend to be a little more expensive than water-based extinguishers.

3. Dry Powder 

Dry powder extinguishers, also called ABC powder extinguishers, are the workhouse of fire extinguishers. They tend to be on a smaller size, as they contain ultra-fine, microscopic, dry demineralized water particles.

They work on four different classes of fires, making them one of the most versatile extinguishers to keep on hand. They can put out wood-based fires, flammable liquid fires, flammable gas fires, and electrical contact fires. The only thing they are not designed to work on is cooking oil and grease fires.

4. Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide, or CO2 extinguishers, only use pressurized carbon dioxide gas to put out the fire. They also only work on fires where liquids are burning or where there is an electrical fire. They suffocate the fire without causing additional damage to whatever is on fire.

CO2 fire extinguishers are very specialized/ they can be dangerous when used in confined spaces, with the wrong fire type, or if not handled properly during discharge. They tend to be expensive and found more in setting such as a computer label or center.

5. Wet Chemical 

A wet chemical extinguisher is designed for wood-based fires and cooking and grease fires. This fire extinguisher works well in home-based settings, as it can tackle two common types of fires one may experience in a home or a restaurant. They have alkali salts mixed in with the water designed to create a mist that cools things off and keeps things contained.

Before you buy an extinguisher, think about what types of fires you may encounter in your environment, and then choose an extinguisher that will work for those situations. For more information about fire extinguishers, contact a supplier.