Fire Extinguisher Colours

Whether it’s in the home, in public or in the workplace, fire safety should never be underestimated. However, while many of us may feel confident about the basics of staying safe in the event of a fire, few know the importance of identifying the different fire extinguisher colours.

Fire extinguishers are often the most readily available and most effective way to defend against fires, and all extinguishers manufactured in accordance with official fire safety standards adhere to a coding system. The colour code of an extinguisher determines what type of fire and what types of materials it is safe to be used on.


Solid red is one of the most common fire extinguisher colours, and it can be found in many domestic, commercial and industrial environments.

arrow3Contains water.

arrow3Safe for use on solid combustible materials like paper, wood and textiles.

arrow3Should not be used around electrical equipment or electrical outlets.

arrow3Suitable for use on class A fires. (ordinary combustibles).


A fire extinguisher with a cream band above the operating instructions contains foam, and they are a more versatile (but more expensive) alternative to red extinguishers.

arrow3Contains Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF).

arrow3Is safe for use on solid combustible materials as well as flammable liquids.

arrow3AFF foam creates a layer which can help prevent fires from re-igniting after it has been extinguished.

arrow3Suitable for use on class A and B fires. (combustible or flammable liquids).


Fire extinguishers with a blue colour code contains dry powder, and they are a multipurpose extinguisher which can be found in many different risk environments.

arrow3Contains a dry powder which smothers fires.

arrow3Is safe for use on solid combustible materials, flammable liquids and gases.

arrow3Is safe for use on fire classes A, B and C (flammable gases).

arrow3A special powder is also available for class D (metal fires), but these are not suitable for use on any other fire class.

arrow3Always ensure that the gas supply has been shut off before tackling a flammable gas fire.


Fire extinguishers with a black coding contain carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, and they are often found in environments which are at risk of electrical fires.

arrow3Sprays CO2 gas which suffocates the fire and displaces the amount of oxygen in the air.

arrow3Can be used on fires involving electrical equipment and flammable liquid fires.

arrow3Is safe for use on class B fires.

arrow3Leaves no residue behind so it is one of the cleanest ways to extinguish a fire.

arrow3It is very important that black fire extinguishers are used in well ventilated areas because the CO2 can cause asphyxiation.


A yellow coding signifies a wet chemical extinguisher, and these are typically suited to kitchen environments.

arrow3Contains a special chemical agent which coats and blankets the fire with a layer of foam. Unlike other foam extinguishers, the wet chemical has a faster acting cooling effect.

arrow3Should only be used on class F fires which contain cooking fats and oils but it can also be used on class A fires as well.

The fire extinguisher colour code acts as a visual aid for users to determine what type of fire the extinguisher is suitable for. Using an extinguisher from the wrong colour code can be hazardous, so any person working in a high risk environment like a kitchen or industrial setting should know the different fire extinguisher colours and their purposes.

Test your knowledge of fire extinguishers with our free interactive CSCS fire extinguishers mock test.

Category: CSCS Test Revision

Comments (7)

  1. Hector Robinson says:

    I found it very helpful for revision I would recormend it to anyone

  2. steve says:

    Excellent interactive mock tests, and an excellent revision aid, they will have been invaluable when I sit my HSE TEST to renew my cpcs card. Thanks.

  3. Harry says:

    Good Info

  4. jamie page says:

    did very well

  5. Chris says:

    Cracking mock test really helped thanks.

  6. stephen coward says:

    this is very helpfull

  7. Barry Forster says:

    Very useful info

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