Health and Safety Revision – Fire Extinguisher Types

This health and safety revision section is based on the different types of fire extinguishers, passing the CSCS test requires you to have a good grasp of a wide variety of health and safety topics.

This includes fire extinguishers, the different types of fire extinguishers and how to correctly and effectively use a fire extinguisher.

Because every working environment carries a potential fire risk, it’s very important to include fire safety in all health and safety revision guides, it wouldn’t just help you get a CSCS card it could save your life.

Similar to our CSCS health and safety mock test, the real health and safety test will have questions on the different types of fire extinguishers and their uses, below are a few of the most common fire extinguisher types, you can use them as revision for your health and safety test.

Types of fire extinguishers

  • Foam Fire Extinguishers
  • Water Fire Extinguishers
  • Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers
  • CO2 Fire Extinguishers
  • Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Types of Fires and materials

  • Class A – Solid materials – wood, paper, plastic etc
  • Class B – Flammable liquids – oil, petrol etc
  • Class C – Flammable gases – propane, butane etc
  • Class D – Metals – titanium, aluminium etc
  • Class F – Cooking oils and fats
  • Electrical Fires – Live electrical equipment

Water Fire Extinguishers

Water fire extinguishers are suitable for use on wood, paper and fabric. They should not be used on electrical fires, fat fires, flammable liquids and gas.

The water fire extinguisher can generally be used on class A fires. Water fire extinguishers are well known for reducing the risk of burning materials scattering.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

Foam fire extinguishers are suitable for use on paper, wood, flammable liquids and soft furnishing. They are not suitable for electrical fires.

Foam extinguishers can be used on both Class A and Class B fires, when discharged it acts as a barrier which seals off the lit area and prevents re-ignition of the materials.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

Dry powder fire extinguishers are one of the most versatile types of fire extinguishers because they can be used on gas, flammable liquids, chemical, oil, electrical hazards and engines but they should not be used in confined spaces.

Dry powder fire extinguishers can be used on class A, Class B and Class C fires. The powder is a highly effective material for putting out electrical hazards and flammable liquids. It should not be used in confined spaces and is quite messy.

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

Co2 fire extinguishers are very good for use on category B fires, this is fire caused by flammable liquids and they’re also good for electrical fires as well, this type of fire extinguisher comes with anti-static horns that allow the user to be in a safe position while the co2 is being discharged.

These horns are non-conductive. The carbon dioxide forms a white cloud which blocks oxygen and eventually puts the fire out. Note that the nozzle of this fire extinguisher becomes very cold.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

This type of fire extinguisher is especially effective on class F fires. It is commonly used to tackle cooking oil fires in restaurants and cooking schools.

When this type of fire extinguisher is discharged it produces a fine spray which tackles the flames and the wet chemicals form a soap-like film that blocks air and cools the surface.

Fire Extinguisher Colour Coding

  • Carbon dioxide (co2) – Black
  • Water – Red
  • Dry Powder – Blue
  • Foam – Cream
  • Wet Chemical – Yellow

If you’ve got a pretty good understanding of the different types of fire extinguishers you should try our short CSCS mock test on fire extinguishers and see how much you really know.

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