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What is the Best Fire Extinguisher for Your Building?

You probably know by now that there are many different types of fire extinguishers – some designed to put out fires caused by everyday combustible materials like wood, paper and plastic; others for flammable liquids like gasoline or petroleum; still others for electrical fires – the list goes on! With so many options, how do you decide which is the best fire extinguisher for your building?

Best fire extinguisher for office buildings – in general, the best fire extinguisher for an office building is a dry chemical ABC fire extinguisher. Fires in office buildings are generally (hopefully!) rare and will usually be caused by ordinary flammable materials such as trash, wood, paper, cloth, etc. Note: since the dry chemical extinguishing agent is mildly corrosive, you will need to clean up any residue immediately after the fire is completely out.

Best fire extinguisher for hospitals – if you work in a hospital, you are likely to experience the same types of fires that you would in a standard office building. However, due to the amount of sensitive life-saving electronic equipment present in every part of a hospital, the corrosive extinguishing agent found in dry chemical fire extinguishers may actually end up doing as much damage as the fire itself! For this reason, the best fire extinguisher for hospitals is a water mist fire extinguisher – this will put out the most common types of fires while causing no damage to your electronic equipment.

Best fire extinguisher for commercial kitchens – because of the unique (and often extreme) hazard level present in commercial kitchens, there is a special type of fire extinguisher designed specifically to protect this type of environment. Class K fire extinguishers are the best fire extinguishers for commercial kitchens because they are designed to handle the intense heat of cooking oils and grease and other flammable items commonly found there.

Best fire extinguisher for laboratories – choosing the best fire extinguisher for a laboratory can be tricky. Since the specific type of hazard present in laboratories can vary so much, it helps to determine the type of hazard first, then figure out the best fire extinguisher to use:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers – CO2 fire extinguishers are designed to put out fires caused by electricity or flammable liquids. They are the best fire extinguishers for many laboratories because they leave behind no damaging residue that could harm electronic equipment. Note: DO NOT use CO2 fire extinguishers for fires caused by flammable metals such as Grignard reagents, alkyllithiums and sodium metal. The CO2 will react with these materials, potentially causing the fire to spread rather than stop!
  • Metal / sand extinguishers – these are the best fire extinguishers for flammable metals and work by simply smothering the fire until it dies. The most common type of metal fire extinguisher is sodium chloride, which cakes up when it heats up and dissipates the heat from the fire. Another popular variety is powdered copper metal. The extinguishing agent in this type of fire extinguisher clings to vertical surfaces, making it the best fire extinguisher for fighting rapidly spreading fires.

Choosing the best fire extinguisher for your New Jersey, Delaware or Philadelphia building is extremely important if you want to afford yourself the maximum protection. For more information or for fire extinguisher installation or service, call Confires today!

Category: Fire Extinguishers