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How to Choose a Fire Extinguisher

Posted on: August 26, 2010

Purchasing a fire extinguisher for your home or office seems like a given – of course you want to be protected from fire. But how do you know which fire extinguisher is right for you though? There are a variety of fire extinguishers on the market, and all are designed to do slightly different things.

The most important thing to consider when installing a new portable fire extinguisher is whether you want a water extinguisher, dry chemical extinguisher, or carbon dioxide extinguisher. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to consider your own specific needs before settling on a purchase.

Water extinguishers

Water extinguishers are extremely effective against Class A (wood, paper, cardboard) fires ONLY. Using a water extinguisher on a Class B (grease or oil) fire will cause the grease and flames to spread. Using water on a Class C (electrical) fire can create a serious risk of dangerous electric shock! All Class A fire extinguishers have a numerical rating that indicates the amount of water they can hold, along with the amount of fire it can put out.

Dry chemical extinguishers

Dry chemical extinguishers are suitable for class A, class B, and class C fires. They are filled with a foam or powder that is perfect for extinguishing fires, but leave behind a sticky or mildly corrosive residue that must be cleaned up immediately. The residue left behind also has potent flame stopping tendencies, making dry chemical fire extinguishers highly effective against most common fires.

Carbon dioxide extinguishers

Carbon dioxide extinguishers can be used for class B and C fires. These contain highly pressurized CO2 which puts out fires more cleanly than any of the other extinguishers do. However, since they do not leave the same non-flammable residue behind, they tend to not be as effective as their dry chemical counterparts. CO2 extinguishers are also not as effective against class A fires, because they usually do not displace enough oxygen to prevent re-ignition.

Many fire extinguishers sold today are rated ABC, meaning they are suitable for class A, class B, and class C fires. ABC fire extinguishers are perfect for putting out almost every fire that may occur in a home or business setting.

If you live or work in New Jersey (NJ), Delaware (DE) or the Philadelphia metro area, and are looking for a fire extinguisher for your home or office, contact Confires Fire Protection Service today to get help choosing the best fire extinguisher for you. Our trained professionals will not only show you the appropriate fire extinguisher options for your needs, but will also show you how to install and operate your extinguisher.

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