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Fire Extinguishers

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Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are portable tools used to put out a small fire by applying a substance that deprives the flame of oxygen, cools the burning material, or interferes with the chemical reactions occurring in the flame. With the exemption of family homes, manufactured homes, and duplexes, all kinds of industrial, commercial, and residential buildings are mandated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to make fire extinguishers accessible in strategic locations.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

The kind of fire extinguishers that should be used depends on several factors including the type and size of fire that is most likely to occur, as well as the fuel type of potential fires, i.e. the specific kinds of flammable materials found in the building. 

Fire is classified into five categories, with each requiring a different kind of fire extinguisher:

·Class A – Ordinary combustibles (wood, paper, cloth, etc.)
·Class B – Flammable liquids (grease, oil, paint, solvents)
·Class C – Live electrical equipment (wiring, motor, computers, electrical appliances)
·Class D – Combustible metal (magnesium, aluminum, etc.)
·Class K – Commercial cooking equipment (cooking oils, animal fats, vegetable oils)

Regardless of the type of fire, all kinds of fire occur because of the presence of three things: fuel, oxygen, and heat. Remove one of these and the fire will die. Each type of fire extinguishers works differently to effectively put out the fire:

Water and Foam – Uses foam agents to remove the heat from the flames and deprive the fire of oxygen. Used in Class A fires only as it can spread the flammable liquid in a Class B fire or create a shock hazard in a Class C fire. 
Dry Chemical – Also called “ABC fire extinguishers,” this extinguisher uses multi-purpose agents that can put out Class A, B, and C fires. Its versatility makes it a popular choice for home and office use. 
Carbon Dioxide – Deprives the fire of oxygen and removes the heat with a very cold discharge. It leaves no residue and requires no cleanup. Used in Class B and C fires, usually ineffective in Class A fires. 
Wet Chemical – Uses a solution composed of potassium that effectively cools the fire and reacts with cooking media, e.g. vegetable fats or oils, to create a barrier between the oxygen and the fuel. Most suited for Class K fires but can also be effective in Class A fires. 
Dry Powder – Removes the heat from the fire and separates the fuel from the oxygen. Only used to fight Class D fires. 

How Many Fire Extinguishers Does Your Building Need?

This depends on several factors including your building’s fire hazard level and size. The minimum standard set by the NFPA is that a person should have to walk no more than 75 feet to reach a fire extinguisher. For a full explanation, you can refer to NFPA 10 and OSHA Safety and Health Regulations for Construction 1926.150: Fire Protection

For your fire extinguisher needs, Tiger Supplies carries a wide range of fire extinguishers from major brands including Amerex.  

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