What You Need to Know About Powder Fire Extinguishers
Understanding the different types of fire extinguisher and their uses can be integral to the safety of your business. In this blog, we’re going to discuss the powder fire extinguisher.
What is a powder fire extinguisher?
Distinguished by their blue label, powder fire extinguishers are filled with a dry powder composed of either sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate. This powder is designed to react to the heat of the flames and tamp them down. At the same time expanding and congealing, to help stop the fire from spreading. However, because powder fire extinguishers do not cool the fire scene, fires can reignite where these extinguishers have been used alone.
Where would you use a powder fire extinguisher?
Standard powder fire extinguisher – can be deployed on class A fires (those ignited on solids, including paper and wood), class B fires (ignited on flammable liquids, such as petrol), class C fires (ignited on flammable gases, such as butane), and electrical fires.
Specialist powder fire extinguishers – L2 powder extinguishers can be deployed on fires class D fires, including fires ignited on lithium. And M28 powder fire extinguishers can be used on fires that involve all flammable metals.
What sort of businesses need a powder fire extinguisher?
Although effective on the broadest range of fire types, powder fire extinguishers have their limitations, hampering visibility in enclosed spaces. And, potentially, triggering breathing difficulties for users. So, these extinguishers are usually recommended for outdoor environments and large open spaces. The businesses most likely to benefit from powder fire extinguishers include:
Anywhere that possesses a large store of flammable liquids
How long do powder fire extinguishers last?
All fire extinguishers come with a manufacturing date printed somewhere on the main body of the unit. If stored correctly, most powder fire extinguishers will last between 10 and 20 years. But they will need proper maintenance in the interim.
What maintenance do powder fire extinguishers need?
Fire extinguisher maintenance can be broken down into three main categories.
Monthly visual inspection – Once a month your designated fire warden should perform a visual inspection to ensure that all of your fire extinguishers remain undamaged.
Basic annual service – You are legally required to have your fire extinguishers professionally tested and serviced once a year.
Extended Service – You are also legally obliged to arrange for your powder fire extinguishers to have an in-depth professional service every 10 years.
Wet Chemical – Created for use on class F fires only – those ignited on fats and oils.
Foam – Designed for use on solids and other flammable liquids (excluding cooking oils).
CO² – Created for use on fires ignited on electrical equipment and flammable liquids (excluding cooking oils).
Water – Only suitable for use on fires ignited on solids, such as paper, plastic, and wood.
Having the right fire extinguisher available at a time of crisis can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of any fire. So, it’s really important to take the time to get to know the fire extinguisher needs of your business. Because it could save someone’s life.