What do you need to know about CO² Fire Extinguishers?
The CO2 fire extinguisher – distinguished by its black label – has been devised for use on electrical equipment. Smothering fires by displacing oxygen, these extinguishers can do their job without causing additional damage to expensive equipment. But what is a CO2 fire extinguisher used for? And what else do you need to know about its function?
Where would you use a CO² fire extinguisher?
CO2 fire extinguishers are ideal for use in offices and server rooms, where computing equipment can generate a lot of heat, and it may be necessary to isolate a single item without the risk of damaging peripheral goods. The way the CO2 works to repress flames also makes these extinguishers a useful tool for tackling fires ignited on flammable liquids, such as paint and fuels.
However, CO2 fire extinguishers should never be used on fires set on cooking oils, as the force of the gas can cause the fat to dangerously splash and spread.
Precautions also need to be taken when using CO2 fire extinguishers, particularly in enclosed spaces. Because they displace oxygen, it can make breathing difficult, with a high risk of asphyxiation if used inappropriately. They can also freeze-burn the skin if operated without the use of gloves.
What business types need a CO2 fire extinguisher?
Any business that employs a lot of electrical equipment should ensure that they have a CO2 fire extinguisher on site. This includes server rooms, standard computing equipment, and even shops with computer-based till systems.
Garages and forecourts, where flammable liquids such as diesel and petrol are regularly present, would also benefit from the provision of CO2 fire extinguishers.
Do CO2 fire extinguishers have expiry dates?
You will find a repressure date printed on a CO2 fire extinguisher, this is typically every 10 years (or after every use). If you properly maintain your fire extinguishers, they should last for the 10 year period.
Do I need to service my CO2 fire extinguisher?
Yes, all fire extinguishers including CO2 extinguishers require regular maintenance. This includes:
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, this should be with a BAFE accredited contractor to get the highest standard of service, which all of our engineers at 1st Class Fire Protection are accredited with.
Extended Service – You are also legally obliged to arrange for your powder fire extinguishers to have an in-depth professional service, with most extinguishers needing this done every every five years. This involves completely discharging the extinguisher, checking for internal corrosion, refilling and repressurising. It can be cheaper to purchase a new extinguisher.