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What Is a Water Fire Extinguisher Used For?

Water Fire Extinguishers

What do you need to know about Water Fire Extinguishers?

The water fire extinguisher was the first of its kind. The pioneering technology has since been tinkered with and adapted, providing a range of different fire extinguishers to suit fires ignited on varying fuel types. But the water extinguisher came first. And it’s still the most widely used. But it’s not suitable for every type of fire. So, what is a water fire extinguisher used for?

Where should you use a water fire extinguisher?

Characterised by its red label with white writing, the water fire extinguisher can be used on Class A fires. This means any fires ignited on solids, such as wood, plastic, paper, fixtures and fittings, and soft furnishings. And as most businesses have areas that contain these materials, there are very few locations where a water fire extinguisher won’t be beneficial.

Types of Fire Extinguisher Water

Where shouldn’t you use a water fire extinguisher?

The water fire extinguisher is unsuitable for all other fire types. And, in fact, it can be very dangerous to use them inappropriately. On fires started on flammable gas and liquids, water would be ineffective, and has the potential to disperse the fuels to other areas, creating greater damage and possibly creating hazardous chemical reactions. On cooking oils, their use can be highly dangerous, causing the oil to spit and spread. And if used on an electrical fire, the water could conduct the electricity and lead to electrocution. So, it’s important to know where and when to use these extinguishers.


What business types need a Water fire extinguisher?

Almost all businesses should have at least one water fire extinguisher on site. However, buildings where a lot of solid materials are present, such as schools, residential properties, office blocks, shops, and hospitals, should have multiple units installed.


Do water fire extinguishers have expiry dates?

Water fire extinguishers do not have fixed expiry dates. But they do have manufacturing dates printed on the main body of each unit. And they need replacing roughly every 10 years. You can read more about that here.


Do I need to service my water fire extinguisher?

Yes. All fire extinguishers need regular servicing and 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.


What are the other fire extinguishers?

There are four other fire extinguisher types:

Wet Chemical – [Yellow] – Created for use on Class F fires only – those ignited on fats and oils.

CO2 – [Black] – Devised for use on flammable liquid fires and electrical equipment.

Powder – [Blue] – Created for use on fires ignited on solids, flammable liquids, metals, electrical equipment, and gasses.

Foam – [Cream] – Foam fire extinguishers can only be used on Class A and B fires.


Understanding which fire extinguisher you need to use in which scenario is really important for the safety of your business and the people who work within it.

For a free estimate for all of your fire extinguisher needs in your workplace, please get in touch with 1st Class Fire Protection today either on 01603 742741 or request a call back with our expert team.

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