Commercial Fire Safety: Understanding the Common Extinguishing Devices

Proper fire protection is essential for your commercial or industrial space. The right measures will ensure that your employees are protected from the negative repercussions of an accident. In addition, this will ensure that there are minimal financial liabilities associated with fire incidents. There are numerous fire protection measures which you can utilize for your business. One of the most essential is a fire extinguisher. This is an active protection device designed to control small fires before escalation. If you are planning on purchasing new extinguishers for your commercial operations, consider this short guide on the common devices and their uses.

Water Extinguisher

The primary advantage attached to installing water extinguishers is the low cost of purchase. This type of device is appropriate for most general office spaces because it is designed to extinguish flames caused by solids. The pertinent materials can be combustibles such as papers, plastic and even wood. However, you should note that this option can never be used to quench fires involving flammable liquids and electricity.

Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher

If you are concerned about fires involving electrical appliances or apparatuses, you should consider installing carbon dioxide extinguishers. These will not subdue the fire efficiently, since the gas does not support combustion. In addition, there will be no unnecessary damage to the equipment or the risk of electrocution. However, you should note that this extinguisher does not have post-fire security. This means that if the electricity flow is not eliminated and the fire properly suppressed, the flames could reignite.

Dry Powder Extinguisher

The dry powder extinguisher is a popular choice for most commercial buildings because it is a multipurpose device. In general, the powder is primarily manufactured to handle fires which are caused by flammable fluids such as petrol, kerosene and diesel. However, it can also be used to suppress fires formed by general combustible solids as well as those associated with flammable gases such as propane and butane. You should be cautious when handling the latter fire type to avoid injury. For the best results, isolate the gas supply before attempting to extinguish the flames.

Foam Fire Extinguisher

Foam fire extinguishers can be used for two types of fires: combustible solids and flammable liquids. They are efficient and form a 'blanket' over the pertinent burning material, which prevents re-ignition. It is not advisable to use foam extinguishers for electrical fire. However, this is a safer choice for general office spaces compared to water because the foam will not cause as much damage if accidentally sprayed on pertinent equipment.