When carrying out construction or repair work on a property, there is a very real risk of fire being caused by exposed electrical components, flammable paints and heat guns along with a range of other equipment and materials. A small fire can quickly spread through a property, creating heat and smoke which can cause injury or death. However, if the worst does happen, by having and using the correct fire extinguisher you can help to stop a fire spreading and prevent injury and damage to property. There are a range of fire extinguishers on the market. Below is a guide to 3 of the most common fire extinguishers and when they should be used.

Water Fire Extinguishers

Water extinguishers are perhaps the most common type of extinguisher and have signal red markings. Water extinguishers can be used to fight burning wood, paper and soft furnishings. As well as putting out the fire, the water from this type of extinguisher will also soak into materials, cooling them down and helping to prevent re-ignition of the fire. You should never use a water extinguisher on an electrical fire, as the water could create the risk of electrocution. They should also never be used for liquid fires, as the water will cause the burning liquid to spread.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguishers

This type of extinguisher is usually indicated by black marking. A CO2 fire extinguisher is primarily designed for use against electrical fires. Because they use gas to starve the fire of oxygen, there is no risk of electrocution while you are fighting the fire. However, CO2 extinguishers should not be used on wood or textile fires because they may not be able to displace enough oxygen. This means that while the fire may appear to have been extinguished, it could suddenly reignite. You should also avoid using CO2 extinguishers on fires which involve a burning liquid, as the force of the CO2 could cause the burning liquid to splash onto other surfaces, spreading the fire.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

Indicated with blue markings, dry powder fire extinguishers can be used to combat a wide range of fires such as liquid fires, electrical fires and solid material fires. However, you should not use a dry powder extinguisher in a confined space, as the powder could obscure your vision and cause breathing difficulties.

For further information about fire extinguishers, contact a professional fire safety contractor.