A Guide to Understanding Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

A Guide to Understanding Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

When it comes to fire safety, having the correct size and type of fire extinguisher for its application is imperative. 

The most common types of fire extinguishers are water, foam, powder, and CO2 extinguishers. The new kid on the block is the lithium-ion battery fire extinguisher which is fast becoming a top seller. 

Different extinguishers are needed to address different types or classes of fires, and using the incorrect type of extinguisher can actually make a fire worse. It’s worth taking the time to educate yourself.

Different types of fire extinguishers including Co2 extinguisher, foam extinguisher, powder extinguisher, water extinguisher

Understanding the different types of fire extinguishers

The Water Fire Extinguisher

Water extinguishers are used to put out fires caused by solid materials such as wood, paper, and fabric. They are not suitable for use on electrical fires or fires caused by flammable liquids.

The Foam Fire Extinguisher

Foam extinguishers are similar to water extinguishers, also containing a foaming agent that helps to smother the fire. They are suitable for use on solid materials and flammable liquids, but not for electrical fires.

The Powder Fire Extinguisher

Powder extinguishers are versatile and can be used on a variety of fires, including solid materials, flammable liquids, and electrical fires. However, they can be messy and may not be suitable for use in small, enclosed spaces or places where food is prepared.

The CO2 Fire Extinguisher

CO2 extinguishers are specifically designed for electrical fires, making them a popular choice for offices, kitchens, and other commercial spaces. They are also suitable for use on flammable liquids, but not on solid materials.

The Lithium-ion Battery Fire Extinguisher

9kg lithium-ion fire extinguishers on a wooden table with a brick background

Hazpak’s 9kg fire extinguishers.

Given the potential dangers of lithium-ion battery fires, it’s important to have the right type of fire extinguisher on hand. Lithium-ion fire extinguishers are specifically designed to put out these types of fires, making them an essential part of any fire safety plan. Lithium-ion fire extinguishers are an essential tool for protecting your home or business from the dangers of battery fires.

Assess Your Fire Risks

The first step in creating a fire safety plan is to assess your fire risks. This includes identifying potential sources of fires, such as electronics and other battery-powered devices. Once you have identified these risks, you can determine the best locations for lithium-ion fire extinguishers.

Train Your Employees or Family Members

Fire extinguisher hanging on a wall with a fire escape sign above it.

Learn where the correct placement should be for you fire extinguisher.

This includes knowing when to use it, how to operate it, and how to safely evacuate the area if the fire cannot be contained.

To further understand how to properly place fire extinguishers by considering factors like distance for travel, floor area coverage, placement along travel routes, installation height, and balancing accessibility, read the article below. 

https://www.nfpa.org/news-blogs-and-articles/blogs/2021/04/30/extinguisher-placement-guide

Regularly Inspect and Maintain Your Extinguishers

All extinguishers should be inspected and maintained annually. This includes checking the pressure gauge, ensuring the safety pin is intact, and making sure the extinguisher is easily accessible, free of corrosion, and in perfect working order.

To provide you with more information about the significance of Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance as outlined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), we have included their guide for your reference.

https://www.nfpa.org/news-blogs-and-articles/blogs/2020/10/30/guide-to-fire-extinguisher-itm

Hazpak Fire Services will gladly advise on the fire safety equipment requirements for your site. Let us take the load off you and call on our expertise so that you can rest assured.

Understanding and Preventing Lithium-Ion Battery Fires in Coastal Areas

Understanding and Preventing Lithium-Ion Battery Fires in Coastal Areas

Understanding the Importance of the Lithium-Ion Battery

Today, the lithium-ion battery is widely relied on as a power source. This energy-dense and efficient battery powers our phones, laptops, inverters, electric cars, and the like.

Different types of Lithium-Ion batteries

Lithium-Ion batteries

Factors Contributing to Lithium-Ion Battery Fires in Coastal Areas

Overcharging, corrosion, physical damage, or exposure to high ambient temperatures can cause a lithium fire to break out. This is particularly prevalent in coastal towns where high humidity and salt air accelerate battery degradation.

Coastal town with fog and humidity for to show potential degradation for lithium-ion batteries

Coastal town with high humidity and fog

The Science of Thermal Runaway and Fire Risk

Grasping the relationship between battery temperature and fire risk is paramount when keeping safety in mind. Science reveals that thermal runaway is a process where an increase in temperature changes the conditions in a way that causes a further increase in temperature. This can lead to a self-sustaining fire or explosion.

Understanding Thermal Runaway in Lithium-Ion Batteries

In lithium-ion batteries, thermal runaway can occur when the battery’s internal temperature rises too high. This can cause the electrolyte to break down and release heat, further increasing the temperature.

Infographic showing thermal runaway with lithium-ion batteries

Diagram showcasing thermal runaway process

The Ignition Point and Damage Potential

The ignition point at which a lithium-ion battery fire occurs is around 150-200°C (302-392°F). However, this can vary depending on the specific battery chemistry and design. It’s important to note that even temperatures below this range can cause damage to the battery, reducing efficiency and lifespan while increasing the risk of fire over time.

Preventive Measures for Lithium-Ion Battery Fires

Preventing lithium-ion battery fires involves a combination of careful design, regular maintenance, and proper use. Monitoring systems can help detect signs of overheating, alerting users to take action before a fire starts. Fire suppression techniques and safety practices must also be in place to manage a battery fire once it starts.

Safety Provisions and Training for Coastal Towns

Not only homeowners but managing agents in coastal towns may need to include specific provisions for lithium-ion batteries to ensure the greater safety of their residents. Training for first responders dealing with lithium-ion battery fires is paramount, as these fires can behave differently from other types of fires.

Public Awareness Campaigns and Fire Safety Solutions

Public awareness campaigns can play a key role in mitigating the devastation of lithium-ion battery fires. It is imperative to fight a lithium-ion fire with an appropriate lithium-ion fire extinguisher. 

Hazpak offers a range of lithium-ion fire suppressant units and durable special fire extinguisher covers in green with appropriate signage to easily distinguish them from regular firefighting extinguishers. Contact Hazpak for your lithium-ion fire safety requirements.

Lithium-ion extinguishers

Hazpak Gel Lithium-ion extinguishers