A Guide to Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers
There are several different types of dry powder fire extinguishers:
• ABC Dry Powder
• L2 powder
• M28 dry powder
• BC dry powder
• Monnex dry powder
ABC Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers
ABC Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers are the most common ones used by businesses and motor owners. If somebody doesn’t specify what type of powder they need, they will normally mean this one.
They’re the most versatile ones available, as they’re able to fight 4 types of fire:
• Class A – Ordinary combustibles (wood, paper, cloth, rubber and plastics)
• Class B – Flammable liquids (petrol, oil, spirits and grease)
• Class C – Flammable gases (gas, propane and hydrogen)
• Class E – Electrical Fires
Metal fire extinguishers
L2 and M28 are both Class D, metal fire extinguishers.
• Class D – Burning metals (sodium, manganese, aluminium, etc.)
The main difference between M28 and L2 fire extinguishers is that L2 powder can be used to fight lithium fires, whereas M28 powder cannot. M28 powder is, however, particularly effective at fighting fires involving alkali metals (such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and aluminium).
Electrical Fire Extinguishers
Class ABC Dry powder fire extinguishers are safe to use as electrical fire extinguishers. Since the extinguishing agent is dry, not wet, you won’t have to worry about it conducting electricity, like some other extinguishers.
However, something to bear in mind is that the dry powder is corrosive and can therefore damage electrical devices. Of course, this doesn’t matter if we’re just talking about the device that has already been burnt up by a fire – but offices are packed with pieces of electrical equipment – so surrounding devices could be harmed, too.
<Vehicle/car fire extinguishers
ABC Dry powder fire extinguishers are the ones recommended as vehicle fire extinguishers. Since they’re suitable for class A, B and C fire, you can use them to fight fires involving your car’s engine, upholstery and fuel.
Monnex dry powder fire extinguishers
Monnex dry powder extinguishers are only suitable for Class B and C fires. However, they are generally more powerful at fighting these fires than the equivalent size ABC powder equivalent would be.
The dangers of using dry powder extinguishers come from the fact that the extinguishing agent can obscure vision and prevent you from reaching emergency exits. It can also cause harm when inhaled.
For this reason, it’s imperative that you don’t use them in enclosed spaces or try to fight large fires with them; too much powder released could prevent you from seeing and make you more likely to inhale the powder.
If you do use this extinguisher, make sure you are near the exit before you begin.
Please be aware that dry powder can have a converse effect if you attempt to use it alongside foam fire extinguishers. The dry powder can break down the blanket produced by foam extinguishers, rendering both agents ineffective, so make sure the one you buy is foam compatible.
Another word of warning is that dry powder and water mix to form a corrosive substance that is even more harmful to electrical appliances.