A Guide to Water (H2O) Fire Extinguishers
Water fire extinguishers are the cheapest to buy, replace and refill. And it’s no wonder; the extinguishing agent is hardly costly to buy.
Who should use them?
Water fire extinguishers are commonly found in shops, due to the high level of packaging and clothing kept in stock.
However, many other businesses choose to have a water fire extinguisher present in addition to other extinguishers they need; if a Class A fire does break out, it’ll be cheaper to use and replace a water fire extinguisher than it would be to replace a multi-class one.
Why are they safer?
Water fire extinguishers are the safest ones to use. This is because they don’t release any toxic agents, just water.
How do they work?
Remember the fire triangle? Fires need heat, fuel and air. Water fire extinguishers work by cooling the fire down, thus removing heat from the equation. For this reason, water fire extinguishers have the added benefit of reducing the likelihood of re-ignition.
What about water additive fire extinguishers?
As the name implies, these extinguishers have a special additive in the water. This additive increases the flame knock-down rate. So if you have a water extinguisher and water additive fire extinguisher that are the same size, the water fire extinguisher will have a higher fire rating, and will therefore be able to fight a larger fire.
The down side is that water additive fire extinguishers are more expensive to buy.
Don’t use them on electrical appliances
Don’t use water fire extinguishers on electrical appliances; remember, water and electricity do not mix well.
Don’t use them on grease fires
You’d be forgiven for thinking that water would extinguish a cooking fire. However, water and oil don’t mix either. Use a water extinguisher to fight a kitchen fire, and you’ll simply end up spreading it further.
How to recognise them
Water fire extinguishers can be easily identified by their white label and red writing. Water additive fire extinguishers use the converse colours; a red label with white writing.