Electrical Fire Extinguishers
What class are electrical fires?
Some people describe electrical fires as class E fires. However, in the UK, there’s no official class. This is because most types of fires also involve electrical equipment. If an extinguisher can be used to fight electrical fires, its cylinder will display a lightning bolt.
Dry powder fire extinguishers
ABC Dry powder fire extinguishers are a popular choice for many businesses. This is because they are the most versatile option available, and also offer protection against class A, B and C fires.
While they are safe to use on electrical fires, they may damage your devices. This isn’t, however, something that all businesses consider; after all, nobody expects a fire to occur in their building.
Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers
Of all the portable fire extinguishers available, carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are the safest ones to use on electrical fires; they don’t release any harmful substances that may damage your devices, be inhaled or obscure vision.
They’re also a lot smaller, lighter and easier to use than other extinguishers of the same capacity. When people refer to ‘electrical fire extinguishers’, this is normally the one they mean.
Automatic electrical fire extinguishers
When it comes to automatic fire extinguishers, CO2 may not always be the best option, since automatic extinguishers are often kept in tight spaces. If a CO2 fire extinguisher is used to flood a room, the high levels of carbon dioxide (and lack of oxygen as a result) can be harmful for people.
For this reason, many people choose a clean agent fire extinguisher for engine rooms, server rooms and the like.
Clean agent fire extinguishers use a liquefied gaseous agent. They spray liquid and gas into a fire to interrupt the combustion process. The gas then evaporates, leaving no residue that could damage the environment or electrical equipment.
What’s the 35kV conductivity discharge test?
It’s a BS EN3 test.
If an extinguisher fails this test, a warning must be put on the extinguisher’s cylinder that they’re not safe to use on electrical fires.
Extinguishers that pass this test can be placed in areas where they may accidentally be used on electrical equipment of up to 35Kv.
This doesn’t make them safe to use on electrical fires; you just have greater protection if there is accidental discharge onto electrical equipment.