Fire Extinguishers – Your questions Answered

As one of Ireland's most established providers of fire extinguishers, we often get questions on these essential pieces of fire safety. In commercial buildings, it's a legal requirement to have fire extinguishers available.

Therefore it's understandable that clients have a variety of different questions. To make this information more accessible to clients and the curious, we have included some of the most common questions below. 


How often should fire extinguishers be serviced?


Fire extinguishers should be serviced regularly to ensure they are in proper working condition. The frequency of servicing depends on the type of fire extinguisher and the local regulations or guidelines in your area. However, a general guideline is as follows:

  1. Monthly Inspections: You should visually inspect your fire extinguishers every month to ensure they are in their designated places, accessible, and free from any visible damage or tampering. Check the pressure gauge to ensure it is within the recommended range.
  2. Annual Maintenance: A more thorough inspection and maintenance should be conducted by a certified professional at least once a year. They will examine the fire extinguisher, test its functionality, check the pressure, and verify that all components are in proper working order. They may also perform any necessary repairs or refills.
  3. Hydrostatic Testing: Depending on the type of fire extinguisher, they may require hydrostatic testing, which involves pressure testing the extinguisher's cylinder to detect any leaks or weaknesses. This testing is typically required every 5 to 12 years, depending on the type of extinguisher.

It's important to note that these are general guidelines, and you should consult the specific regulations and recommendations provided by your local fire safety authority, manufacturer guidelines, or a certified fire extinguisher service provider to determine the exact frequency of servicing in your area. Regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to ensure fire extinguishers' reliability and effectiveness in an emergency.


How many types of fire extinguishers are there?


Several types of fire extinguishers are designed to tackle different classes of fires. The most common types of fire extinguishers are categorized based on the categories of fires they are suitable for. Here are the five main types:

  1. Class A: These fire extinguishers are designed to handle fires involving combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and plastics. They usually use water, foam, or dry chemical agents.
  2. Class B: These fire extinguishers are effective against fires caused by flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, solvents, and certain gases. They typically use dry chemical agents or carbon dioxide (CO2).
  3. Class C: These fire extinguishers are specifically designed for fires involving live electrical equipment or electrical fires. They use non-conductive extinguishing agents to avoid electrical shocks. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and dry chemical agents are commonly used.
  4. Class D: These fire extinguishers are used for fires involving flammable metals, such as magnesium, sodium, titanium, and potassium. They use dry powder agents formulated explicitly for combating metal fires.
  5. Class K: These fire extinguishers are designed for fires involving cooking oils, fats, and greases typically found in commercial kitchens. They use special agents, such as wet chemical agents, to suppress and cool down these fires.

In addition to the above types, multi-purpose fire extinguishers are labelled with multiple class designations (e.g., A-B-C or A-B-C-D), indicating they can be used on different types of fires. It's essential to choose the appropriate fire extinguisher based on the specific fire risks present in your environment and to ensure that the extinguisher is labelled and rated for the particular class of fire you might encounter.


How do water fire extinguishers work?


Water fire extinguishers use water as the extinguishing agent to cool down the fire and remove heat, lowering the temperature below the fire's ignition point. Here's a general explanation of how water fire extinguishers work:


Activation: To activate a water fire extinguisher, you typically remove the safety pin or tamper seal, aim the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire, and press or squeeze the handle or trigger.


Discharge: When the handle or trigger is activated, water is expelled from the extinguisher. It can be a steady stream or a spray depending on the design.


Cooling Effect: Water extinguishers absorb heat from the fire, which cools the fuel and the surrounding area. This cooling reduces the temperature below the fire's ignition point, suppressing the flames.


Dilution: Water also helps dilute and disperse flammable materials, such as liquids or gases, that may be fueling the fire. By diluting these substances, the fire becomes less concentrated and more difficult to sustain.


Smothering Effect: The force and volume of the water from the extinguisher can also help smother the fire by displacing oxygen around the flames. Oxygen is necessary for combustion, and by removing it, the fire's ability to burn is reduced.


It's important to note that water fire extinguishers are specifically designed for class A fires involving ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, paper, cloth, and some plastics. They should not be used on fires involving flammable liquids (Class B), electrical equipment (Class C), flammable metals (Class D), or cooking oils and fats (Class K), as they may be ineffective or even dangerous. Using a water fire extinguisher on the wrong type of fire can spread the fire or cause electrical shock. It is crucial to choose the appropriate extinguisher for the specific fire class and follow the safety instructions provided.


In Ireland, how much are fire extinguishers?


The cost of fire extinguishers in Ireland can vary depending on various factors, including the type of extinguisher, the size, the brand, and where you purchase them. Additionally, prices may also be influenced by market demand and supplier pricing policies. To discuss pricing in more detail, please get in touch with us directly today.


If you have any more questions regarding fire extinguishers, then please get in touch with us directly.


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