Dry Powder fire extinguishers are a very versatile type of fire extinguisher. They are suitable to be used on class A, class B, and class C fires, as well as fires involving electrical equipment. However, it’s important to exercise caution on electrical fires, as the dry powder in the extinguisher does not cool the fire, so it can still ignite again. When used, dry powder fire extinguishers can limit visibility in an inside setting and could make it hard to breathe.
This is why they are not recommended to use inside closed rooms unless there is nothing else available. Because dry powder fire extinguishers interrupt the chemical reaction taking place in a fire, they can be quite effective at extinguishing dangerous flames.
Powder extinguishers are labelled with the colour blue to distinguish them from other types of fire extinguishers.
What Are Powder Fire Extinguishers Used For?
As stated before, dry powder fire extinguishers are used on fire classes A, B, and C.
Class A fires involve organic, ordinary things that are combustible. The types of materials referred to in class A fires are usually things like wood, paper, trash, plastic, and fabric. Essentially, class A fires refer to most accidental fires that are encountered across different situations.
Class B fires refer to flammable liquids or flammable gas. Liquids typically involved class B fires include petrol, lacquer, oil (with the exception of cooking oil) solvents, alcohol, or tar. Gases typically involved in class B fires include propane, gasoline, and kerosene. In addition to these gases and liquids, some plastics are also considered to be part of class B fires.
Class C fires refer to energized electrical fires. This indicates an electrical fire that is at least somewhat fuelled by a power source. These fires may occur because of a short circuit, overcharged devices, or overloaded power outlets.
How Do Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers Work?
Dry powder fire extinguishers extinguish fires by coating the fuel of the fire with a thin layer of the powder. This separates the fuel of the fire from the oxygen that is currently in the air. This, in turn, functions to disrupt the chemical reaction taking place in the fire. That is why this type of extinguisher is so effective at controlling fires.
How To Use A Powder Fire Extinguisher
Using a dry powder fire extinguisher is fairly similar to any other extinguisher. There are a few simple steps to using one.
First, pull the pin while holding the nozzle of the device so that it points away from your person. Then, hold the nozzle over the fire. Make sure to have the extinguisher set up vertically in your hands, as that is how it is designed to work. If you find that the extinguisher is too heavy for you, place it on the ground and operate it from there. Next, squeeze the level for discharge. Do so evenly and slowly. This will release the powder onto the fire through the nozzle. Finally, apply the dry powder to the fire.
Make sure to cover the burning area completely with a thin layer of the powder. Once you get the fire under control, get closer. Expel more powder from the nozzle to create a heavy flow and cover the burning area completely again.
Powder Fire Extinguisher FAQs
Q: How do I identify a powder fire extinguisher?
A: You can find a powder fire extinguisher by examining the colour of the label on the body of the extinguisher. For dry powder extinguishers, their coloured label is blue.
Q: How do I know which fires require a dry powder extinguisher?
A: Learning the classes of fires is the first step to using the right extinguisher on the right fire. For powder fire extinguishers, you can utilize this type for class A, B, and C fires. These are fires involving organic material, flammable liquids and gases, and energized electrical fires, respectively.
After you extinguish the fire effectively, there will be some cleanup involved with powder extinguishers. This type of extinguisher can also be a little suffocating, which is why it isn’t recommended for use in closed spaces. However, dry powder extinguishers are often quite effective when used on the appropriate type of fire.