Why Buy Fire Extinguishers
Nobody ever wants or plans on using a fire extinguisher, but it's important to have a few fire extinguishers around. A fire extinguisher could save your life, and even your house, in the emergency of a fire. There are different types of fire extinguishers, however, and each one is designed to put out a certain type of fire most efficiently. Before you go out and buy fire extingusher, there are a few things you need to know.
Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
For each and every type of fire that could be started in a common house, there are different types of fire extinguishers that were designed to put the fires out. In the United States, when you go to buy a fire extinguisher you will notice that they are broken into six different types of fire extinguishers. As you may or not know there are also five different types of fires A, B, C, D, and K. The six different types of fire extinguishers and five different types of fires
don't directly correlate but by knowing what each fire is, you can determine which fire extinguisher to buy. Look at this graph to determine the different types of fires:
A dry chemical fire extinguisher is filled with a powder based agent that extinguishes by preventing the chemical reaction between heat, fuel and oxygen and halts the production of fire sustaining "free-radicals", thus extinguishing the fire. Among the dry chemical fire extinguishers there are actually many different types of fire extinguishers whith different dry chemicals.
The typical dry chemical extinguisher containing 5 lbs. of ammonium phosphate dry chemical. The monoammonium phosphate extinguisher is also known as the multipurpose or "ABC" fire extinguisher. It is designed to put out all A, B, and C fires.
The second most popular dry chemical fire extinguisher is the sodium bicarbonate extinguisher. sodium bicarbonate was the first of the dry chemical agents developed for putting out class B or C fires. It interrupts the fire's chemical reaction. This extinguisher was very common in commercial kitchens before the advent of wet chemical agents, but now is falling out of favor, as it is much less effective than wet chemical agents for class K fires.
Foam fire extinguishers are applied to fuel fires as either an aspirated or non aspirated form to form a frothy blanket or seal over the fuel, preventing oxygen from reaching it. Unlike powder extinguishers, foam can be used to progressively extinguish fires without flashback. The most common portable foam extinguisher is filled with aqueous film forming foam, also known as AFFF, which works well on A or B class fires.
Water fire extinguishers are designed to absorb heat from burning objects. There are essetially two types of water extinguishers, air pressurized water (APW) and misting. APW extinguishers are effective on class A fires, and have the advantage of being inexpensive, harmless, and relatively easy to clean up. Mist extinguishers use a fine misting nozzle to break up a stream of deionized water to the point of not conducting electricity back to the operator. This works on class A and C extinguishers. These are usually used in hospitals because it does not contain very dangerous materials.
Wet chemicals extinguish fires by forming a soapy foam blanket over burning oil and by cooling the oil below its ignition temperature. This is generally only used on class A and K only, although newer models are outfitted with misting nozzles, as those used on water mist units, to give these extinguishers class B and C firefighting capabilities. There are also other kinds of wet chemical extinguishers that include antifreeze and detergent additives but this is the most common.
Clean Agents and Carbon Dioxide
These fire extinguishers displace oxygen and remove heat from the combustion zone or inhibits chemical chain reactions. They are labelled clean agents because they do not leave any residue after discharge which is ideal for sensitive electronics and documents.
There are several class D fire extinguisher agents available, some will handle multiple types of metals, others will not. The most common are sodium chloride, copper based, graphite based, and sodium carbonate. Some water based suppressants may be used on c
ertain class D fires, such as burning titanium and magnesium. Most Class D extinguishers will have a special low velocity nozzle or discharge wand to gently apply the agent in large volumes to avoid disrupting any finely divided burning materials. Agents are also available in bulk and can be applied with a scoop or shovel.
Which Fire Extinguisher Do I Buy?
Now that you know the different types of fire extinguishers, which one do you buy? If you are only getting one you will want to get the fire extinguisher that will help you most in your house but in most cases you want to buy a fire extinguisher for at least each major room in your house. Buy a fire extinguisher that will help with what ever is mostly likely to catch on fire in a room. For example, in a bathroom you will most likely have an electrical fire because of hair driers, heaters, and other electrical appliances.
Where to Buy a Fire Extinguisher
Most of the time you should be able to find a fire extinguisher at your local hardware store or supermarket like Wal-Mart or Target. Although they will usually have a fire extinguisher for sale they may not have the correct fire extinguishers for your home. It's tempting to just buy whatever is available but it is not worth putting your life and house in danger because you have the wrong extinguisher. There are other places to buy a fire extinguisher. One of the most popular places is actually on Amazon. They have a good variety to choose from.
No matter where you buy a fire extinguisher from make sure that when you recieve it is full. There have been many cases where someone goes to use their extinguisher and it was empty. If so, send it/take it back to where you got it from.