Home fires are devastating because they cause massive loss of property and even lives in severe cases. Fire spreads quickly, and within a short time, it can become life threatening with the entire residence being engulfed in flames. Smoke and heat from a fire are also very dangerous. If you inhale the super-hot air during a fire, it may burn your lungs. The good news is that you can prevent home fires and the best possible way would be to ensure any small fire that starts when you're in close proximity does not spread. To achieve this, you need to have the right equipment for specific circumstances. For this reason, here are 3 types of extinguishers you need to understand when to use them:
Carbon (IV) Oxide (CO2) Extinguishers
CO2 extinguishers will be effective on flammable gases and flammable liquids. Since CO2 fire extinguishers use a gas, they would not be harmful to electrical equipment, meaning they can also be used on electrical fires. Nonetheless, they are unsuitable on flammable solids such as coil, wood, and textile because they may not displace enough oxygen to put out the flammable-solid fire, making it to re-ignite. In the case of flammable dust, you shouldn't use these types of extinguishers because the gas may aid in spreading the flammable dust even further. In addition, despite being effective on liquid fires, you should not use these extinguishers on cooking fat/oil fires because the powerful discharge of the gas can splash the burning fat, causing the fire to spread.
Water extinguishers are ideal for putting out fire on soft furnishings, carpets, and flammable solids such as wood and paper among others. Apart from extinguishing the fire, the water soaks the materials and cools them down, preventing further burning. However, they are unsuitable on flammable liquids, and should not be used on electrical fires and flammable light alkaline metals. This is because for flammable liquids, rather than extinguishing the fire, the water will spread the burning liquid. On the other hand, water conducts electricity, meaning it should never be used on live electrical cables. For flammable metals, the spray action of the water will simply blow the burning metals into a larger area.
Dry Powder Extinguishers
Dry powder extinguishers are suitable for a wide range of fires, including electrical fires, flammable liquids, flammable gases, and flammable solids. However, it may not be suitable in enclosed spaces because the powder creates a cloud, which can obscure vision.