How Fire Extinguishers Work

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Fire extinguishers are essential tools for fire safety, and it’s important to know how to use one effectively. In addition, if you are buying fire extinguishers for your workplace, you should consider your options and find the best one for your needs. Our team at Life Safety Inspections offers multiple varieties of fire extinguishers, and in this article, we’ll provide a brief overview of how the main types work so that you can find the one that’s right for you.

How Fire Extinguishers Work

Fire needs three things in order to burn: fuel, heat, and oxygen–taking away any one of these elements will put the fire out. The majority of fire extinguishers work by cutting off the fire’s supply of oxygen.

  • Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers- One of the main types of fire extinguishers uses carbon dioxide to smother the flames. Carbon dioxide is a gas that’s heavier than air, and when it’s sprayed onto a fire, the carbon dioxide sinks down and separates the fire from the surrounding oxygen. Carbon dioxide also does not conduct electricity, which makes it ideal for putting out electrical fires.
  • Foam Fire Extinguishers- Another commonly used variety of fire extinguisher uses a spray foam to smother fires. The foam is made of water, a foaming agent, and countless tiny air bubbles. When sprayed onto a fire, the foam starves it of oxygen and prevents the heat from igniting any flammable gases, starving it of fuel as well. The water in the foam also has a cooling effect, removing the third necessary ingredient for fire.

If you have any questions about fire extinguishers or would purchase fire extinguishers for your property, please contact us today at Life Safety Inspections.