Learn About Fire Extinguishers with Fire Safety Store - Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers

01/04/2019
by Curtis Worthington

Learn About Fire Extinguishers with Fire Safety Store

The Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are the extinguishers of the information age, a lightweight extinguisher which leaves no trace behind, these are fast becoming a necessity in many homes and businesses. Here is why you might want to consider using Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers.

We are the Fire Safety Store and your safety is our number one priority. The first step to safety is to be aware of the risks; the second step to safety is having the equipment to combat them. This series of articles is all about the second step to safety. Once you have identified a fire risk in your property, having the right extinguisher to hand is the best way to maximise your personal safety and minimise any property losses. Each type of extinguisher has its own distinct properties and specialisms and we hope this guide will help you find the one which is right for you.

Why Choose A Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher?

The Short Answer:

  • Lightweight
  • Effective on live electrical fires
  • Leaves no residue
  • Also effective on Class B fires

 

The Long Answer:

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are the extinguishers of the information age, a lightweight extinguisher which leaves no trace behind, these are fast becoming a necessity in many homes and businesses. Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are the only extinguishers recommended for use on live electrical fires, and they can also be used on Class B fires, fires arising from a flammable liquid such as oil, petrol or paint. Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers work by removing the oxygen around the fire, a vital part of the fire tetrahedron without which a fire cannot burn. The components of the fire tetrahedron are heat, fuel, oxygen and a chemical reaction. The carbon dioxide released is also very cold, which helps to remove the heat from the fuel and prevent re-ignition. Because the carbon dioxide gas does not react with anything, it leaves no residue, and dissipates after use, minimising equipment damage. Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are the modern replacement for the halon extinguisher, which was removed from circulation as it released CFCs into the atmosphere. CO2 extinguishers are considerably more environmentally friendly.

Who Benefits From Having A Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher?

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are useful to anyone with valuable electrical equipment, which in this day and age is a very wide range of people and businesses. In the home, they can be used to protect computers, televisions and sound systems. In the workplace they can be used to protect server rooms, IT suites, and sensitive electrical equipment. They can also be used by DJs to protect sound equipment and speakers and are even used in film studios to extinguish burning stuntmen. This should be done with caution however, as the freezing gas can cause cold burns.

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers can also be used to extinguish Class B fires and can therefore be of use to artists, painters and decorators, mechanics and car salesmen.

What Kinds Of Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher Are There?

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are recommended to be installed in pairs and are also recommended to be paired with a foam or water fire extinguisher to give excellent coverage for the home. Here at Fire Safety Store we supply our carbon dioxide fire extinguishers in 2kg and 5kg sizes, with a free frost horn included to minimise risk of injury during use. They are recognisable by the black panel on the side of the extinguisher and ‘CO2’ written there. In an ambiguous situation there should always be an extinguisher ID sign nearby.

Maintaining a Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher:

Any fire extinguisher needs to be installed and maintained properly in order to be of use in an emergency. Successful maintenance begins with correct commissioning and installation of your fire extinguisher by a BAFE certified professional. Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers should be installed within 10m of a class B hazard, and near to any specific electrical equipment which is a fire risk. If you are unsure where to place your extinguishers for maximum safety, please contact our advisors. We are part of a national network of qualified site surveyors and maintenance professionals.

Maintenance You Can Perform Personally

Maintenance Which Should Be Carried Out Professionally

Once a month you should perform a visual inspection to determine the following:

  • That the pin in the handle has not been tampered with
  • That there are no dents in the canister
  • That there are no signs of leakage
  • That there are no signs of damage or corrosion around the seals
  • That where applicable the pressure dial remains in the green
 
  • It is a legal requirement for a yearly maintenance inspection to be carried out on your extinguisher by a professional. They will run through a maintenance checklist and sign the paperwork required for your insurance
  • Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers have a ten year lifespan after which they should be completely discharged and refilled
  • If your carbon dioxide fire extinguisher has been used, even partially, it should be fully discharged and refilled at your earliest opportunity

 

How to Tackle a Fire with a Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher:

When a fire breaks out it is important to first determine whether it is small enough to be extinguished using a fire extinguisher. In any circumstances the fire and rescue services should be notified, and any extraneous personnel evacuated. The PASS acronym is used to remember the standard steps for tackling a fire with a fire extinguisher:

P- Pull the pin from the handle to release the lock.

A- Aim the hose at the base of the flames, turning off electrical equipment at the plug where possible. For Class B fires aim at the nearest edge of the container or liquid spill. Be sure not to hold the extinguisher too close to the horn.

S- Squeeze the handle to release the carbon dioxide gas. Keep the pressure steady and be mindful that an extinguisher has only a limited charge.

S- Sweep the hose from side to side to cover the fuel completely. Be gentle with Class B fires as there is a risk of spreading the burning fuel. Do not aim the extinguisher at another person, and be mindful that CO2 can make it difficult to breathe in enclosed spaces, so these should preferably be used in a ventilated area.