The phenomenon called fire needs no introduction - it's one of the oldest innovations of man. Although fire is used for several productive activities that make living easier, it's synonymous with danger. Hence the saying, "You don't play with fire" - Even a little child needs no further explanation to this warning.
As a matter of fact, placing the words "fire" and "play" in the same sentence belittles the gravity of damage the former can cause. If you've never experienced a fire outbreak, you may not understand how destructive it is - it's unbelievable how flame from a single matchstick can bring down a 'mountain' in a twinkle of an eye.
The increasing rate of fire outbreaks is alarming, creating a need for awareness on the prevention and effective usage of commercial fire extinguishers to contain continuous occurrences.
The Fire Triangle
A burning fire involves a chemical reaction of three elements which make up the fire triangle -Heat, Oxygen, and Fuel. Successfully putting out fire involves dismantling the fire triangle by removing any of the aforementioned.
How does it work?
Different components make different types of fire. The most common classes of fire include:
• Class A - Fires from solid objects like wood, paper, plastic, trash etc
• Class B - Fires from flammable liquid substances like petrol, oil, gasoline, paint etc
• Class C - Fires from powered electrical components like transformer, appliances etc
• Class D - Fires from combustible metals like aluminum, potassium, magnesium etc
• Class K - Fires from cooking oils like vegetable and animal fats.
Types of Commercial Fire Extinguishers and their Uses
In a bid to ensure human safety, a range of commercial fire extinguishers is specifically designed to put off the different fires with minimal risk. While some of these devices can be used in more than one class, others pose a threat when used otherwise.
• Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher
There are two types of dry chemical extinguishers - the ordinary and multipurpose. While the former is effective in putting off class B and C fires, the latter is most likely the most used commercial fire extinguisher due to its ability to quench classes A, B and C fires. They are made of a powder-like chemical which ceases the oxygen element and weakens the chemical reaction.
• Water Fire Extinguisher
Water fire extinguisher is quite common amongst people and is often thought to be multipurpose, but that isn't true as it's used for class A fires, and can cause more damage when used on other classes. In liquid form, it practically absorbs the heating element in the fire.
• Carbon dioxide Fire Extinguisher
Carbon dioxide fire extinguisher consists of non-flammable carbon dioxide which is stored at high temperature to stay liquid. When discharged, the coldness of the snow-like substance cools off the heat and destroys the oxygen, leaving the fuel element inactive.
Fire outbreaks are accidental. And to a large extent, accidents are inevitable. Undoubtedly, being knowledgeable about types of fire and commercial fire extinguishers can save the day, but when it looks too much to handle, it's prudent that you seek safety first, and then alert the right authorities - Trying to be a Hero could be a fatal risk.