Advantages And Disadvantages Of Fire Extinguisher


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What is a fire extinguisher? What are the advantages and disadvantages of fire extinguisher? Where can fire extinguishers be used? What are the types of fire extinguisher? All of these question are going to be answered here in this article.

fire extinguishers arranged accordingly

Ever since the introduction of fire extinguishers, they have been a popular tool for many different settings. Their main function is to put out fires and save both lives and property.

Fire extinguishers are used to protect people, property, and the environment from fire. There are many different types of fire extinguishers with many different purposes.

Fire extinguishers are relatively inexpensive, costing as little as $30 per unit on average. They are designed to work with virtually any type of fire in its earliest stages, making them an effective choice for any location where there is potential for fire: homes, offices, hotels/motels, factories/ warehouses…

What Is a Fire Extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher is a portable, hand-held device that contains a noncombustible substance used to extinguish small fires or reduce the spread of small fires. Fire extinguishers are categorized as either dry chemical, water, or carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers.

Fire extinguishers are identified by different classes and ratings based on their potential use on specific types of fires (Class A, B, C, D, E and F). Fire extinguisher operate automatically once they’re activated using pressure plates or manual pull handles.

Some extinguishers are hand-held while others can be fixed to walls or ceilings of buildings and corridors.

Dry chemical fire extinguishers can be used on Class A, B and C fires. CO2 fire extinguisher can be used only on Class B fires and Water fire extinguishers should be used only on Class A. Dry chemical fire extinguishers are the most commonly used in commercial, industrial and aircraft firefighting.

Many people believe that the main function of a fire extinguisher is to put out fires, but this is not true. It does not take the place of fire alarms, smoke detectors, and sprinklers. The main function of a firewall is not to put out fires, but rather to control the spread of fires from one area to another.

Proper design and installation of alarms, detectors and sprinklers are just as necessary as a proper design and installation of fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers can be used to protect lives, property and the environment from fire or fumes in many cases.

A fire extinguisher is an important tool that absorbs the energy of a burning fire long enough for firefighters to control it. Fire extinguishers are designed to control fires in the early stages.

A fire extinguisher can be used to prevent some fires, such as in railway carriages, aircraft and livery stables. While using a fire extinguisher on a fully-involved fire may delay its control for a short period of time, it can prove useful.

Before using the fire extinguishers, it is advised that you wear a mask to avoid inhaling toxic gases and fumes. People who use fire extinguishers should be trained by the personnel in their workplace.

All of the fire extinguisher users should have a training certificate. In order to get updated information on the latest developments in fire protection and firefighting techniques, it is important that people need to keep contact with the professionals in this field.

Heading on to the next topic which is the advantages and disadvantages of fire extinguisher, let’s talk about the different types of fire extinguishers.

Types Of Fire Extinguisher

There are five main types of fire extinguishers: Dry Chemical, Wet Chemical, CO2, Foam, and Water.

1. Dry Chemical Extinguishers

ABC fire extinguishers placed on the ground

Dry chemical extinguishers are the most common type of fire extinguisher. They are designed primarily to put out fires involving flammable liquids, such as oil and gasoline. They are categorized under Class A, B and C fires.

A typical dry chemical extinguisher is made of steel, with an aluminum head on the top and a copper or brass nozzle. The copper or brass nozzle is connected to a steel tube that sticks into the base of the extinguisher, through which a pressurized gas, such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide, is forced out under pressure.

They can also be used on non-flammable liquids that might catch fire, such as paint or grease; however, they will work on electrical fires involving electronic equipment up to 1000v.

2. Wet Chemical Extinguisher

The wet chemical fire extinguishers are used for Class F fires. Class F Fires involve cooking oils and fats. Whilst this type of fire extinguisher can be used in Class A fires, it is recommended that you have a foam or water extinguisher to tackle a fire that fits into this class.

Class F extinguishers contain an oil-based solution that coats the fire to prevent it from spreading.

3. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguishers

CO2 fire extinguishers are used on Class B fires only, which are fires involving flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil and grease. They are used to tackle the fires started by electronics or electrical equipment.

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers work by creating large amounts of carbon dioxide that are discharged very quickly within a small space. The high volume of CO2 rapidly depletes the oxygen in an enclosed area, and therefore works well in areas where there is limited ventilation.

4. Foam Extinguishers

Foam fire extinguishers are used on both Class A and Class B fires and are also suitable for electrical fires, such as in equipment or machinery. Foam is a detergent that smothers the flames.

When water meets heat, it can create dangerous steam, so if a fire is burning either flammable liquids or solids, foam works by smothering the flames to prevent a build-up of steam.

5. Water Extinguishers

Water fire extinguishers are the most popular fire extinguisher type and they are suited to Class A fire risks. They distribute water at a high pressure to extinguish flames. Water fire extinguishers are used for fires caused by textiles, coal, wood, cardboard, paper and fabrics.

Moving on to the next topic, let’s discuss about the advantages and disadvantages of fire extinguisher.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Fire Extinguisher

Here, we will be discussing about the advantages and disadvantages of fire extinguisher but firstly, we will talk about the advantages of fire extinguisher and let its disadvantages.

Advantages Of Fire Extinguisher

Some of the advantages of fire extinguisher are as follows:

1. It Prevents Further Damage

If a fire is discovered in its early stage, it can be easily stopped and prevented from spreading to other places with the help of a fire extinguisher.

Even if you encounter a fully-involved fire, it can still be prevented from causing further damage if quickly put out with the help of a fire extinguisher.

2. It Can Save Lives

The fact that a fire can be extinguished quickly and by using an extinguisher, it can save lives. If a fire is spotted in time, you can put it out with the help of a fire extinguisher thus preventing any damages to the property.

3. They’re Better For The Environment

Arriving in time and applying a fire extinguisher is better for the environment because it prevents any damages to the property or nearby premises.

Sadly, water extinguishers are less effective on electrical fires. If you’re in need of putting out such an event, you can always seek help from the fire department since they have special extinguishers for electrical fires.

Disadvantages Of Fire Extinguisher

Some of the disadvantages of fire extinguisher are as follows:

1. Not All Fire Extinguishers Are The Same

Different fire extinguishers have different chemicals and they produce different types of fire-fighting foam. You should always check the label on the extinguisher to determine what type of fire it can fight.

2. It Is Dangerous

If a fire is extinguished with the help of a fire extinguisher, there are gases that are released that can be potentially harmful for the air you breathe.

It can be dangerous because while extinguishing the fire, it can cause harm to your respiratory system.

These gases can also be harmful for your skin. For this reason, only professional fire fighters should use a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency.

3. Spreading Fire

If a fire is very hot and results in spreading to a place that is easily flammable, then applying water on it can cause the fire to spread more.

Instead, you should spray foam or powder on the fire to contain it, which will prevent it from spreading to other areas.

As you might have heard that many people out there are still using the manual type of fire extinguishers that are rather laborious but even though they are designed in a different way, they look very similar to those we use today.

However, they were used manually and required some physical action to discharge them.


The fact that fire extinguishers are a necessity in our daily lives does not change the fact that many people do not know how to use them to their full potential.

Just like you, most of us cannot handle the thought of having to deal with an out of control situation, it is in times such as these that you need some sort of training.

If you have been using fire extinguishers for a long time and are aware of your surroundings, then it may be time for you to learn more about them.

I hope you have a good time reading this article because it will help to you and complete your fire extinguisher knowledge. In this article, I have discussed about the different types of fire extinguisher in detail and also shared with you some of the advantages/disadvantages of each type.

an image of a fire extinguisher placed behind a fire
Close-up of a fire extinguisher containing ABC safety powder at a fire safety training class, with flames in the background.

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1 thought on “Advantages And Disadvantages Of Fire Extinguisher”

  1. I made the decision to do some research on fire extinguishers in order to support my cousin, who has expressed interest in purchasing some for her company. It’s good that you clarified how different classes and ratings of fire extinguishers correspond to the kinds of flames they can put out (Class A, B, C, D, E, and F). I will make sure to let her know about this so she can remember to get the right one. I’ll also look into trustworthy stores that can assist her in obtaining one.


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