Advantages And Disadvantages Of Foam Fire Extinguisher


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What are the advantages and disadvantages of foam fire extinguisher? Do you know the meaning and how a foam fire extinguisher works? If you have ever had any question about these, worry no more because this article will tell you all you need to know about foam fire extinguisher and also the advantages and disadvantages of foam fire extinguisher.

foam fire extinguishers placed side by side

Foam fire extinguisher is a type of fire extinguisher that is made up of a foam in the shape and size of fire. The key difference between this type and other types of fire extinguishers is that foam water mist or foam granules are used to put out fires.

This type of firefighter can be used in many different ways, including as a temporary solution at disaster relief sites when only one extinguisher or two are available or as an interim measure while more conventional methods are implemented.”

The foam mist is discharged from the fire extinguisher nozzle and is used to smother the burning fuel, preventing it from spreading and reducing oxygen to the fire. As it is a water-based solution, it can be used on Class A and Class B fires.

What Is A Foam Fire Extinguisher?

A foam fire extinguisher is a type of fire extinguisher that uses foam instead of dry chemicals to put out a fire.

When you hear the term “foam,” it might conjure images of soft, bubbly formations at bath time, but the foam in a fire extinguisher is actually a concentrated liquid or gas designed to stop the spread of burning materials by smothering them.

This type of fire extinguisher can be used on several different types of fires and can be especially effective on Class A and B fires.

Foam fire extinguishers are among the most common extinguisher types and tend to be used for fires that involve flammable solids as well as flammable liquids.

Highly effective against petrol and volatile liquids, forming a flame smothering seal over the surface and hence also preventing re-ignition, ideal for multi risk usage in areas such as workshops and garages.

The foam used in a fire extinguisher can be either compressed air or water based.

This type of fire extinguisher is sometimes referred to as the “air foam” type because it is filled with compressed air and the foam is formed when the air is expelled from the extinguisher under pressure.

Alternatively, foam fire extinguishers often contain water based foam which bursts into a large cloud when discharged, protecting not only the surface but also any exposed combustible materials nearby.

The different types of fire extinguishing systems use a number of different components that work together to put out fires.

A foam fire extinguisher is simply a foam based extinguisher that uses a pressurized gas or spray to form foam around the fire to seal it in. It is so named because of the action of the extinguisher’s foam that smothers or smothers the fire and impedes its spread.

The action of foam in a fire extinguisher is basically breaking up the surface tension of water, which allows it to cling to objects and particles, trapping them in a layer with sufficient water pressure and mass density behind them so they are unable to heat back up.

As a result, when the water is released from the foam, it erupts and creates a barrier, which is often called the “foam blanket.”

Water based extinguishers are usually composed of several components such as a tank or bag that stores water, an engine or pump that feeds the water into the tank, and nozzle or gun that allows it to be discharged.

Foam works by forming a seal over surface to prevent re-ignition. The need for several different components in order to work means that fire extinguisher are quite expensive however they are fairly effective at putting out fires.

A foam fire extinguisher usually contains a foaming agent that can be water based or an aerosol propellant. The chemical creates bubbles which release into the air at high velocity, breaking up and releasing protective water droplets which block the heat from the fire.

different sizes of foam fire extinguisher

When it comes to using a foam fire extinguisher, safety should not be compromised. These devices are often heavy to handle and it is important to avoid being over-confident as they may injure persons who are not trained to use them.

Most foam fire extinguishers need to be disassembled in order to be refilled, although some can be recharged in situ. It is important that the person operating the extinguisher is trained on any special technique required for refilling and charging it before attempting anything.

How Does This Extinguisher Work?

Foam fire extinguishers are usually used to put out fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol and other flammable gases.

When foam is ejected from a fire extinguisher, it forces itself through the air and through the heat the foam creates. The foam creates a barrier between the flames and anything else in contact with it, creating a seal that prevents the flames from spreading.

The water-based foam creates aerosols of bubbles which force themselves into places where they can affect fires. Because of their high density, they create a protective layer around themselves that prevents any oxygen from reaching them.

A fire that is put out using flammable liquid foam can easily re-ignite if the foam is removed too quickly.

Foam is used to coat the surface and then be ejected from a fire extinguisher, or can be blown or sprayed directly onto a fire. In this way, it coats the entire surface and acts as a barrier so that oxygen cannot reach the flames again.

When used in combination with other techniques such as sprinklers, foaming agents can prevent fires from spreading through the entire building. A large volume of water can also be used to remove the fire from the surface of a material.

Foam is most effective when used on flammable liquids, but is relatively ineffective against fires involving electrically conductive materials.

Foam fire extinguishers should not be used on Class C, Class D and Class F fires, which are electrical fires, as the foam may actually feed the fire with oxygen.

Moving on, now we have known what what a foam fire extinguisher is and how it works, let’s move into the next topic which is the advantages and disadvantages of foam fire extinguisher.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Foam Fire Extinguisher

Here, we will be discussing on the advantages and disadvantages of foam fire extinguisher but firstly, we will look into the advantages of foam fie extinguisher and then later its disadvantages.

Advantages Of Foam Fire Extinguisher

Some of the advantages of foam fire extinguisher are as follows:

1. Useful In multiple Classes Of Fire

Foam fire extinguisher are useful in multiple classes of fires, as they can be used in Class A fires and Class B fires.

Class A: These are the most dangerous of all the classes and includes flammable solids such as accelerants and flammable liquids such as petrol or diesel.

Class B: These are similarly dangerous to those in the class A but can include non-flammable solids such as paper, textile or wood.

2. It Is Non-Toxic

Foam fire extinguishers are non-toxic, so are safe to use around the environment without posing any risk to the people and property.

3. Lighter Than A Water Extinguisher Of The Same Equivalent

Water extinguishers are heavy and difficult to handle especially if used in long terms. On the other hand, foam fire extinguisher is lighter than a water fire extinguisher of the same equivalent.

Disadvantages Of Foam Fire Extinguisher

Some of the disadvantages of foam fire extinguisher are as follows:

1. Not Effective Against Electrical Fires

It is not effective against electrical fires because air can feed the fire. The foam that is used in the extinguisher is not effective against Class C, D, E and F fires. Must not be used on class C,D,E,F fires.

2. Not Effective Against Frost Fire

Foam fire extinguisher is not effective against a frost-related fire. The foam breaks down and stops working when it encounters temperatures below 10 °C or below -15 °C. This affects its use in fighting fires caused by ice or frost.

3. Cost

The cost of purchasing and refilling are higher than the water extinguishers and with the environmental implications of disposing of foam will see the refills costs increase.

Therefore, we now have known what a foam fire extinguisher is and how it works, then we also know the advantages and disadvantages of foam fire extinguisher.

When using a foam fire extinguisher, it is important to make sure that the fire is fully extinguished. Leaving even small areas of a fire burning can cause it to reignite and start spreading again.

Foam can prevent re-ignition for up to an hour, but it will eventually need to be removed from the surface with a high-pressure water jet or by feeding with oxygen so that the fire cannot start again.

When a foam extinguisher is used on an electrical fire, there are serious risks involved and care should always be taken when fighting these fires.


Foam fire extinguishers are designed to protect people and equipment from the most dangerous fires, so it is important that they are used very carefully.

Foam fire extinguishers should be used with care on electrical fires because of the risk involved. Not all electrical fires are controlled by an electrical fire extinguisher and some require more attention than just the foam.

All flammable liquids are dangerous and can cause damage to the environment and human health. To minimise the risk, the use of foam fire extinguishers is hugely important.

Foam can stop a fire from spreading by creating a barrier which prevents oxygen from reaching them and acting as an insulator until external help arrives to remove it. This helps protect surrounding objects, machinery and property structure.

two foam fire extinguisher placed on top of a carton

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