What Is A Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher? Fire extinguishers are devices used to put out fires which are typically made of compressed air, water, or chemicals. They may be hand-held units weighing 2 or 5 pounds (.9–2.3kg), fixed installations such as mountings on walls and ceilings, or portable systems for use in emergency vehicles.
A fire extinguisher is only useful at putting out the fire if it can be discharged on the fire. The class of a fire extinguisher indicates its capacity and what types of fires it is designed to put out.
Fire extinguishers are designed according to the principles of pressurization, in which a propellant is released from its pressurized container by an opening mechanism into a sealed expansion chamber where converting such energy into mechanical energy again via the internal pressure, or through turbulence or other means.
From there, it may expand to a larger volume in an open area, extinguished with the help of some form of agent or chemical.
This article will talk all about wet chemical fire extinguisher, it uses, advantages and disadvantages, to use a wet chemical fire extinguisher and its applications.
What Is A Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher?
A wet chemical fire extinguisher is a type of fire extinguisher that contains a non-corrosive and water-based, or watery agent. In contrast to dry chemical extinguishers, they can be used in a wide variety of applications, which makes them the preferred option of many fire service organizations.
These agents are not flammable, they are safe to use in areas with oxygen ventilation. However, some types of these agents can adversely react with other substances.
Wet chemical agent fire extinguishers are made of a pressurized vessel containing a mixture of water and an extinguishing agent. There are many types of agents that can be used in these extinguishers, but the most common one is potassium-based. A solution that is familiar to many people as the baking soda that they use to make cookies or other treats.
The chemical’s natural quenching ability makes it an effective substance for extinguishing fires. Also, it aids in neutralizing hazardous materials during emergencies such as unintentional releases and spills at facilities handling chemicals. It has a protective action when it comes to fires and can help reduce toxicity of the burning substance.
The effective range for potassium-based extinguisher is about 15 to 21 feet; this means that if a fire occurs 15 to 21 feet away from the extinguisher, it will not be effective until the fire gets closer to a range of between 15 to 21 feet.
The range of effectiveness depends on various factors including the type of extinguisher, amount of agent released, ambient temperature, and relative humidity.
The typical advantage of using a chemical agent is its ability to work well on flammable, non-conductive liquids that are found in many types of fires.
Chemical agents can be used to handle the following type of fires: Wood, paper, fabric, plastic, and combustible metals. They are not as effective against Class B or C fires such as cooking oils or gasoline.
When using a chemical fire extinguisher for the small fire mentioned above on wood and paper materials, there will not be any residual after-effect other than the fact that it has put out the flames.
The chemical agent leaves no residue or damage on the materials that were set on fire. A wet chemical fire extinguisher is extremely useful and easier to use than most other types of extinguishers. A person does not need prior training and experience in order to know how to use it, unlike dry powder extinguishers for instance.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher
Some of the advantages of a wet chemical fire extinguisher includes:
- Wet chemical extinguishers allow a fire to be put out quickly while it is hot and can burn new fire or materials nearby.
- This extinguisher can be used in a wide-range of applications that are not available for dry chemical extinguishers.
- Since it does not contain hazardous chemicals, it is not flammable and does not need oxygen flow for operation.
- It can control fires on carpets, clothing, furniture and other materials that are highly flammable and restrict the use of the dry powder fire extinguishers for their intended purpose.
- After using this equipment, you can quickly and easily clean it up.
- It does not pose any risk when used in a chemical fire as it is non-corrosive and non-flammable. The risks are limited to mild skin irritation from chemical spray when the extinguisher has been activated, especially if the operator is exposed to high temperatures or concentrations of carbon dioxide or oxygen during use.
Some of the disadvantages when using a wet chemical fire extinguisher includes:
- It has a short range of effectiveness that is based on how long it takes the agent to reach the flames.
- It can be used only in certain situations, such as cooking fires and electrical fires.
- Some of these extinguishers are not approved for use by people with asthma or other chronic respiratory problems.
- The mixture of ingredients within the extinguisher can cause allergic reactions if the mix is not properly diluted correctly.
- Some materials that were set on fire will still leave a residue which can cause some damage to certain materials that contain metals or chrome plating as well as wood and paper products when unburned substances are present after putting out the fire.
- Very specific application
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Applications Of Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher
Applications of wet chemical fire extinguisher include:
- Hazardous material fire (Class A).
- Cooking fires.
- Electrical fires.
- Medium and small scale structure fires as well as basement fires, especially from cooking and electrical causes, etc.
- Automobile fires where flammable liquids are present in the vehicle or fuel tank, etc.
- Kitchen fires.
- Large scale structure fires such as warehouse fires, etc.
- Extinguishers used in large building and popular public places such as shopping centers, etc.
Step by Step procedures of using a fire extinguisher
- Before you use the equipment, read the instructions that are included in the manual.
- Carry out an evacuation of personnel, as well as any other action that needs to be taken according to your department’s procedures.
- Don’t try to put out a fire by yourself if you are not sure what type of fire it is or how best to handle it as well as any risks associated with it.
- Never delay in putting out a fire.
- Properly coordinate with the others to respond and make use of the equipment when necessary, as well as ensuring that you all are using the same type of fire extinguishing equipment.
- When you arrive at the scene, don’t delay even for a minute before putting out the fire.
- Make sure that everyone is in an area where they are safe from exposure (heat/fumes) to any dangers that may arise, including gases or smoke that may be released when attempting to stop the new fire from growing or if it spreads further onto other materials, etc.
- When you have access to water, do not use it to put out a fire as the water will spread the fire instead.
- The best approach is always to use smothering equipment rather than attempting to fight the flames in any way.
- If you are able to, make sure that you cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth that has been soaked in water or wear goggles or a face mask as well as other safety equipment if necessary.
- Lastly, be cautious when using the equipment especially if it is carbon dioxide based, with care taken by not rupturing tanks or explosives inside buildings or vehicles where they can cause further damage and danger to numerous people nearby.
The wet chemical fire extinguisher is ideal for the average person to use because it is extremely easy to use, as well as being less expensive than other methods of putting out a fire. It is also a good option to have at home because it can be stored easily and does not take up too much space and can be used successfully in many situations.
This extinguisher does not need any special training to operate, unlike an ABC dry powder extinguisher that needs training and prior experience. Since it is already mixed and ready to use out of the box, it eliminates the need to have highly trained or specialized personnel in order to operate this particular type of extinguisher.
It is also one of the most environmentally friendly fire extinguishers that are available today, unlike many others which contain extremely toxic and flammable chemicals that can cause extensive damage to the environment. It is also easy to clean up after you are done using it.
Lastly, it is a relatively inexpensive option compared to other types of equipment that you might need in order to handle some difficult circumstances should they arise, as well as taking care of numerous different types of fires.