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The Fire Extinguisher Guide

21st October 2022

Fire extinguishers can save lives, but do you know the different types available and what each of them should be used for? This blog will give you a guide to fire extinguishers to ensure you can be as safe as possible.

The 5 main extinguishers are wet chemical, CO2, dry powder, water and foam. Not only do you need to select the right extinguisher, but you also need to have the correct size. In fact, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that there must be appropriate firefighting equipment in place when there is a risk of fire. In many cases, that includes the correct fire extinguishers. 

In simple terms, the correct extinguisher is chosen based on the class of fire, running from A to F (combustible materials, flammable liquids, flammable gases, combustible metals, electrical equipment, and cooking oils). For example, for cooking oil fires, water and foam are only going to make it worse, so a wet chemical extinguisher would be a suitable choice. Alternatively, for class A fires, water, foam, dry powder or wet chemical extinguishers would be suitable choices.

Wet Chemical

Wet chemical extinguishers have a yellow label and are made to stop cooking oil fires along with Class A fires. In simple terms, it makes a foam layer on the oil to stop the oxygen from reaching it. They will typically be found in kitchens and canteens.


CO2 extinguishers are the go-to for electric fires, so they’ll normally be found in computer rooms. They can successfully put out Class B fires too. They will have a black label and work by suffocating the fire by moving the oxygen that is allowing it to burn.

Dry Powder

Nicknamed ‘ABC extinguishers’ dry powders can tackle fires in Class A, B and C categories, but they should never be used in small, tight spaces as the powder can be inhaled. They are also known to be very messy as it works by smothering the fire, but they do work on certain types of electric fires. You’ll find it with a bright blue label.


Water extinguishers are known for being used in class A fires, and they are easily noticeable with their bright red label. They are most effective on paper, cardboard and wood, any organic materials. It works by cooling the fuel so the burning slows and is usually found in most offices, schools and hospitals.


Known for tackling Class B fires foam extinguishers have a cream-coloured label. Foam works best on organic materials but also for paint and petrol, any sort of flammable liquid. However, the foam should not be used on kitchen fires or any sort of electrical fire.

How We Can Help

Here at Fire Stoppers, we expertly install and service fire all fire extinguishers at a cost-effective price. We can also advise on what types of extinguishers you need and what will suit your business needs. Find out more about how we can help you by clicking here.

If you’ve liked this blog and would like some more fire safety tips and advice, click here to look at our other posts.