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Identifying fire extinguishers by colour

Each fire extinguisher is installed according to the fire risk most likely in its surrounding area. The different types of fire extinguisher work to tackle different fires in their own unique way – and each one is identified by its colour-coded label. In this simple guide, we outline the different types of fire extinguishers and what each colour signifies.

What are the different types of fire?

It’s important you understand the various classes of fire in order to identify which fire extinguishers are safe and most effective. In total, there are six types of fire, including:

  • Class A: combustible, carbonaceous materials including wood, paper and textiles
  • Class B: flammable liquids such as petrol and spirits
  • Class C: flammable gases like propane and butane
  • Class D: burning metals
  • Class E: electrical (where a live current may still be present)
  • Class F: cooking oils and fats

What are the different types of fire extinguisher?

There are several types of common fire extinguisher, each with their own properties and purpose. These include:

  • Water
  • Foam
  • Powder
  • CO2
  • Wet chemical

Should a fire take hold, it’s imperative that people in the building know where vital fire-fighting equipment is located and are confident they’ll be picking up the right fire extinguisher appropriate for the class of fire it’s being used on. Remember, the wrong type of fire extinguisher can make a fire far worse. For ease of recognition, each fire extinguisher has a corresponding colour-coded label to help identify its type and use.

What colour is a water fire extinguisher?

Water fire extinguishers feature a red label and are only suitable for Class A fires (those caused by combustible materials).

What colour is a foam fire extinguisher?

Foam fire extinguishers display a cream label and are most commonly used on Class B fires (those caused by flammable liquids). However, as they’re water-based, they’ll also work on Class A fires.

What colour is a powder fire extinguisher?

Dry powder fire extinguishers display a blue label and are known as ABC fire extinguishers due to their versatility in tackling Class A (combustible materials), Class B (flammable liquids) and Class C (flammable gases) fires. However, powder fire extinguishers can be dangerous in enclosed spaces because the contents can be inhaled and harm the user.

Which colour represents a CO2 extinguisher?

CO2 fire extinguishers feature a black fire extinguisher label and are used on electrical and Class B fires (from flammable liquids). Another identifying feature of this fire extinguisher is its horn-like nozzle.

What is the wet chemical fire extinguisher colour?

Wet chemical fire extinguishers display a yellow fire extinguisher label and is specifically designed for use on Class F fires (caused by cooking oils and fats).

For more detailed colour identification and fire extinguisher information, download the CheckFire Fire Extinguisher Guide.

The content of the CheckFire blog is for general information purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, under no circumstances should it be considered professional advice. Any reliance you place on the information is at your own risk. Always seek the advice of a fire professional for your particular circumstances and requirements.
  • by Emma Cridland

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