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.
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:
There are several types of common fire extinguisher, each with their own properties and purpose. These include:
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.
Water fire extinguishers feature a red label and are only suitable for Class A fires (those caused by combustible materials).
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.
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.
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.
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.