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A guide to fire extinguishers




Even if you have received fire safety training before, it is always helpful to be reminded of the different fire extinguishers or fire safety equipment that should be used to tackle different kinds of fire. In this guide, we set out what equipment to use for which fire and also set out a simple fire safety checklist to go over to ensure your premises are as safe as possible.


Fires are divided into the following classes. In the event of a fire it’s important to consider what is burning and whether solids, liquids, gases, oils or live electricity could be involved.




A table setting out the different kinds of fire extinguishers and types of fire they can be used for



  • Class A – fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles.

  • Class B – fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel or oils.

  • Class C – fires involving gases.

  • Class D – fires involving metals..

  • Class F – fires involving cooking oils such as in deep-fat fryers.

  • Electrical – fires involving live electrical apparatus

Below is a list of the different kinds of extinguishers. Fire extinguisher colours can quickly help you to identify what kind they are and what sort of fire they can be used to tackle.

Water – for use on wood, paper, textiles and other carbonaceous materials. All water extinguishers have a red label.

Can be used on the following class of fires: A

Foam – for use on wood, paper, textiles and other carbonaceous materials as well as flammable liquids, petrol and spirits. Foam extinguishers have a cream label.

Can be used on the following class of fires: A, B

Dry Powder – for use on wood, paper, textiles and other carbonaceous materials. Flammable liquids, petrol and spirits. Flammable gasses (for example propane and butane). Powder extinguishers have a blue label.

Can be used on the following class of fires: A, B, C, E

Fires caused by electrical equipment where electric current may be present.

M28/ L2 Dry Powder – for use on fires involving burning metals. Can be used on the following class of fires: D

CO2 Gas – for use on flammable liquids, petrol and spirits. Fires caused by electrical equipment where electric current may be present. Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers (CO2) have a black label.

Can be used on the following class of fires: B, E

Wet Chemical – for use on wood, paper, textiles and other carbonaceous materials. Cooking oil and fat (for example olive oil, maize oil, lard and butter). Wet chemical extinguishers have a yellow label.

Can be used on the following class of fires: A, F

We stock a full range of fire extinguishers. to explore the right one see the Fire Safety section from page 120 of our Safety brochure: http://www.easyflip.co.uk/cisafety/



Fire safety checklist


Read through and update your fire risk assessment

Every commercial property must have a fire risk assessment, and reading through this is a helpful way for you to identify any risks and ensure you have the right equipment and procedures in place.


Check fire and smoke alarms are working

Your fire risk assessment should document when these were last tested, if not, then now is a good time to check again and update your records.



Check fire safety equipment is working

Check your fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment is working, clearly labelled and signposted and that everyone who regularly uses the premises knows how to use them.

Our Fire Safety log book is a place to log equipment checks, dates of when staff have been trained as well as setting out employers fire safety responsibility. See page 124 of our safety brochure.







Ensure electrical appliances have been tested

Check your records to find out if all electrical appliances and boilers have been tested and are up to date. Arrange tests if necessary and record the results and dates of tests.


Make sure any staff know important fire safety advice

Employers have a responsibility to ensure staff have fire safety training, but temporary staff and at home, family members and guests should also know where fire exits are and fire evacuation procedures; where firefighting equipment is and how to use it.


Record who is on the premises at any time

If staff work alone or visit the business premises at irregular hours, it is especially important that you make sure you have a visitors log or clear way for authorities to know quickly if anyone is likely to be on the premises in the event of a fire.



Use alarm systems.

Nowadays you can have monitors which plug directly into the electrical sockets and are connected to your handheld devices. Upon signs of fire manifesting or smoke being present, the monitors will notify you through an app, via text messages or email. You can then take actions accordingly.


Our battery-operated Site Alarms have strobe lights as well as sound for staff who cannot hear well, or for noisy environments.






Ensure that clear closing premises procedures are followed

Ensure procedures are in place when staff leave the premises. Ensure any appliances or devices which do not need to be plugged in are physically unplugged from the socket when the premises are closed. This will contain a fire and can give you vital time to get out safely or minimise the damage a fire can do.


Before staff leave the premises for an extended period of time:

  • turn off water at the mains: water from a leaking pipe or overflowing from a cistern could short out electrical wiring and cause a fire

  • empty all rubbish bins and ashtrays

  • Ensure that keyholder is up to date and staff and any security services have that information. You can also give the details of this person to your local police as many run keyholder services to help manage fire alarms when premises are empty.


As always our team are happy to talk you through helpful options to suit your needs and budget. Call us on 01726 74264 or email sales@cisafety.com for advice relating to your specific needs.




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