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An essential safety feature, certain buildings have a Fire Safety Provisions code making it a legal requirement to have fire extinguishers on the premises. The number of extinguishers depends on the size of the building. There are different types of extinguishers, built for different kinds of fires. The one needed depends on what kind of products or chemicals are present on the premises. A relatively inexpensive item to purchase.


Why a fire extinguisher is necessary

A possible hazard in most places, fire is one of the deadliest occurrences in the enclosed spaces we occupy. There is hardly any way to be ready for such a situation completely, but fire extinguishers are a good measure and should be accessible. Especially in schools, hospitals and other public buildings so there is possible hands-on management of a fire and the possibility to end it before it spreads. Training to use one beforehand is recommended.

Origins of the fire extinguisher

The first recorded instance of a fire extinguisher is when Ambrose Godfrey applied for a patent in 1723, using a method that involved a controlled explosion involving gun powder to build the pressure to expel the fire-retardant. With many remakes over the years and also a change in chemicals/gases used as retardants, some are no longer used as they were producing a lot more toxicity once the fire was done with.

The different types

Fire extinguishers are purpose-specific in the sense that different ones are used depending on what kind of material is burning. The basic ones are for paper and wood, essentially organic material that can burn and are probably the most common ones found in various places. They are water-based and can only be used in the absence of electricity as shorting would create more issues possibly.

The second step is for combustible liquids like petrol and oil which are usually foam-like so they seal off the fuel from coming in contact with oxygen. After which come the ones used for flammable gasses. Combustible metals are also a danger and potentially explosive, for which there is another kind of fire extinguisher in which the chemical is in a powder form.

Electrical fires are also a possibility given how many electronics we have around us and mass sized setups like server racks for storage and processing of data. For this, there are fire extinguishers that commonly have CO2 which doesn't damage the electronics either and swaths the flame. 

Some of these types can be used for other fires too, but that needs to be looked into; if a fire extinguisher can cover 2 or 3 different types of fires. There is also another whole layer of possible fire extinguishers designed for other kinds of fires, aside from the basic ones mentioned. These different kinds have rating systems that vary depending on where they were made some are colour-based systems and others are alphabet-based, so read through properly before purchase.

The importance of fire extinguisher maintenance

Fire extinguishers need regular maintenance, this is crucial as even in recent times there have been deaths caused by an extinguisher that was corroded. The varied types have different maintenance timelines so when buying one please check on such specifics. There are trained individuals that do regular checkups or the brand you buy it from have teams for this purpose.

Size variations & general

Available in a few different sizes as well in case you need one on your person or in the car. Please keep in mind where you are buying the extinguisher for as schools have very different needs to a factory involving a specific metal or chemical. Heavier than they look and not as easy to use it is important to have basic training about fire extinguishers well before the incident of a fire.

Fire extinguishers are available for relatively inexpensive rates.

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