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Fire Extinguisher Types and Colour Codes

The six main fire extinguisher types are water, foam, CO2, powder, water mist and wet chemical.

Each of the different types of fire extinguisher is suitable for different fire classes. It is important that you purchase the right fire extinguisher for your needs:

  • Water – Class A fires (solid combustibles such as wood, paper and textiles). Some water extinguishers are safe on electrical equipment if di-electrically tested. Otherwise caution is required near electrical equipment, as ordinary water is a conductor.
  • AFFF foam – Class A and B (flammable liquids). Safe on electrical equipment if di-electrically tested.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) – Class B and electrical equipment
  • ABC powder – Class A, B, C (flammable gases) and electrical equipment
  • De-Ionised Water mist – Class A, B, C and electrical equipment
  • Wet chemical – Class F (deep fat) fires, sometimes class A

Fire extinguishers meeting BS EN3 should have a red body (RAL 3000) and an agent-specific colour code band covering between 5-10% of the surface relating to the extinguisher’s contents. See the boxes below to find out what the different fire extinguisher colours mean.

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