Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers are the most popular fire extinguishers in Australia.

This is due to their effectiveness to a wide variety of different classes of fire, paired with the low cost per unit.

Also known as DCP, ABE, or BE Fire Extinguishers, they contain dry chemical powder as the extinguishing agent.

We’re going to cover everything you need to know about dry chemical fire extinguishers!

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher – What Colour Band?

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers come in all-red cylinders with a white band running around the tank near the top.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher

When To Use A Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher

Due to their ability to extinguish multiple class fires, dry chemical fire extinguishers can be used in many different settings such as offices, homes, factories and many more types of buildings.

There are two types of dry chemical fire extinguishers in Australia.

BE Fire Extinguishers

BE Fire extinguishers can be used to handle fires of classes B and E, which include flammable liquids like petrol and diesel, as well as electrical fires.

Though not mentioned in the rating, BE fire extinguishers can also be used on fires containing cooking oils and fats.

By discharging a fine powder, they are able to remove the fuel source from the fire.

BE fire extinguishers cannot be used on Class A fires containing wood, paper or combustible materials.

ABE Fire Extinguishers

ABE fire extinguishers can be used to put out fires of class A, B, and E.

Due to its effectiveness on a variety of different fire classes it is the most popular fire extinguisher on the market.

Similar to the BE extinguisher, it spreads a dry chemical powder over the fire and melts the flames, preventing re-ignition.

Extremely efficient on electrical fires, paired with the fact they are extremely cost effective makes the ABE fire extinguisher the perfect choice for a wide variety of situations.

ABE Fire Extinguisher colour

How Does A Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Work?

All fire extinguishers work by removing one or more of the 3 key elements that are required for a fire to flourish.

ABE fire extinguishers are filled with the chemical powder, monoammonium phosphate, which acts as an extinguishing agent. This chemical spreads easily and melts over the flames to cover the fire in the case of class A and E fires, and thus puts it out.

With class B fires, the powder smothers the base of the fire and blocks the vapor from escaping, which puts out the fire immediately.

BE fire extinguishers contain a different type of dry chemical powder which doesn’t melt over the flames. Thus, it cannot be used to put out class A fires.

Powder Fire Extinguisher

Advantages of Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers

  • Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers can be used on a variety of different types of fire. So, it’s relatively safer even in tricky circumstances such as electrical fires.
  • They come in various sizes and can also be stored easily in normal home/office settings.
  • These powder fire extinguishers are able to cover large areas, thus providing more protection.
  • Dry Chemical fire extinguishers also act as remarkable heat shields. The discharge of the dry powder acts as a shield against radiated heat. If a large quantity of powder has been released, it also has the ability to shield and protect surrounding objects and structures from the damage of fire.

Disadvantages of Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers

  • Cleaning up after use can be a chore because of the mess created by the powders in the process of extinguishing the fire.
  • Visibility can be reduced by a great deal while using this extinguisher. This could hinder in finding the exits and accurately aiming at the fire.
  • Breathing in the chemicals in these extinguishers for a long period can be dangerous.
  • While these ABE fire extinguishers are versatile, they still have some limitations and will not work against Class C and Class D fires.

How To Use Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers?

The working process of these fire extinguishers is the same as any other extinguishers on the market. You just need to follow the PASS technique.

  • Pull the Pin
  • Aim it at the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle.
  • Sweep from side to side.

See our detailed guide on How to Use a Fire Extinguisher.

Fire Extinguisher PASS

Additional Tips

  • Whether it’s your home, office, or business, everyone who lives/works there should know where the fire extinguishers are located. They should also be aware of its capabilities, limitations, and how to use it.
  • All fire extinguishers must be inspected every 6 months.  Regular maintenance is essential to ensure your extinguisher will work correctly when required.  After 5 years your extinguisher must be pressure tested as per AS 1851.
  • Since DCP fire extinguishers use powder to extinguisher fires, they might not be as effective when used in a windy environment. In such cases, seek for other alternatives immediately.
  • If you are ever in doubt or feel unsafe when fighting a fire, GET OUT. Saving property is not worth putting human life at risk.

Our range of Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers available include: 1kg, 1.5kg, 2kg, 2.5kg, 4.5kg, 9kg

For our detailed articles on other types of fire extinguishers click one of the below links:

We offer high quality ABE DCP fire extinguishers at extremely low prices! Buy your ABE fire extinguishers by clicking the image below.

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