Not all fires are the same – certain chemicals are more effective at putting out certain types of fires

Where combustible materials vary in your facility or workplace, so should the contents of your fire extinguishers. Understanding fire extinguisher colour codes is crucial to safety and wellbeing. It can mean the difference between effectively putting out a fire and causing further damage to property and potential harm to people. You can find the colour code of your fire extinguisher on the band around the canister. The different colour codes are as follows:

Fire Extinguisher Signs

RED BAND  

Contents:

Water

How it works:

Commonly known as Stored Pressure Water (SPW), water extinguishers are great at putting out ordinary fires caused by wood, paper and fabric – plus they don’t leave behind any chemical residue.

Suitable for:

  • Class A Fires – involving normal combustible materials like wood, paper, cloth, plastic or rubber products

Not suitable for:

  • Class B Fires – involving combustible liquids like petrol, oil paint and solvents
  • Class C Fires – involving combustible gases like LPG, Natural gas and acetylene
  • Class D Fires – involving combustible metals like aluminium shaving or magnesium
  • Class E Fires – where the ignition source contains electrical equipment such as motors, switchboards and electrical appliances. NEVER use on live electrical equipment
  • Class F Fires – involving cooking oils and fats

BLACK BAND

Contents:

Carbon Dioxide

How it works:

Carbon Dioxide extinguishers offer excellent protection against flammable liquids and electrical fires. They’re mainly used in server rooms, electrical switchboards and areas with expensive electrical equipment installed. Carbon Dioxide is not only a highly efficient chemical for fighting fires, it’s also very clean and doesn’t leave a mess.

Suitable for:

  • Class B Fires – involving combustible liquids such as petrol, oil paint and solvents
  • Class E Fires – where the ignition source contains electrical equipment such as motors, switchboards and electrical appliances

Not suitable for:

  • Class C Fires – involving combustible gases such as LPG, Natural gas and acetylene
  • Class D Fires – involving combustible metals such as aluminium shaving or magnesium
  • Class F Fires – Caused by cooking oils and fats

 

BLUE BAND

Contents:

Foam

How it works:

Foam fire extinguishers emanate a film that rapidly smothers the fire’s oxygen supply, knocking down its flames. They offer great protection against petrol, oil and other flammable liquid fires.

Suitable for:

  • Class A Fires – involving normal combustible materials like wood, paper, cloth, plastic or rubber products
  • Class B Fires – involving combustible liquids like petrol, oil paint and solvents

Not suitable for:

  • Class C Fires – involving combustible gases like LPG, Natural gas and acetylene
  • Class D Fires – involving combustible metals like aluminium shaving or magnesium
  • Class E Fires – where the ignition source contains electrical equipment such as motors, switchboards and electrical appliances
  • Class F Fires – involving cooking oils and fats

WHITE BAND

Contents:

Powder AB(E)

How it works:

Dry Chemical Powder ABE fire extinguishers provide excellent protection against wood, paper, liquid and electrical fires. This wide range of commercial and industrial applications make them extremely versatile in several usage situations – from homes, to factories, caravans, boats and busses.
Suitable for:

  • Class A Fires – involving normal combustible materials like wood, paper, cloth, plastic or rubber products
  • Class B Fires – involving combustible liquids like petrol, oil paint and solvents
  • Class E Fires – where the ignition source contains electrical equipment such as motors, switchboards and electrical appliances

Not suitable for:

  • Class C Fires – involving combustible gases like LPG, Natural gas and acetylene
  • Class D Fires – involving combustible metals like aluminium shaving or magnesium

OATMEAL BAND

Contents:

Wet Chemical 

How it works:

Designed to extinguish fires on kitchen ranges caused by lard, olive oil, maize oil, butter and fats, Wet Chemical fire extinguishers contain a liquid extinguishing agent that becomes soapy when discharged. This substance seals the surface of the blaze, prevents re-ignition and quickly returns a kitchen to safety.

Suitable for:

  • Class A Fires – involving normal combustible materials like wood, paper, cloth, plastic or rubber products
  • Class F Fires – involving cooking oils and fats

Not suitable for:

  • Class E Fires – where the ignition source contains electrical equipment such as motors, switchboards and electrical appliances

 

Choosing your fire extinguisher

The type of fire extinguisher you need will depend on your fire risk. It will also depend on whether you’re protecting your home or using the equipment for wider commercial applications. Here are some guides we’ve created to assist you in purchasing and using your fire extinguisher:

 

Shopping for fire extinguishers and still not sure about the meaning of the colour codes? Fire Equipment Online is here to help. Our team of highly-qualified experts will help find the most affordable and most well-suited solution for you, no matter how unique your requirements may be. Contact us today for more information.