My chapter recently ran a bulk order on fire extinguishers. Some of the info gathered might be of use to you if you are purchasing an extinguisher.
A little background on types of fires is necessary before fire extinguishers can be discussed. There are three common classifications of fire: A, B, and C.
Type A fires involve burning solids such as wood, paper, rubber, carpeting, etc. Extinguishers with an “A” rating have extinguished a certain quantity of burning wood in rating tests.
Type B fires are burning liquids oil, gas, grease, etc. The “B” rating of an extinguisher indicates the area of burning naptha extinguished in rating tests.
Type C fires are those that are burning and are electrically “live.” extinguishers with a “C” rating use a non-conductive medium to put out fires.
There are three commonly-used types of extinguishers:
- The soda-acid extinguisher.
This type was eliminated because it can’t be used on type B and C fires, should be stored upright, and (a big consideration in the North) will freeze in winter.
- The next type is the C02 type of extinguisher.
It has the obvious advantage of leaving no mess to clean up and in a clutch it can be used to cool your beer, but it was found that not enough C02 could be put in a small size extinguisher to put out a reasonable-size fire. Also, due to the very high pressurization this type is thick walled and very heavy.
- 3. This brings us to the dry chemical extinguisher:
The last and best for automotive or general use. It will not freeze, can be used on type A, B, and C fires, and will put out the largest fire of the three types of extinguisher. The only disadvantage is the mess in the area sprayed. There are two major types of chemicals used in these extinguishers: the BC type and the ABC type. Though it is harder to clean up, the ABC powder can put out a much larger Class A fire because the powder turns sticky and adheres to hot and burning surfaces.
The extinguisher chosen for our sale was a top-rated, refillable, metal-valved, pressure-gauged ABC type. The brand was chosen after talking to firemen and refill shops. A 21/l Ib. unit rated 1A:lOB:C with a vehicle mount and a 5 Ib. unit rated 2A:lOB:C with a wall mount suitable for kitchen, workshop, and garage were decided upon.
Several dozen extinguishers were sold to club members at a price lower than normally obtainable. Other chapters might consider a similar sale.
Author: Ed Vozek