Fire extinguishers are essential on your work site. If you are using tools, welding, or working with any flammable material, having a fire extinguisher nearby is a good way to avoid a problem and if a fire does start, you can quickly put it out, reducing material, and site damage.
One of the best fire extinguishers to have available is a water can or refillable water extinguisher. The units are available in several sizes and are refillable if you use them. The top comes off, water is added to the can, and then the extinguisher is charged with compressed air.
Water extinguishers are a great option for any material that is not electrically charged and is made from wood, paper, cardboard or other common flammable materials. Do not use a water can extinguisher on oil, fuel, or electrical fires. They will spread the fire or the operator could get electrocuted in the process of trying to put the fire out.
Dry Chemical Extinguishers
Dry chemical extinguishers are the best option for many different kinds of fires. The extinguisher is filled with monoammonium phosphate and ammonium sulfate powder that works to suffocate the fire. Once the powder covers the material and cuts off the air, the fire goes out. The powder is siliconized and fluidized to pass through the nozzle easier and these extinguishers typically use a gas cartridge to propel the powder out of the tank.
Dry chemical extinguishers are rated for use on all fire types and the powder are safe for use, but the chemicals should not be breathed in intentionally.
Halon systems, or inert gas fire suppression systems, are used in spaces that need fire protection but are sensitive to water or dry chemical powder. Halon fire suppression systems work well in labs, server rooms, or other spaces that the fire needs to be extinguished quickly and with as little damage as possible.
While there are portable halon extinguishers available, inert gas systems are commonly larger and plumbed into a building or space. The system is designed to trigger the flow of inert gas into a space and remove the oxygen in the air, suffocating the fire. The concern with these systems is that if people are in the space, they can be injured or killed by the rapid pressure change and removal of oxygen from the air.
Even portable inert gas extinguishers can remove oxygen from the air quickly, so when using one, rapidly deploy it then quickly leave the area.
For more information, reach out to a company like Amerisafe.