Advice on fire extinguishers
1. Where do you want to extinguish?
Before you purchase a fire extinguisher, it is important to determine where you are going to use it. Below we have highlighted a number of locations.
With a vehicle you quickly think of a car. That is of course entirely good, only there are more vehicles where fires can arise. Think for example of a camper, caravan and boat. 1 things have vehicles in common and that's the size. The space is very limited, so the size of the fire extinguisher should not be too big. A volume of up to 1 to 2 kilograms is large enough.
The use of a fire extinguisher in the car is mandatory in Belgium. Not in the Netherlands, but such a crazy idea is not to have an extinguisher in your car. A fire extinguisher for the car, motorhome, caravan and boat must have the correct fire class that extinguishes such substances as petrol and diesel oil. Under the heading 'fire class explained' you can see which class is suitable for which substance.
Gas, deep-frying fat and cooking oil: all substances that catch fire relatively quickly. In addition to the mentioned substances, there are also electrical devices that can catch fire. That is why a fire extinguisher in the kitchen is a good idea. In catering kitchens it is only natural that a good fire extinguisher is present. Do not you like to have an extinguisher in sight? Then place it in your kitchen cabinet. He is neatly concealed and you always have him within reach in the pan with an unexpected flame. The ideal fire extinguisher for the kitchen has a compact size and a great extinguishing capacity.
Fire extinguishers for the workplace must meet various standards set by insurers and the ARBO for fire extinguishers in the workplace. In addition, it is important that the fire extinguisher is certified and that you have it checked annually by an expert. Fire extinguishers for work are generally larger and therefore have a larger volume (from 6 kilograms).
2. What substance do you want to extinguish?
Solids, liquids, gases, oil and grease: all different substances with different properties that can catch fire. Not all substances can easily be extinguished with a bucket of water. That is why you have to know exactly which substance can catch fire in the room and which extinguishing agent is suitable for this. Flammable substances: a general term where you actually do not get much information. Which substances do we all distinguish? We list the most important ones for you:
By solids we mean furniture, curtains and non-melting plastics.
Liquids are diesel oil, petrol, acetone, wax, melting plastics, fats and bitumen.
Gases include propane, butane, LPG and natural gas.
Oil and fats
Actually the title says it all. For oil and fats it is mainly frying fat and (baking) oil.
3. Fire classes
There are 5 different fire classes that have been recorded internationally. Each fire class has its own icon. This can always be found on the fire extinguisher. So you recognize in every country for which type of fire the extinguisher is suitable.
Fire class A
Fire class A stands for the extinguishing of solids. Think of your furniture in the house, curtains, paper, wood and (non-melting) plastic. To extinguish the fire in solids, use water, fire blankets, powder extinguishers and (spray) foam extinguishers.
Fire class B
Fire class B stands for extinguishing liquids. This concerns diesel oil, petrol, acetone, wax, (melting) plastics, fats and bitumen. With the fluids mentioned, it is certainly important that the fire is extinguished with the correct extinguishing agent. If this is not the case, it can lead to serious and serious consequences. The fire extinguishers with the right extinguishing agent are generally extinguishing blankets, powder extinguishers and (spray) foam extinguishers.
Fire class C
Fire class C stands for extinguishing gases. Think of propane, butane, LPG and natural gas. Again, it is important that you use which extinguishing agent you use. Misuse can have serious consequences. Only powder extinguishers have the right substance to extinguish the burning gas.
Fire class D
Fire class D stands for metal extinguishing. Aluminum, magnesium, sodium and metal are metals that you extinguish with a fire extinguisher with fire class D.
Fire class F
Fire class F stands for extinguishing fires from (frying) oil and fats. So if you are looking for a fire extinguisher for the kitchen, the fire extinguisher must always be equipped with this fire class. Extinguishing blankets and (spray) foam extinguishers are the most suitable for burning frying fat and cooking oil.
4. Foam extinguisher vs powder extinguisher
At first sight, a foam extinguisher looks exactly the same as a powder extinguisher. Yet they have a real difference and that is the content. The contents of the extinguisher determine which substances you extinguish with them, but also what the impact is after extinguishing. What the exact differences are, we explain to you here.
A foam extinguisher has a content consisting of water and a foaming agent. The substance ensures that the fire is covered and that it cools down. It is also important to know that the foam is not harmful to the environment and does not leave any collateral damage. The substance has a small penetrating capacity. A (spray) foam extinguisher is actually the most used fire extinguisher on the market. The contents of the extinguisher are suitable for extinguishing virtually any dust, except gas. In general, the foam extinguisher has a nozzle. This will safely extinguish a fire in electrical appliances. Always keep the minimum distance of 1 meter during the extinguishing.
A powder extinguisher has a content that consists of various chemicals. This content is less good for the environment and has a great penetrating capacity. You can therefore assume that the product or the place is immediately ready for replacement after extinguishing. The collateral damage after the use of a powder extinguisher is therefore considerably large. Powder extinguishers are suitable for extinguishing almost all substances, including gas. You should always keep in mind that there is a large cloud of dust during extinguishing when using a powder extinguisher. When you use the extinguisher indoors or in the office, the chances are that your vision will decrease quickly and you will reach the exit less quickly.
Besides all different fire extinguishers, there are also fire blankets to extinguish a fire. You do not use a fire blanket to extinguish large fires, but are perfectly suitable for extinguishing, for example, fire-resistant garments.
An extinguishing spray is useful for starting household fires. The can of the extinguishing spray is not that big (on average 600 milliliters) so you place it in any place you want. So you always have the spray quickly at hand when the fire starts.
5. Quality marks
The Rijks type rating is compulsory in the Netherlands for portable fire extinguishers. Without the label, portable fire extinguishers may not be sold.
The BENOR label is a mandatory quality mark in Belgium. When a fire extinguisher has passed all tests well, it is BENOR approved. Without a BENOR label, fire extinguishers may not be sold in Belgium.