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Selecting the right Fire Extinguisher

When it comes to selecting the correct fire extinguisher there is no single type of extinguisher that’s effective on every kind of fire. Prior to purchasing a fire extinguisher, it’s important to consider the fire risks and what types of fire you may need to deal with. The wrong type of extinguisher could intensify the flames and increase the risk of injury to those fighting the fire.

Let’s start with the different types of fire

Fires are classified based on the type of fuel involved. Each fire class is represented by a letter of the alphabet and an easy to identify icon, which helps users make the correct choice of extinguisher to put out a fire when under pressure. 

Types of fire:

  • Class A - fires involving common combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and plastics.
  • Class B - fires involving flammable liquids, solvents, oils, petrol, paints, and other oil-based products.
  • Class C - fires involving energised electrical products such as wiring, motors, machinery, and appliances.
  • Class D - fires involving flammable metals such as lithium, magnesium, and titanium.
  • Class K - fires involving cooking oils and grease commonly found in commercial kitchen spaces.


For each fire type, there is a corresponding extinguisher type. Construction sites will need a selection of different extinguishers depending on the potential fire risks.

Which Fire Extinguisher do I need?

Firefighting equipment must be supplied by employers. There are two types of fire equipment that are required: installed equipment (such as fire hoses and sprinklers) and handheld fire extinguishers.

Fire extinguishers are colour coded in compliance with BS EN3:1996 for ease of use and to help quickly identify the types.

Red = Water extinguisher – for Class A Fires, do not use on Class B, C, D or K fires.

Blue = Powder extinguisher – can be used on Class B and Class C fires, must not be used on metal fires.

Cream = Foam extinguisher - for use on Class B fires, or flammable liquid.

Black = Carbon Dioxide extinguisher - for use on electrical or flammable liquid fires.

In addition to fire extinguishers, Fire Blankets are great when dealing with oil or cooking fat-based fires.

Types of Fire Extinguisher

You’ll find a range of fire extinguishers that’ll ensure you comply with fire safety regulations at Bryson.

According to the Health & Safety Executive, each fire extinguisher should be located at easily identified fire points around the site and nominated people should be trained to use fire extinguishers. The correct Fire extinguishers signs next to the relevant extinguisher can help identify the correct one to use at times of high pressure.

Protecting and educating the workforce about potential hazards is a legal requirement.  Find out more about Fire Safety from the Health and Safety Executive.

Posted: 12/01/2022