Bulbeck Fire on 22 December 2016

You should choose your fire extinguisher based on the type of fire you are likely to encounter.

In Australia, there are 5 types of fire extinguishers. Which one you will need, will depend on the type of fire that you want to defend yourself from. This is because fire extinguisher propellants such as water, foam, and powder are effective on some fires but not others.

For example, water based fire extinguishers are suitable for wood and paper fires. Yet they are not suitable for electrical fires or oil fires. In fact, using a water based fire extinguisher on these types of fires is extremely dangerous.

Here are 5 locations which require types of fire extinguishers and the type of fire extinguisher often most suitable.

Note: Recommendations are general in nature. The exact fire extinguisher required for your operation or business will depend on individual factors. Contact us for exact advice regarding your situation.

Alternatively, you can find more information on Bulbeck Fire Extinguishers here.

5. Offices and administrative workplaces

Offices are filled with combustible materials. Papers, cardboard, general plastics. All of these things and more are common in the modern workplace.

Additionally, offices also typically feature cooking facilities, large amounts of wiring and computer equipment, and heating and cooling devices.

All it can take is an unattended sandwich toaster in the staff room or an overheating electrical device to ignite nearby documents and cause a fire.

For fires involving paper, wood, and normal combustibles choose a:

Class A Fire Extinguisher

For fires involving electrical equipment such as kitchen devices choose a:

Class E Fire Extinguisher

5 types3

4. Commercial kitchens

water not to be used3For obvious reasons, commercial kitchens are one of the highest risk locations for workplace fires.

However, when it comes to choosing fire suppression equipment, restaurant, cafe, and business operators are often left wondering: what fire extinguisher do I need?

It is vital that they receive the right advice. Because using the wrong types of fire extinguishers in a commercial kitchen can have devastating results.

For example, using a water-based fire extinguisher on an oil or grease fire can cause an explosion, dramatically spreading flames, and injuring any workers in nearby proximity.

For fires involving cooking, animal, or vegetable fats choose a:

Class F Fire Extinguisher

For fires involving electrical wiring and electrified cooking equipment choose a:

Class E Fire Extinguisher

3. Factories and warehouses

In Australia's factories and warehouses, there are a range of flammable liquids, fuels, and combustibles such as paints. Therefore it is essential that owners and operators are prepared.

Sparks or flames from torches, welding equipment, or other workplace tools coming into contact with flammable material is one common cause of fires.

Leaking fuels, corroded wiring, improper storage of fuel and oil can all be a source of fire too. Even something as simple as a discarded cigarette can result in ignition.

To prepare for flammable liquid fires you'll need a:

Class B Fire Extinguisher

And for fires involving electrical device in your factory you'll need a:

Class E Fire Extinguisher

2. Apartments and investment properties

Fire extinguishers are typically the first response to fires in the home. Therefore building managers and landlords are often required to ensure tenants have the appropriate equipment.

Fires are most likely to occur in the kitchen. However, they can also happen as a result of ignition of fabrics and furniture in the lounge. And electrical fires can happen anywhere, even in the bathroom.

Cigarettes, candles, heaters, and more are all common causes of residential fires, and these things are found in many properties around Australia. A moment's carelessness can be all it takes to start a fire in the home.

For kitchen fires involving oils and fats use a:

Class F Fire Extinguisher

For textiles and general household items use a:

Class A Fire Extinguisher

For electrical fires use a:

Class E Fire Extinguisher

1. Mining

Mine sites, by their nature, are very complex operations. Between equipment, vehicles, fuels, electronics, devices, and the workers themselves, there are numerous opportunities for fire via different sources.

A mining site may have multiple types of fire extinguishers on-hand to deal with different types of fires, should they occur. Therefore it is particularly important for staff to be trained in which types of fire extinguishers are suitable for which fires.

In mining operations, as with all businesses, fire extinguishers should be prominently displayed with easy access for workers. In an emergency, extinguishers need to readily available in order to contain the threat and to minimise harm to persons and damage to property.

It is not uncommon for mine sites to feature a combination of Class A, B, E, and F fire extinguishers.

"What fire extinguisher do I need? The answer depends on your situation and fire suppression needs."

About the author

Bulbeck Fire are Australia's leading fire protection and suppression experts. Founded in 1949 we've been leading the way with innovative and reliable products for more than half a decade.

For more information on the different types of fire extinguishers available in Australia. Or for details regarding Bulbeck Fire products and systems, get in touch today.

Find out more on our fire extinguishers page or by calling 1800 530 401