Which Fire Extinguisher Is Used For Electrical Fire: Learn for  Safety

Electrical fires pose a unique challenge due to the involvement of energized electrical equipment and wiring. It is essential to use the appropriate fire extinguisher that can effectively suppress these fires.

Which fire extinguisher is used for electrical fire?  The fire extinguishers specifically designed for electrical fires are the CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) fire extinguisher and Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers.

I will discuss the characteristics and usage of the fire extinguisher that is suitable for electrical fires, ensuring you are equipped with the knowledge necessary to protect yourself.

Which Fire Extinguisher Is Used For Electrical Fire

How Are Electrical Fires?

Electrical fires occur when there is a malfunction or electrical overload, resulting in overheating of electrical components, sparking, or short circuits. These fires can be particularly hazardous as they can rapidly spread.

Electrical fires can cause severe damage and pose a significant risk to individuals in the vicinity. It is important to address electrical fires promptly and effectively using the appropriate fire extinguisher.

The CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Fire Extinguisher – Details

A CO2 fire extinguisher is portable and it uses CO2 gas as the extinguishing agent. It is specifically designed to combat fires involving flammable liquids, electrical equipment, and other Class B and Class C fires.

How Do CO2 Fire Extinguishers Work?

CO2 fire extinguishers work on the principle of removing oxygen from the fire triangle, which is necessary for combustion. 

When the CO2 gas is released from the extinguisher, it quickly expands, cools down, and displaces the oxygen around the fire. 

This rapid displacement of oxygen starves the fire of its fuel source, effectively extinguishing the flames.

Features of CO2 Fire Extinguishers

CO2 fire extinguishers have several features that make them suitable for electrical fires:

  • Non-conductive agent: The CO2 gas is non-conductive, making it safe to use on live electrical equipment. It does not conduct electricity, reducing the risk of electrical shock to the user.
  • Rapid suppression: CO2 fire extinguishers act quickly to suppress the flames by removing oxygen, thereby preventing the fire from spreading.
  • Residue-free: CO2 extinguishers do not leave any residue or harmful substances behind, making them ideal for use in environments with sensitive equipment or materials.
  • Environmentally friendly: Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas and does not contribute to ozone depletion or environmental pollution.

The Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers – Details

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers are versatile and commonly used fire extinguishers designed to combat various types of fires, including Class A, Class B, and Class C fires. 

These extinguishers utilize a dry chemical powder as the extinguishing agent. The powder works by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire, effectively smothering the flames and preventing their spread. 

How Do Dry Chemicals Fire Extinguishers Work?

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers work through a process known as chemical inhibition. The extinguisher contains a dry chemical powder, typically composed of substances such as mono ammonium phosphate or sodium bicarbonate. 

The dry chemical powder acts in multiple ways to suppress the fire. It creates a barrier between the fuel source and the oxygen, preventing the fire from receiving the necessary elements to sustain combustion. 

How Do Dry Chemicals Fire Extinguishers Work

The powder can also act as a heat sink, absorbing heat from the fire and lowering the temperature. 

The powder interferes with the chemical reaction of Class C fires by breaking the chain reaction and extinguishing the fire.

Features of Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers offers several features that contribute to their effectiveness and versatility in fire suppression. Here are some key features of these extinguishers:

  • Multi-class capability: Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers are classified as ABC extinguishers, indicating their ability to combat Class A, Class B, and Class C fires. This versatility makes them suitable for a wide range of fire scenarios.
  • Effective extinguishing agent: Effective extinguishing agents include dry chemical powder, often made of sodium bicarbonate or mono ammonium phosphate. The powder extinguishes the fire, stops the chemical reaction, and smothers the flames.
  • Rapid fire suppression: Due to the powder being discharged under pressure, dry chemical fire extinguishers provide rapid fire control. This aids in quickly putting out fires and preventing their spread and potential harm.
  • Non-conductive: The dry chemical powder used in these extinguishers is non-conductive, making them safe to use on electrical fires. They can effectively extinguish fires involving energized electrical equipment without posing a risk of electrical shock.

Can a Class A Fire Extinguisher Be Used for Electrical Fires?

When dealing with electrical fires, using a class A fire extinguisher may not be the best choice. Class A fire extinguishers are designed for ordinary combustible materials like wood or paper. For electrical fires, it is recommended to utilize class C fire extinguishers specifically designed to tackle electrical equipment fires. Remember the importance of knowing the right class A fire extinguisher information for the appropriate fire type.

CO2 vs Dry Chemicals Fire Extinguishers

Since both CO2 and Dry chemicals fire extinguishers can help you in case of an electrical fire, the following table will erase your confusion regarding which one to buy. 

FeaturesCO2 Fire ExtinguishersDry Chemical Fire Extinguishers
Extinguishing AgentCarbon Dioxide (CO2) GasDry Chemical Powder (e.g., mono ammonium phosphate)
Electrical SafetyNon-conductive, safe for use on electrical firesNon-conductive, safe for use on electrical fires
ResidueMinimal residue, does not leave a residueLeaves a dry chemical powder residue
Fire ClassesSuitable for Class B and Class C firesSuitable for Class A, Class B, and Class C fires
Discharge MethodHigh-pressure discharge of gasDischarge of dry chemical powder under pressure
Effective RangeShorter effective range due to gas dispersionLonger effective range due to powder dispersal
Cleanup and VentilationNo cleanup is required, and minimal ventilation neededRequires cleanup of the powder residue
Weight and SizeRelatively lightweight and compactCan be larger and heavier depending on capacity
Maintenance and ServicingMinimal maintenance, periodic inspectionsRegular inspections and maintenance required
Usage LimitationsNot suitable for confined spaces or poorly ventilated areasNot suitable for sensitive electronic equipment
CostGenerally more expensive than dry chemical extinguishersGenerally more cost-effective

Conclusion

Both CO2 and Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers are used for electrical fires because of their strengths and considerations when it comes to electrical fires. 

The choice between CO2 and Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers depends on various factors, such as specific fire risks, regulations, and the presence of sensitive equipment.

Hope the whole discussion was helpful for you in learning the fire extinguisher that works well with the electric fire. To learn more about fire extinguishers, you may read our other discussions.