Dry powder fire extinguishers


There are 2 types of dry powder fire extinguishers – standard and specialist. We explain all in our simple guide.

Summary:  Standard dry powder fire extinguishers are very versatile and can put out virtually every kind of fire, however they aren’t recommended for use in enclosed spaces.

Also known as:

• ABC fire extinguishers
• Multi-purpose fire extinguishers
• Dry chemical fire extinguishers

Dry powder fire extinguisher uses:

Standard dry powder extinguishers

• Fires involving flammable solids, such as paper, wood, and textiles (‘class A’ fires)
• Fires involving flammable liquids, such as petrol, diesel, and paint (‘class B’ fires)
• Fires involving flammable gases, such as butane and methane (‘class C’ fires)
• Electrical fires involving electrical equipment up to 1000v

Specialist dry powder extinguishers

• Fires involving the flammable metal, lithium (L2 powder extinguishers only)
• Fires involving all other flammable metals (M28 powder extinguishers only)

Do not use dry powder fire extinguishers for:

• Fires involving cooking oil, such as chip pan fires (‘class F’ fires)
• Fires involving electrical equipment over 1000v
• Fires in enclosed spaces
• Fires involving flammable metals UNLESS it is a specialist dry powder extinguisher

dry powder fire extinguishers - dry powder fire extinguishers - fire extinguisher types

How to identify a dry powder fire extinguisher:

• BLUE coloured label stating ‘Powder’
• Should be identified by an extinguisher ID sign fixed nearby – ‘Powder Extinguisher’

Sizes of dry powder fire extinguisher available:

• 1 kg
• 2 kg
• 3 kg
• 6 kg
• 9 kg

How dry powder fire extinguishers work:

Dry powder fire extinguishers smother fires by forming a barrier between the fuel and the source of oxygen.

As they do not cool the fire, there is a small risk of re-ignition.

Pros and Cons of dry powder fire extinguishers:

Pros: work on most types of fire; they suppress fires very quickly; specialist dry powder extinguishers are the only extinguishers that work on flammable metals.

Cons: slight danger of the fire re-igniting; when discharged, the powder can spread over a large area leaving a residue; can obscure vision when discharged and can be inhaled if used in enclosed areas.

Who needs dry powder fire extinguishers?:

Dry powder fire extinguishers are ideal for open or outdoor environments with the risk of several different types of fire, especially those involving chemicals, fuel, or vehicles. Examples include:

• Garage forecourts
• Large, commercial boiler rooms
• Flammable liquid storage facilities
• Large workshops
• Fuel tankers and other vehicles

Whilst dry powder fire extinguishers do extinguisher electrical fires involving equipment under 1000v, we recommend also having CO2 extinguishers on hand where there is this kind of fire risk, such as in a team kitchen, or where electric heaters are used.

Read more about the different types of extinguisher here.

How to use a dry powder fire extinguisher:

dry powder fire extinguishers how to remove safety pin

Removing a safety pin

In all cases, firstly remove the safety pin to break the anti-tamper seal, and stand well back from the fire.

Remember – don’t use dry powder extinguishers in enclosed areas.

Using the extinguisher:

• Aim at the base of the fire and move the jet rapidly backwards and forwards
For electrical fires: switch off the power if it’s safe to do so, then direct the jet of powder straight at the fire

If you think you need dry powder fire extinguishers, or you’re not exactly sure what you need, please get in touch with our friendly team by calling 0845 845 3001, or emailing info@surreyfire.co.uk.  They’ll be able to arrange a free survey visit for you from one of our BAFE registered engineers.

All of our extinguishers come with a 5 year guarantee, and we’ll fit and commission them for you for free.

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