The CO2 fire extinguisher – all you need to know

The CO2 fire extinguisher is the extinguisher of choice for electrical fires.

Lets explain all you need to know in our simple guide.

fire extinguisher colours CO2 fire extinguisher 209x300 1 RFC Fire And Security Systems Development Site

Summary:
The CO2 fire extinguisher is primarily used for electrical fires and is very often paired with the foam fire extinguisher.

The C02 fire extinguisher is also known as:

  • The Carbon dioxide fire extinguisher

The CO2 fire extinguisher uses:

  • Fires that involve equipment such as computers, or generators (‘electrical’ fires)
  • Fires That involve some flammable liquids, such as petrol, diesel, and paint (‘class B’ fires)

Do not use the CO2 extinguisher for:

  • Cooking fires involving oil and grease, such as chip pan fires (‘class F’ fires)

How to identify the CO2 fire extinguisher:

  • BLACK coloured label stating ‘CO2’
  • The nozzle ends in a distinctive black ‘horn’
  • Should be identified by an extinguisher ID sign fixed nearby – ‘CO2 Extinguisher’

Sizes of CO2 fire extinguisher available:

  • 2 kg (most commonly used)
  • 5 kg

How the CO2 fire extinguisher work:

The CO2 fire extinguisher discharge's CO2 gas, also known as carbon dioxide. This is stored in the extinguisher as liquid, and the gas is generated under pressure when the handle of the extinguisher is squeezed.

This causes the CO2 gas to emerge at a great speed, which is why CO2 fire extinguishers are not recommended for chip pan fires – they would very easily blast the flames into surrounding areas.

Unlike water and foam extinguishers, CO2 fire extinguishers do not work by cooling the fire and so are ineffective on fires involving flammable solids.

Instead, the CO2 extinguisher work's by replacing the oxygen surrounding the flames with carbon dioxide, meaning the fire can no longer burn.

The pros and the Cons of CO2 fire extinguishers:
Pros: extremely effective on electrical fires; they do not leave any residue behind when they are used.

The cons: It is less environmentally friendly than the other types of fire extinguishers; they replace the oxygen in the air with CO2 so the  risk of asphyxiation if used in confined spaces.Please see the following link for a full article explaining the correct use of fire extinguishers in confined spaces.

Who would need a CO2 fire extinguisher?:

The CO2 fire extinguisher should be standard  for premises with live electrical fire risk, such as:

  • Offices
  • Shops
  • Schools
  • Hospitals

The CO2 fire extinguisher is particularly suitable for offices where there is a lot of electrical office equipment. The Pairs of CO2 and Foam extinguishers are very often recommended for this type of environment, as this covers the vast majority of fire risks likely to be found in these type of premises.

Read more about the different types of fire extinguisher.

Learn what the different extinguisher colours signify.

If you think you need CO2 fire extinguishers, or you’re not exactly sure what you need, please get in touch with our friendly team by calling +353 (0)1 839 5116

How to use the CO2 fire extinguisher:

foam fire extinguisher how to remove safety pin RFC Fire And Security Systems Development Site
Removing a safety pin

Use the CO2 fire extinguisher carefully, avoiding holding the extinguisher by the horn.

Remember – don’t use the CO2 fire extinguisher in a confined space.

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

Using the C02 fire extinguisher:

  • Always Aim the horn at the base of the fire and move the jet of CO2 back and forward
  • Electrical fires: Always make sure to Switch off the electrical item if it is safe to do so
  • Liquid fires: Make sure to take care not to splash the burning liquid onto nearby areas

All of our extinguishers come with a guarantee to meet Irish standard I.S.291:2013 and we’ll fit and commission them for you for you.

Contact us today for a free site survey. +353 (0)1 839 5116

So if you are interested in your home security, business security, fire/intruder alarms, safety systems, emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, access control, CCTV systems maintenance contracts serviced by a one stop solution service provider, with one point of contact, one invoice, get in touch now.

Get in touch with us today and one of our friendly, knowledgeable team members will discuss your project and outline how we can help secure your business premises or home.