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Types of Fire Extinguishers – Health and Safety Revision

By on July 3, 2017 in CSCS Test Revision Material with 6 Comments

There are various types of fire extinguishers colours ranging from water to wet chemicals; every fire extinguisher has its own class and suitable function which many do not seem to realise. There various classes of fires from A to F each which their own properties. This leads to some fire extinguishers to be suitable for certain types of fires that may occur. It is important for the CSCS test to know your Extinguishers and be up to date of fire safety and know the type of fire you will fight.

Fire Extinguisher Colour Coding

  • Carbon dioxide (co2) – Black
  • Water – Red
  • Dry powder – Blue
  • Foam – Cream
  • Wet Chemical – Yellow

Different Fire Extinguisher Types And Their Uses

Water Fire Extinguishers

  Water Fire Extinguishers, perfect for extinguishing combustible materials such as wood, paper and textile etc. They don’t contain any damaging chemicals and coincide with the environment. They work by cooling the fire and reducing its temperature below the critical rate necessary for sustaining the fire. However, because they are water extinguishers, they can conduct electricity and cannot be used around any live electrical equipment or circuitry. A large disadvantage is that water extinguishers can only be used in class A fires which are wood and paper etc. If used on any other class fires it can cause harm to the user and make the fire worse.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

AFF Foam fire extinguishers are used for class B fires involving oil spills and other liquid spill orientated fires. AFF Extinguishers also have a high-class A fire compatibility which makes them very effective. Also due to their light weight counterparts makes them perfect for office use. They work by spraying a film of foam over the fire suffocating it and preventing re-ignition. They also feature the same cooling qualities as water extinguishers.

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

CO2 fire Extinguishers, essential for use on electrical fires as they are safe for electrical appliances and do not leave any residue. These extinguishers work by displacing the oxygen suffocating it to prevent combustion. They also work well with class B fires involving liquids. However, they do not cool the fire effectively and sometimes reigniting may occur.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

ABC Dry Powder fire Extinguishers are useful in many fires and are excellent all round fire protection. Powder fire extinguishers are the only extinguishers compatible with class C gas orientated fires. These extinguishers work by fusing ammonium phosphate with ammonium sulphate to form a barrier that suffocates and prevents re-ignition of the fire. Ultimately destroying the fire, Although the powder may also cause irritation to the skin, eyes and may cause a breathing discomfort when you come in contact with the powder. They also leave a large widespread of a powder residue making it a nuisance for small fires. When using this extinguisher, it is best to stay out of contact with the produce.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Wet Chemical fire Extinguishers are particularly designed for kitchen appliance fires involving oils and fat such as deep fat fryers. It is recommended that users be trained in the use of this extinguisher to achieve full results. The extinguisher applies cooling foam over the burning oil. This cooling foam sprays as a fine mist which extinguishes the fire and prevents re-ignition.

Types of Fire Classes and Materials

  • Class A Fires – Solid materials – wood, paper, plastic etc
  • Class B Fires – Flammable liquids – oil, petrol etc
  • Class C Fires – Flammable gases – propane, butane etc
  • Class D Fires – Metals – titanium, aluminium etc
  • Class F Fires – Cooking oils and fats Electrical Fires – Live electrical equipment

Fire extinguishers Types

  • Foam Extinguishers
  • Water Extinguishers
  • Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers
  • CO2 Extinguishers
  • Wet Chemical Extinguishers


All of the above type of extinguisher have directions to follow, so it is always good to familiarise yourselves with these instructions in advance to prevent a fire properly.

We have other topics for you to use in helping with your CSCS Revision. We have also prepared a fire extinguishers CSCS mock test for you to test your new knowledge on.

There Are 6 Comments Below

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  1. Alfonzo Kolesar says:

    I wish I could come up with something profound to say, but wow is the only word that comes to mind after reading your article.

    • Michael says:

      Some great resources on this website that really helped me get my card, thank you for providing these for free.

  2. Andrew Murphy says:

    Great article about the different types of fire extinguishers available

  3. Steve D says:

    your are told that incase of fire, you should stop imediatly and go straight to the assembly point, unless you are a trained fire marshall. So why does everyone have to learn about the fire extinguishers. I have been a bricklayer for 36 years. I now have to keep paying every 5 years to prove i am competant. The fire extinguishers often change and are often the failure point for people failing their CSCS test.

    • admin says:

      It is still better to know than not know. One time you might not have a choice not to use one and it will be best to know which one to use.

  4. Richard Tandy says:

    great info thanks