In this article, we will be considering “What Kind of Fire Extinguisher is Best for Electrical Fires“?. This question will be be answered in the next paragraph.
What Kind of Fire Extinguisher is Best for Electrical Fires?
The ideal way to fight an electrical fire is with a Class C extinguisher. This type of extinguisher is also known as a “C” or “BC” extinguisher. A Class C extinguisher is designed to fight fires that involve live electrical equipment. This includes wiring and circuit breakers as well as electrical appliances.
A class C extinguisher typically contains a non-conductor agent (e.g. CO2 or dry chemical powder) that effectively smothers the flames and stops the chemical reaction in a fire that involves electrical equipment.
Common Types of Class C Fire Extinguishers
CO2 Fire Extinguisher: A Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguisher is filled with carbon dioxide gas that is not flammable under high pressure. CO2 extinguishers can be identified by their hard horn and absence of a pressure gauge. When using a CO2 fire extinguisher, the cylinder pressure is so high that pieces of dry ice can come out of the horn.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers work by reducing the amount of oxygen present in the fire triangle, or by removing the oxygen element. CO2 is also extremely cold as it exits the extinguisher. This cools down the fuel.
CO2 extinguishers are ideal for electrical fires because they do not leave any residue behind, and they won’t damage sensitive electrical equipment.
CO2 may not be effective in extinguishing a Class A fire because it may not remove enough oxygen to effectively put out the fire. Also, Class A materials can smolder and burn again. CO2 will often be found in labs, in mechanical rooms, in kitchens, and in flammable fluid storage areas. All CO2 extinguisher at USC are hydrostatic tested and recharged every five years.
Dry Chemical Powder: A Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher is the most common type used. A dry chemical extinguisher can also be used to put out a Class C fire. A dry chemical extinguisher contains a dry powder (generally sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate) that extinguishes an electrical fire by disrupting the chemical reactions. However, the use of a dry chemical extinguisher leaves a residue that can be damaging to electronic equipment. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the potential for collateral damage.