Water fire extinguishers are the market leaders and one of the most common fire extinguishers used in the market. They are widely used to extinguish the fire because we commonly encounter fire emergencies that are classified under class-A fires usually can be easily dealt with by a water extinguisher.
Them being widely and commonly used fire extinguishers do not make them the ideal fire extinguisher for all classes of fires. And in this article, we will discuss when and where to use the water extinguishers.
How to Identify the Water Fire Extinguishers?
Well, fire extinguishers can be differentiated based on the color of the cylinder or the color band on the cylinder. Water fire extinguishers are all red cylinders and do not have any color band.
When to Use Water Fire Extinguishers?
As mentioned above, water fire extinguishers are used to put out fires caused by flammable solid materials such as wood, paper, plastic, textile. These flammable solid materials are categorized under class-A fires.
Class-A fires are usually encountered in offices, homes, warehouses, textile factories, storage houses, etc. water fire extinguishers are safe to use with domestic fires such as the ones caused in study rooms, bedrooms, or living rooms.
However, water fire extinguishers can cause more harm than good when getting in contact with electricity or electrical appliances. Water is a good conductor of electricity, and if you spray water extinguishers on an electrical appliance you might cause some extreme damage to your life and property.
Working of Water Extinguishers
Fire is based on three main components or elements: if any one of the elements is eradicated, the chemical reaction breaks and the fire can no longer survive.
These three main components are oxygen, fuel, and heat. Depriving the fire of oxygen, limiting the fuel supply, or cooling down the heat, either can help you to kill the fire flames and wipe the fire out of existence.
Water fire extinguishers are made of cylinders that have highly pressurized water droplets that are sprayed on the fire to cool down the flames and kill them ultimately, putting off the fire.
How to Use the Water Fire Extinguishers?
Water fire extinguishers are not difficult to know, but there is a protocol that you need to follow to correctly use the apparatus. Everyone in the building should know how to operate or use the fire extinguisher so that the emergency can be contained as soon as possible without waiting for the fire department or firefighters to come and do the work for you. (Yeah, if the fire gets wild, you should probably choose not to go too close to it and wait for the fire department.)
There are four steps that you need to follow to operate the water fire extinguisher or any other fire extinguisher. The PASS technique is universal and is applied in the same way for all kinds of handheld portable fire extinguishers.
Start by pulling the pin on the fire extinguisher.
The second step I to aim your fire extinguisher directly at the fire flames.
The third step says that you have to squeeze the handle of your fire extinguisher.
The fourth and final step is to sweep the fire extinguisher from left to right to put out the fire from its origin and limiting it from spreading.
Advantages of Water Fire Extinguishers
ü Water fire extinguishers are very cost-friendly as they can be refilled and are cheap as compared to other fire extinguishers.
ü Water fire extinguishers can cool the area way faster than other methods, and thus, the fire can be contained easily and speedily. In this way, the fire gets no chance to spread, and there is little loss to the lives as well as the property.
ü Water fire extinguisher cylinder contains water and air only, so it is very safe for both the user and the environment.
ü There is little to no need for cleanup after using the water fire extinguishers.
Disadvantages of Water Fire Extinguisher
ü Although water fire extinguishers are commonly used they can only put out the fire caused by flammable liquids (wood, paper, textile, and plastic)
ü When coming in contact with electricity and electrical appliances, there are chances of some extreme damage to the user or the property.
ü As plain water and the air are used in the water fire extinguishers, so in low temperatures, there are great chances that the water in the cylinder might freeze.
ü Water fire extinguishers are not safe to use with fires caused by flammable liquids such as petrol, gasoline, vegetable, and fatty oils. Which means that a water fire extinguisher should not be used for kitchen fires caused by oils.
There are no, as such, disadvantages of water fire extinguishers, it is just that they don’t go with all the classes of the fire!