Carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless, and non-toxic gas that has non-flammable properties. CO2 extinguishers are an important part of fire safety. These CO2 extinguishers can extinguish flammable liquid fires quickly and easily.
Purpose of the CO2 fire extinguisher:
Carbon dioxide extinguishers are aimed at preventing the combustion of flammable liquids and electric fires, however, they are not suitable for use on flammable solids, flammable gases, or cooking fat fires.
Carbon dioxide extinguishers are used in a variety of settings, including kitchens, restaurants, and public and private buildings, to extinguish fires. Carbon dioxide, on its own, will not put out a fire. The action is to absorb oxygen in the air, which can provide enough oxygen to burn fuel in a fire. The fire, in turn, needs oxygen to burn. This will slow the rate of the fire’s burning, and limit it.
The advantage of carbon dioxide extinguishers is that they are safe for use in kitchens, restaurants, and pubs. They can be used when working with flammable substances such as cleaning products, paint, oil, gas, and petrol.
Types of CO2 fire extinguishers:
There are many different types of CO2 extinguishers available. They are all rated according to how much they put off a fire. The extinguishers come in different sizes and different shapes.
Large capacity: These are usually large-sized extinguishers and are generally used in restaurants.
Medium capacity: These are used in other areas such as warehouses, factories, shops, and offices.
Miniature extinguishers: These are also used in other areas. They are used in smaller areas, such as homes and cars.
Steps involved in using a CO2 fire extinguisher:
When using a CO2 fire extinguisher, use the PASS technique.
Pull: Pull the safety tag at the top of the extinguisher to break the seal.
Aim: Be at least 1.8 meter away from the fire and Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze: Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep: Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side
Note: If the fire is spreading too quickly, you may need to repeat steps 4 and 5.
Benefits of CO2 extinguishers:
- CO2 extinguishers are an important part of fire safety. It helps to reduce the possibility of a fire spreading in your workplace and at home.
- When a CO2 fire extinguisher is used to fight a fire, it creates an area of safety in the room as the CO2 extinguisher pushes the fire back and allows the room to cool down. The cooled area will be the most resistant to burning.
- These extinguishers can extinguish fires involving burning liquids (Class B), and electrical fires quickly and easily.
- CO2 extinguishers can extinguish fires involving burning liquids (Class B) as well as electrical fires.
- Since CO2 extinguishers contain only pressurised carbon dioxide gas, they leave no residue after the fire.
- CO2 extinguishers are easy to use.
- When a CO2 fire extinguisher is properly maintained, it will work well for many years.
- Safe to use in kitchens, restaurants, public places etc.
Drawbacks or disadvantages of Co2 fire extinguishers:
- There are many fires that cannot be extinguished with a CO2 fire extinguisher.
- The primary danger of CO2 extinguishers is that they will cause discomfort in confined spaces. Since they are designed to deprive a fire of oxygen, they also reduce the amount of oxygen available for breathing in a confined space. This may result in breathing suffocation, rendering people in confined spaces unconscious.
- They are only suitable for use on fires involving burning liquids (Class B), and electrical fires and are ineffective on A, C, and F type fires.
- Choose a suitable extinguisher and understand how to use it, as improper use of extinguishers can be dangerous.
- Evacuate the place immediately if the extinguisher becomes empty and the fire still remains.
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