Foam Fire Extinguisher

Foam fire extinguishers are a reasonably popular type of portable fire-suppressant for multi-risk situations. They are normally used to tackle flammable solid fuel and liquid fires of Class A and Class B types – these are fires fuelled by wood, paper and textiles as well as flammable oils, petrols, spirits etc. Foam will also have some effect on Class C fires that involve liquefied gas. Typical foam fire extinguishers are also known as AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) or spray foam fire extinguishers, and are a water based synthetic foam, usually containing sodium alkyl sulfate.

These extinguishers are certainly more efficient than some other types, as the foam used is non-toxic, does no damage to most materials, is not expelled from the canister violently and prevents any re-ignition. Foam extinguishers work by quickly forming a blanket over the surface of the burning fuel, which cools and smothers the fire, preventing any oxygen from re-igniting.

Foam Fire ExtinguisherIt is common to see a foam extinguisher in both business use and in the home, as they are suitable for offices, boats, caravans, kitchens and similar premises. Fire fighting services also occasionally use foam as a fire-suppressant due to its efficiency at putting out larger scale fires. Foam fire extinguishers are equipped with a spray nozzle to direct the material across a wider area. Use of a foam extinguisher requires some skill, as in order to use it most effectively requires the user to aim the spray firstly at the rear of the fire and lay the foam across the surface.

A foam fire extinguisher is not suitable for usage on electrical fires. However, extra testing has proved that there is some protection offered to the user of a foam extinguisher in a situation where it is used accidently on an electrical fire. Despite this, foam extinguishers are not recommended for electrical fires as it is still possible for the operator to obtain an electric shock if they are positioned in a puddle and the electrical circuit does not short circuit.

What colour is a Foam Fire Extinguisher?

Foam fire extinguishers are colour coded red with a cream band across the top half of the canister which can be no larger than 5% of the size of the canister. This type of extinguisher can come in many sizes from 2 litres upwards, and due to the effectiveness of the contents, a 6 litre foam extinguisher has the same coverage as the equivalent of a traditional 9 litre water extinguisher. This reduction in size is part of this type of extinguisher’s popularity, as it makes the canister easier to handle and means it takes up less size. The canisters will be fitted with a nozzle with spray attachment, and the size of the nozzle will correspond to the size of canister.

Foam fire extinguishers should be wall mounted at about a metre high or if the wall cannot support the weight, should be fitted to a stand. The cream coloured labels must be easily visible in case of emergency in order to be used quickly by the operator. There must also be suitable signage mounted on the wall next to the extinguisher to mark clearly that this is a foam fire extinguisher situated there.

Category: Fire Extinguisher Types