CO2 Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers
A carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguisher, identifiable in the United Kingdom by a black colour code, is ideal for tackling fires involving live electrical equipment, unlike the more common water extinguishers which are likely to make an electrical fire worse or create new fires from the sparking caused by water coming into contact with live electrical wiring. It works by replacing the oxygen which surrounds the fire with carbon dioxide gas which deprives the fire of oxygen so that it cannot burn. It does not however remove the heat element of the fire triangle and so care must be taken to ensure that the fire does not reignite, as well as keeping in mind that surfaces will still be hot even when the fire has been put out so there is still a danger of burns to the skin.
Suitable fire safety training courses such as the NEBOSH Fire Certificate will teach delegates a wealth of information including the correct type of fire extinguisher to use depending upon the type of fire or the material that is burning. Many other health and safety courses which are not specifically devoted to fire will still cover fire risks and fire safety due to the commonality of the potential for fire in all places of work, such as the NEBOSH General Certificate, CITB SMSTS courses and IOSH Managing Safely courses. It is also important that people read and familiarise themselves with the instructions on fire extinguishers BEFORE a fire starts, as trying to figure them out whilst a fire continues to grow is not the ideal environment and may let it get out of control.
Paradoxically, in contrast to the burning there is also a danger to a person from cooling as the carbon dioxide gas coming out of the CO2 extinguisher can freeze the skin. Care must be taken not to direct the gas onto exposed skin or hold onto the nozzle as the fire extinguisher is being operated.
CO2 extinguishers are only capable of lasting for a relatively short period of time which can limit their effectiveness in tackling fires. The fact that it is gas coming out can also mean it may be difficult to operate outdoors in windy conditions as it will be hard to direct the gas properly onto the fire.
Also Consider... Online Fire Extinguisher Training Courses
Whilst online courses are a poor way to try and study and learn all of the information required of a large qualification like a NEBOSH Fire Certificate for example, they are perfect for short courses on specific topics.
Our online Fire Extinguisher course provides an introduction to the various types of fire extinguishers and the situations in which each should be used. For more information on this course, please click here.