Posted on: 3 June 2016
In order to keep your employees and your office premises safe, you should have at least one fire extinguisher on site. There are a number of different types of fire extinguishers available, so which variety should you choose? Read on for some helpful advice.
Office fire risk
Most office environments are heavily populated with computers, printers, photocopiers and the like, making the premises most at risk from fires originating in faulty electrical equipment. Some offices also have kitchens for staff use, and these may contain electrical appliances such as cookers, refrigerators, microwaves, and kettles.
Which fire extinguisher?
The only device suitable for tackling fires involving electrical equipment is a CO2 (carbon dioxide) fire extinguisher. CO2 extinguishers can also be used to put out secondary blazes involving other flammable office items.
CO2 fire extinguishers are easily recognised by their bright red colour and distinctive black, trumpet-shaped nozzle and hose. CO2 extinguishers come in various sizes and may be wall-mounted or can be stored on the floor in sturdy cases. All extinguishers are clearly labelled with operating instructions and must be serviced annually to maintain their efficacy.
How CO2 fire extinguishers work
CO2 extinguishers contain highly pressurised carbon dioxide gas stored in its liquid form.
To operate the extinguisher, the user directs the diffuser (trumpet) at the fire whilst holding the hose and depresses a prominent lever attached to the device. When the lever is pushed down, the pressure inside the extinguisher is released, causing the CO2 liquid to expand back into a gas. The gas quickly cools the surrounding air and cuts off the supply of oxygen, effectively removing the fire's fuel supply and putting it out.
CO2 extinguishers can be safely used on electrical fires and live wiring because the gas is dry and non-conductive. This means that electricity cannot travel via contact with the gas as it could if you sprayed water on it, so there is no danger of electric shock injury to the user. In addition, unlike foam, water, and powder extinguishers CO2 does not leave any messy residue behind, meaning that equipment adjacent to the fire should remain undamaged and in working order.
In order to keep your business safe, you should have a suitable fire extinguisher on site and in an easily accessible position. For more advice on which extinguishers would be most suitable for your premises, have a chat with your local fire safety and appliance services contractor.Share