Fire extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires, often in emergency situations. It is not intended for use on an out-of-control fire, such as one which has reached the ceiling, endangers the user (i.e., no escape route, smoke, explosion hazard, etc.), or otherwise requires the expertise of a fire brigade. Typically, a fire extinguisher consists of a hand-held cylindrical pressure vessel containing an agent which can be discharged to extinguish a fire. Fire extinguishers manufactured with non-cylindrical pressure vessels also exist but are less common.

ABC Fire Extinguisher
A stored-pressure fire extinguisher made by Oval Brand Fire Products
Fire extinguisher with ID sign, call point and fire action sign
A British fire extinguisher with ID sign, call point and fire action sign

There are two main types of fire extinguishers: stored-pressure and cartridge-operated. In stored pressure units, the expellant is stored in the same chamber as the firefighting agent itself. Depending on the agent used, different propellants are used. With dry chemical extinguishers, nitrogen is typically used; water and foam extinguishers typically use air. Stored pressure fire extinguishers are the most common type. Cartridge-operated extinguishers contain the expellant gas in a separate cartridge that is punctured prior to discharge, exposing the propellant to the extinguishing agent. This type is not as common, used primarily in areas such as industrial facilities, where they receive higher-than-average use. They have the advantage of simple and prompt recharge, allowing an operator to discharge the extinguisher, recharge it, and return to the fire in a reasonable amount of time. Unlike stored pressure types, these extinguishers use compressed carbon dioxide instead of nitrogen, although nitrogen cartridges are used on low temperature (-60 rated) models. Cartridge operated extinguishers are available in dry chemical and dry powder types in the U.S. and in water, wetting agent, foam, dry chemical (classes ABC and B.C.), and dry powder (class D) types in the rest of the world.

Wheeled fire extinguisher
Wheeled fire extinguisher and a sign inside a parking lot

Fire extinguishers are further divided into handheld and cart-mounted (also called wheeled extinguishers). Handheld extinguishers weigh from 0.5 to 14 kilograms (1.1 to 30.9 lb), and are hence, easily portable by hand. Cart-mounted units typically weigh more than 23 kilograms (51 lb). These wheeled models are most commonly found at construction sites, airport runways, heliports, as well as docks and marinas.

A stored-pressure fire extinguisher made by Amerex


Blythe House, Science Museum 14 - cut fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers in a museum storeroom, cut to display their inner workings.

Snohomish - Blackman House Museum - Comet fire extinguisher 02

A glass grenade-style extinguisher, to be thrown into a fire.

Childs soda-acid

A US copper building type soda-acid extinguisher.

Foam extinguisher

A US building-type chemical foam extinguisher with contents.

Pyrene apparatus type chemical foam, 1960s

Pyrene apparatus type chemical foam, 1960s

Carbon tetrachloride 1930s fire extinguisher

A Pyrene, brass, carbon tetrachloride extinguisher.

Pyrene 1 qt. pump-type chlorobromomethane (CB or CBM), 1960s, UK

National Methyl Bromide extinguisher

National Methyl Bromide extinguishers, UK, 1930s–40s.

Walter Kidde 7.5lb. CO2 fire extinguisher made for Bell Telephone, 1928

Bell Telephone CO2 extinguisher made by Walter Kidde, 1928.

Du Gas dry chemical fire extinguisher, 1945

Du Gas cartridge-operated dry chemical extinguisher, 1945.

Met-L-X fire extinguisher, 1950s

Ansul Met-L-X cartridge-operated dry powder fire extinguisher for class D fires, 1950s.

The first fire extinguisher of which there is any record was patented in England in 1723 by Ambrose Godfrey, a celebrated chemist at that time. It consisted of a cask of fire-extinguishing liquid containing a pewter chamber of gunpowder. This was connected with a system of fuses which were ignited, exploding the gunpowder and scattering the solution. This device was probably used to a limited extent, as Bradley's Weekly Messenger for November 7, 1729, refers to its efficiency in stopping a fire in London.

The modern dry powder fire extinguisher was invented by British Captain George William Manby in 1818; it consisted of a copper vessel of 3 gallons (13.6 liters) of pearl ash (potassium carbonate) solution contained within compressed air.

The soda-acid extinguisher was first patented in 1866 by Francois Carlier of France, which mixed a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate with tartaric acid, producing the propellant CO2 gas. A soda-acid extinguisher was patented in the U.S. in 1881 by Almon M. Granger. His extinguisher used the reaction between sodium bicarbonate solution and sulfuric acid to expel pressurized water onto a fire.[1] A vial of concentrated sulfuric acid was suspended in the cylinder. Depending on the type of extinguisher, the vial of acid could be broken in one of two ways. One used a plunger to break the acid vial, while the second released a lead stopple that held the vial closed. Once the acid was mixed with the bicarbonate solution, carbon dioxide gas was expelled and thereby pressurized the water. The pressurized water was forced from the canister through a nozzle or short length of hose.[2]

The cartridge-operated extinguisher was invented by Read & Campbell of England in 1881, which used water or water-based solutions. They later invented a carbon tetrachloride model called the "Petrolex" which was marketed toward automotive use.[3]

The chemical foam extinguisher was invented in 1904 by Aleksandr Loran in Russia, based on his previous invention of fire fighting foam. Loran first used it to extinguish a pan of burning naphtha.[4] It worked and looked similar to the soda-acid type, but the inner parts were slightly different. The main tank contained a solution of sodium bicarbonate in water, whilst the inner container (somewhat larger than the equivalent in a soda-acid unit) contained a solution of aluminium sulphate. When the solutions were mixed, usually by inverting the unit, the two liquids reacted to create a frothy foam, and carbon dioxide gas. The gas expelled the foam in the form of a jet. Although liquorice-root extracts and similar compounds were used as additives (stabilizing the foam by reinforcing the bubble-walls), there was no "foam compound" in these units. The foam was a combination of the products of the chemical reactions: sodium and aluminium salt-gels inflated by the carbon dioxide. Because of this, the foam was discharged directly from the unit, with no need for an aspirating branchpipe (as in newer mechanical foam types). Special versions were made for rough service, and vehicle mounting, known as apparatus of fire department types. Key features were a screw-down stopper that kept the liquids from mixing until it was manually opened, carrying straps, a longer hose, and a shut-off nozzle. Fire department types were often private label versions of major brands, sold by apparatus manufacturers to match their vehicles. Examples are Pirsch, Ward LaFrance, Mack, Seagrave, etc. These types are some of the most collectable extinguishers as they cross into both the apparatus restoration and fire extinguisher areas of interest.

In 1910, The Pyrene Manufacturing Company of Delaware filed a patent for using carbon tetrachloride (CTC, or CCl4) to extinguish fires.[5] The liquid vaporized and extinguished the flames by inhibiting the chemical chain reaction of the combustion process (it was an early 20th-century presupposition that the fire suppression ability of carbon tetrachloride relied on oxygen removal). In 1911, they patented a small, portable extinguisher that used the chemical.[6] This consisted of a brass or chrome container with an integrated handpump, which was used to expel a jet of liquid towards the fire. It was usually of 1 imperial quart (1.1 l) or 1 imperial pint (0.57 l) capacity but was also available in up to 2 imperial gallons (9.1 l) size. As the container was unpressurized, it could be refilled after use through a filling plug with a fresh supply of CTC.[7]

Another type of carbon tetrachloride extinguisher was the fire grenade. This consisted of a glass sphere filled with CTC, that was intended to be hurled at the base of a fire (early ones used salt-water, but CTC was more effective). Carbon tetrachloride was suitable for liquid and electrical fires and the extinguishers were fitted to motor vehicles. Carbon tetrachloride extinguishers were withdrawn in the 1950s because of the chemical's toxicity – exposure to high concentrations damages the nervous system and internal organs. Additionally, when used on a fire, the heat can convert CTC to phosgene gas,[8] formerly used as a chemical weapon.

The carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguisher was invented (at least in the US) by the Walter Kidde Company in 1924 in response to Bell Telephone's request for an electrically non-conductive chemical for extinguishing the previously difficult-to-extinguish fires in telephone switchboards. It consisted of a tall metal cylinder containing 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg) of CO2 with a wheel valve and a woven brass, cotton covered hose, with a composite funnel-like horn as a nozzle.[9] CO2 is still popular today as it is an ozone-friendly clean agent and is used heavily in film and television production to extinguish burning stuntmen.[10] Carbon dioxide extinguishes fire mainly by displacing oxygen. It was once thought that it worked by cooling, although this effect on most fires is negligible.

In 1928, DuGas (later bought by ANSUL) came out with a cartridge-operated dry chemical extinguisher, which used sodium bicarbonate specially treated with chemicals to render it free-flowing and moisture-resistant.[11][12] It consisted of a copper cylinder with an internal CO2cartridge. The operator turned a wheel valve on top to puncture the cartridge and squeezed a lever on the valve at the end of the hose to discharge the chemical. This was the first agent available for large-scale three-dimensional liquid and pressurized gas fires, and was but remained largely a specialty type until the 1950s, when small dry chemical units were marketed for home use. ABC dry chemical came over from Europe in the 1950s, with Super-K being invented in the early 60s and Purple-K being developed by the US Navy in the late 1960s. Manually applied dry agents such as graphite for class D (metal) fires had existed since WWII, but it wasn't until 1949 that Ansul introduced a pressurized extinguisher using an external CO2 cartridge to discharge the agent. Met-L-X (sodium chloride) was the first extinguisher developed in the US, with graphite, copper, and several other types being developed later.

In the 1940s, Germany invented the liquid chlorobromomethane (CBM) for use in aircraft. It was more effective and slightly less toxic than carbon tetrachloride and was used until 1969. Methyl bromide was discovered as an extinguishing agent in the 1920s and was used extensively in Europe. It is a low-pressure gas that works by inhibiting the chain reaction of the fire and is the most toxic of the vaporizing liquids, used until the 1960s. The vapor and combustion by-products of all vaporizing liquids were highly toxic and could cause death in confined spaces.

In the 1970s, Halon 1211 came over to the United States from Europe where it had been used since the late 40s or early 50s. Halon 1301 had been developed by DuPont and the US Army in 1954. Both 1211 and 1301 work by inhibiting the chain reaction of the fire, and in the case of Halon 1211, cooling class A fuels as well. Halon is still in use today but is falling out of favor for many uses due to its environmental impact. Europe and Australia have severely restricted its use, since the Montreal Protocol of 1987. Less severe restrictions have been implemented in the United States, the Middle East, and Asia.[13][14]


Internationally there are several accepted classification methods for hand-held fire extinguisher. Each classification is useful in fighting fires with a particular group of fuel.

Australia and New Zealand

Specifications for fire extinguishers are set out in the standard AS/NZS 1841, the most recent version being released in 2007. All fire extinguishers must be painted signal red. Except for water extinguishers, each extinguisher has a coloured band near the top, covering at least 10% of the extinguisher's body length, specifying its contents.

Type Band colour Fire classes (brackets denote sometimes applicable)
Water Signal red A
Wet chemical Oatmeal A F
Foam Ultramarine blue A B
Dry chemical White A B C E
Dry powder (metal fires) Lime green D
Carbon dioxide Black (A) B E
Vaporizing liquid (non-halon clean agents) Golden yellow A B C E
Halon No longer produced A B E

In Australia, yellow (Halon) fire extinguishers are illegal to own or use on a fire, unless an essential use exemption has been granted, this is due to the ozone-depleting nature of halon.[15]

United Kingdom

Typical United Kingdom CO2 and water fire extinguishers

According to the standard BS EN 3, fire extinguishers in the United Kingdom as all throughout Europe are red RAL 3000, and a band or circle of a second color covering between 5–10% of the surface area of the extinguisher indicates the contents. Before 1997, the entire body of the fire extinguisher was color coded according to the type of extinguishing agent.

The UK recognises six fire classes:[16]

  • Class A fires involve organic solids such as paper and wood.
  • Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids, including petrol, grease, and oil.
  • Class C fires involve flammable gases.
  • Class D fires involve combustible metals.
  • Class E fires involve electrical equipment/appliances.
  • Class F fires involve cooking fat and oil.

Class E has been discontinued, but covered fires involving electrical appliances. This is no longer used on the basis that, when the power supply is turned off, an electrical fire can fall into any of the remaining five categories.

Type Old code BS EN 3 colour code Fire classes
(brackets denote sometimes applicable)[17]
Water Signal red Signal red A
Foam Cream Red with a cream panel above the operating instructions A B
Dry powder French blue Red with a blue panel above the operating instructions (A) B C E
Carbon dioxide, CO2 Black Red with a black panel above the operating instructions B E
Wet chemical N/A Red with a canary yellow panel above the operating instructions A (B) F
Class D powder French blue Red with a blue panel above the operating instructions D
Halon 1211/BCF Emerald green No longer in general use A B E

In the UK the use of Halon gas is now prohibited except under certain situations such as on aircraft and in the military and police.[18]

Fire extinguishing performance per fire class is displayed using numbers and letters such as 13A, 55B.

EN3 does not recognise a separate electrical class - however there is an additional feature requiring special testing (35 kV dielectric test per EN 3-7:2004). A powder or CO2 extinguisher will bear an electrical pictogramme as standard signifying that it can be used on live electrical fires (given the symbol E in the table). If a water-based extinguisher has passed the 35 kV test it will also bear the same electrical pictogramme – however, any water-based extinguisher is only recommended for inadvertent use on electrical fires.

United States

There is no official standard in the United States for the color of fire extinguishers, though they are typically red, except for class D extinguishers which are usually yellow, water and Class K wet chemical extinguishers which are usually silver, and water mist extinguishers which are usually white. Extinguishers are marked with pictograms depicting the types of fires that the extinguisher is approved to fight. In the past, extinguishers were marked with colored geometric symbols, and some extinguishers still use both symbols. The types of fires and additional standards are described in NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, 2013 edition.

Fire class Geometric symbol Pictogram Intended use Mnemonic
A Class A fire triangle Fire type A Ordinary solid combustibles A for "Ash"
B Class B fire square Fire type B Flammable liquids and gases B for "Barrel"
C Class C fire circle Class C fire icon Energized electrical equipment C for "Current"
D Class D fire icon Class D metal fire icon Combustible metals D for "Dynamite"
K Class K fire hexagon Class K fire icon Oils and fats K for "Kitchen"

Fire extinguishing capacity is rated in accordance with ANSI/UL 711: Rating and Fire Testing of Fire Extinguishers. The ratings are described using numbers preceding the class letter, such as 1-A:10-B:C. The number preceding the A multiplied by 1.25 gives the equivalent extinguishing capability in gallons of water. The number preceding the B indicates the size of fire in square feet that an ordinary user should be able to extinguish. There is no additional rating for class C, as it only indicates that the extinguishing agent will not conduct electricity, and an extinguisher will never have a rating of just C.

Comparison of fire classes
American European UK Australian/Asian Fuel/heat source
Class A Class A Class A Class A Ordinary combustibles
Class B Class B Class B Class B Flammable liquids
Class C Class C Class C Flammable gases
Class C Unclassified Unclassified Class E Electrical equipment
Class D Class D Class D Class D Combustible metals
Class K Class F Class F Class F Cooking oil or fat


Fire extinguisher in car
A fire extinguisher fitted to the passenger seat of a car

Fire extinguishers are typically fitted in buildings at an easily accessible location, such as against a wall in a high-traffic area. They are also often fitted to motor vehicles, watercraft, and aircraft - this is required by law in many jurisdictions, for identified classes of vehicles. Under NFPA 10 all commercial vehicles must carry at least one fire extinguisher, with size/UL rating depending on type of vehicle and cargo (i.e., fuel tankers typically must have a 20 lb (9.1 kg), while most others can carry a 5 lb (2.3 kg)). The revised NFPA 10 created criteria on the placement of "fast flow extinguishers" in locations such as those storing and transporting pressurized flammable liquids and pressurized flammable gas or areas with possibility of three-dimensional class B hazards are required to have "fast flow extinguishers" as required by NFPA Varying classes of competition vehicles require fire extinguishing systems, the simplest requirements being a 1A:10BC hand-held portable extinguisher mounted to the interior of the vehicle.

Fire extinguisher trolley (167818050)
A dedicated trolley loaded with extinguishers ready to move where needed for rapid use.

The height limit for installation, as determined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is 60 in (1.5 m) for fire extinguishers weighing less than 40 lb (18 kg). However, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also needs to be followed within the United States. The ADA height limit of the fire extinguisher, as measured at the handle, is 48 in (1.2 m). Fire extinguisher installations are also limited to protruding no more than 4 inches into the adjacent path of travel. The ADA rule states that any object adjacent to a path of travel cannot project more than 4 in (10 cm) if the object's bottom leading edge is higher than 27 in (0.69 m). The 4-inch protrusion rule was designed to protect people with low-vision and those who are blind. The height limit rule of 48 inches is primarily related to access by people with wheelchairs but it is also related to other disabilities as well. Prior to 2012, the height limit was 54 in (1.4 m) for side-reach by wheelchair-accessible installations. Installations made prior to 2012 at the 54-inch height are not required to be changed.

In New Zealand, the mandatory installation of fire extinguishers in vehicles is limited to self-propelled plant in agriculture and arboriculture, passenger service vehicles with more than 12 seats and vehicles that carry flammable goods.[19] NZ Transport Agency recommends[20] that all company vehicles carry a fire extinguisher, including passenger cars.

Types of extinguishing agents

Dry chemical


A small, disposable sodium bicarbonate dry chemical unit intended for home kitchen use.


A typical dry chemical extinguisher containing 5 lb (2.3 kg). of monoammonium phosphate dry chemical.

Fire Extinguisher PKP Purple K

A 10 lb (4.5 kg) stored pressure purple-K fire extinguisher

Potassium bicarbonate purple-K

An 18 lb (8.2 kg) US Navy cartridge-operated purple-K dry chemical (potassium bicarbonate) extinguisher.

Super-K Dry Chemical extinguishers

Two Super-K (potassium chloride) extinguishers.

Met-L-Kyl Fire Extinguisher

Met-L-Kyl cartridge-operated fire extinguisher for pyrophoric liquid fires.

This is a powder-based agent that extinguishes by separating the four parts of the fire tetrahedron. It prevents the chemical reactions involving heat, fuel, and oxygen (combustion), thus extinguishing the fire. During combustion, the fuel breaks down into free radicals, which are highly reactive fragments of molecules that react with oxygen. The substances in dry chemical extinguishers can stop this process.

  • Monoammonium phosphate, also known as tri-class, multipurpose, or ABC dry chemical, used on class A, B and C fires. It receives its class A rating from the agent's ability to melt and flow at 177 °C (351 °F) to smother the fire. More corrosive than other dry chemical agents. Pale yellow in color.
  • Sodium bicarbonate, regular or ordinary used on class B and C fires, was the first of the dry chemical agents developed. In the heat of a fire, it releases a cloud of carbon dioxide that smothers the fire. That is, the gas drives oxygen away from the fire, thus stopping the chemical reaction. This agent is not generally effective on class A fires because the agent is expended and the cloud of gas dissipates quickly, and if the fuel is still sufficiently hot, the fire starts up again. While liquid and gas fires do not usually store much heat in their fuel source, solid fires do. Sodium bicarbonate was very common in commercial kitchens before the advent of wet chemical agents, but now is falling out of favor as it is much less effective than wet chemical agents for class K fires, less effective than Purple-K for class B fires, and is ineffective on class A fires. White or blue in color.
  • Potassium bicarbonate (principal constituent of Purple-K), used on class B and C fires. About two times as effective on class B fires as sodium bicarbonate, it is the preferred dry chemical agent of the oil and gas industry. The only dry chemical agent certified for use in ARFF by the NFPA. Colored violet to distinguish it.
  • Potassium bicarbonate & Urea Complex (AKA Monnex), used on class B and C fires. More effective than all other powders due to its ability to decrepitate (where the powder breaks up into smaller particles) in the flame zone creating a larger surface area for free radical inhibition. Grey in color.
  • Potassium chloride, or Super-K, dry chemical was developed in an effort to create a high efficiency, protein-foam compatible dry chemical. Developed in the 60s, prior to Purple-K, it was never as popular as other agents since, being a salt, it was quite corrosive. For B and C fires, white in color.
  • Foam-compatible, which is a sodium bicarbonate (BC) based dry chemical, was developed for use with protein foams for fighting class B fires. Most dry chemicals contain metal stearates to waterproof them, but these will tend to destroy the foam blanket created by protein (animal) based foams. Foam compatible type uses silicone as a waterproofing agent, which does not harm foam. Effectiveness is identical to regular dry chemical, and it is light green in color (some ANSUL brand formulations are blue). This agent is generally no longer used since most modern dry chemicals are considered compatible with synthetic foams such as AFFF.
  • MET-L-KYL / PYROKYL is a specialty variation of sodium bicarbonate for fighting pyrophoric (ignites on contact with air) liquid fires. In addition to sodium bicarbonate, it also contains silica gel particles. The sodium bicarbonate interrupts the chain reaction of the fuel and the silica soaks up any unburned fuel, preventing contact with air. It is effective on other class B fuels as well. Blue/red in color.


Early Light Water AFFF foam extinguisher

1970s Light Water AFFF foam fire extinguisher

Solid-Charge AFFF Fire Extinguisher, 1980s

Amerex Solid-Charge AFFF Fire Extinguisher, 1980s (Obsolete)


A 2.5 US gal (9.5 l) USCG-approved ​2 12-gallon AFFF foam fire extinguisher

Applied to fuel fires as either an aspirated (mixed and expanded with air in a branch pipe) or nonaspirated form to create a frothy blanket or seal over the fuel, preventing oxygen reaching it. Unlike powder, foam can be used to progressively extinguish fires without flashback.

  • Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), used on A and B fires and for vapor suppression. The most common type in portable foam extinguishers. AFFF was developed in the 1960s under Project Light Water in a joint venture between 3M and the U.S. Navy. AFFF forms a film that floats out before the foam blanket, sealing the surface and smothering the fire by excluding oxygen. AFFF is widely used for ARFF firefighting at airports, often in conjunction with purple-K dry chemical.It contains fluoro-tensides[21] which can be accumulated in the human body. The long-term effects of this on the human body and environment are unclear at this time. AFFF can be discharged through an air-aspirating branchpipe nozzle or a spray nozzle and is now produced only in pre-mix form, where the foam concentrate is stored mixed with water. In the past, as solid charge model was produced, where the AFFF concentrate was housed as a dry compound in an external, disposable cartridge in a specially designed nozzle. The extinguisher body was charged with plain water, and the discharge pressure mixed the foam concentrate with the water upon squeezing the lever. These extinguishers received double the rating of a pre-mix model (40-B instead of 20-B), but are now considered obsolete, as parts and refill cartridges have been discontinued by the manufacturer.
  • Alcohol-resistant aqueous film-forming foams (AR-AFFF), used on fuel fires containing alcohol. Forms a membrane between the fuel and the foam preventing the alcohol from breaking down the foam blanket.
  • Film-forming fluoroprotein (FFFP) contains naturally occurring proteins from animal by-products and synthetic film-forming agents to create a foam blanket that is more heat resistant than the strictly synthetic AFFF foams. FFFP works well on alcohol-based liquids and is used widely in motorsports. As of 2016, Amerex has discontinued production of FFFP, instead using AR-AFFF made by Solberg. Existing model 252 FFFP units can maintain their UL listing by using the new charge, but only the model 250 will be produced in the future.
  • Compressed air foam system (CAFS): The CAFS extinguisher (example: TRI-MAX Mini-CAF) differs from a standard stored-pressure premix foam extinguisher in that it operates at a higher pressure of 140 psi, aerates the foam with an attached compressed gas cylinder instead of an air-aspirating nozzle, and uses a drier foam solution with a higher concentrate-to-water ratio. Generally used to extend a water supply in wildland operations. Used on class A fires and with very dry foam on class B for vapor suppression. These are very expensive, special purpose extinguishers typically used by fire departments or other safety professionals.
  • Arctic Fire is a liquid fire extinguishing agent that emulsifies and cools heated materials more quickly than water or ordinary foam. It is used extensively in the steel industry. Effective on classes A, B, and D.
  • FireAde, a foaming agent that emulsifies burning liquids and renders them non-flammable. It is able to cool heated material and surfaces similar to CAFS. Used on A and B (said to be effective on some class D hazards, although not recommended due to the fact that fireade still contains amounts of water which will react with some metal fires).
  • Cold Fire, is an organic, eco-friendly wetting agent that works by cooling, and by encapsulating the hydrocarbon fuel, which prevents it from entering into the combustion reaction. Bulk Cold Fire is used in booster tanks and is acceptable for use in CAFS systems. Cold Fire is UL listed for A and B fires only, though the manufacturer claims it is effective on class D and "grease" fires, which implies class K capability. End users should be cautious about agents use on fires outside of their UL listing, despite sales claims. Aerosol versions are preferred by users for cars, boats, RVs, and kitchens. Used primarily by law enforcement, fire departments, EMS, and the racing industry across North America. Cold Fire offers Amerex equipment (converted 252 and 254 models) as well as imported equipment in smaller sizes.

Water types

Pump-Type Water Fire Extinguisher

General 2.5 gal. pump-type water fire extinguisher, 1960s, US

General water

Stored pressure water extinguisher

Loaded Stream Fire Extinguisher

Stored pressure loaded stream fire extinguisher

Water mist fire extinguisher

2.5 gallon water mist fire extinguisher for medical and MRI facilities

Wet chemical fire extinguisher

6-liter wet chemical fire extinguisher for use in commercial kitchens

Indian 5-gal. backpack pump tank for wildland firefighting

Indian 5-gal. backpack pump tank for wildland firefighting, US

Cools burning material. Very effective against fires in furniture, fabrics, etc. (including deep-seated fires), but can be safely used only in the absence of electricity.

  • Pump-Type water consists of a ​2 12- or 5-gallon non-pressurized metal or plastic container with a pump mounted to it, and a discharge hose and nozzle. Pump type water extinguishers are often used where freezing conditions may occur, as they can be economically freeze-protected with calcium chloride (except stainless steel models), such as barns, outbuildings and unheated warehouses. They are also useful where many, frequent spot fires may occur, such as during fire watch for hot work operations. They are dependent on the user's strength to produce a decent discharge stream for firefighting. Water and antifreeze are the most common, but loaded stream and foam designs were made in the past. Backpack models exist for wildland firefighting and may be solid material such as metal or fiberglass, or collapsible vinyl or rubber bags for ease of storage.
  • Air-pressurized water (APW) cools burning material by absorbing heat from burning material. Effective on class A fires, it has the advantage of being inexpensive, harmless, and relatively easy to clean up. In the United States, APW units contain 2.5 US gal (9.5 l) of water in a tall, stainless steel cylinder. In Europe, they are typically mild steel, lined with polyethylene, painted red and contain 6–9 l (1.6–2.4 US gal) of water.
  • Water mist (WM) uses a fine misting nozzle to break up a stream of de-ionized (distilled) water to the point of not conducting electricity back to the operator. Class A and C rated. It is used widely in hospitals and MRI facilities because it is both completely non-toxic and does not cause cardiac sensitization like some gaseous clean agents. These extinguishers come in 1-3/4 and 2-1/2 gallon sizes, painted white in the United States. Models used in MRI facilities are non-magnetic and are safe for use inside the room that the MRI machine is operating. Models available in Europe come in smaller sizes as well, and some even carry a Class F rating for commercial kitchens, essentially using steam to smother the fire and the water content to cool the oil.

Wet chemical and water additives

Wet chemical (potassium acetate, potassium carbonate, or potassium citrate) extinguishes the fire by forming an air-excluding soapy foam blanket over the burning oil through the chemical process of saponification (an alkali reacting with a fat to form a soap) and by the water content cooling the oil below its ignition temperature. Generally, class A and K (F in Europe) only, although older models also achieved class B and C fire-fighting capability in the past, current models are rated A:K (Amerex, Ansul, Buckeye and Strike First) or K only (Badger/Kidde).

  • Wetting agents: Detergent based additives used to break the surface tension of water and improve penetration of class A fires.
  • Antifreeze chemicals added to water to lower its freezing point to about −40 °F (−40 °C). Has no appreciable effect on extinguishing performance. Can be glycol based or loaded stream, see below.
  • Loaded Stream An alkali metal salt solution added to water to lower its freezing point to about −40 °F (−40 °C). Loaded stream is basically concentrated wet chemical, discharged through a straight stream nozzle, intended for class A fires. In addition to lowering the freezing point of the water, loaded stream also increases penetration into dense class A materials, and will give a slight class B rating (rated 1-B in the past), though current loaded stream extinguishers are rated only 2-A. Loaded Stream is very corrosive; extinguishers containing this agent must be recharged annually to check for corrosion.

Halons, Halon-replacement clean agents and carbon dioxide

10lb. CO2 Fire Extinguisher

Amerex 10lb. CO2 Fire Extinguisher, Circa 1989, US

Halon 1211 Fire Extinguisher

Halon 1211 Fire Extinguisher

Halon 1301 Fire Extinguisher

Halotron-1 fire extinguisher

5lb. Halotron-1 fire extinguisher

FE-36 Cleanguard fire extinguisher

FE-36 Cleanguard fire extinguisher

Clean agents extinguish fire by displacing oxygen (CO2 or inert gases), removing heat from the combustion zone (Halotron-1, FE-36, Novec 1230) or inhibiting the chemical chain reaction (Halons). They are referred to as clean agents because they do not leave any residue after discharge which is ideal for protecting sensitive electronics, aircraft, armored vehicles and archival storage, museums, and valuable documents.

  • Halon (including Halon 1211 and Halon 1301), are gaseous agents that inhibit the chemical reaction of the fire. Classes B:C for 1301 and smaller 1211 fire extinguishers (2.3 kg; under 9 lbs) and A:B:C for larger units (9–17 lb or 4.1–7.7 kg). Halon gases are banned from new production under the Montreal Protocol, as of January 1, 1994 as its properties contribute to ozone depletion and long atmospheric lifetime, usually 400 years. Halon may be recycled and used to fill newly manufactured cylinders, however, only Amerex continues to do this. The rest of the industry has moved to halon alternatives, nevertheless, halon 1211 is still vital to certain military and industrial users, so there is a need for it.

Halon was completely banned in Europe and Australia except for critical users like law enforcement and aviation, resulting in stockpiles either being destroyed via high heat incineration or being sent to the United States for reuse. Halon 1301 and 1211 are being replaced with new halocarbon agents which have no ozone depletion properties and low atmospheric lifetimes, but are less effective. Halon 2402 is a liquid agent (dibromotetrafluoroethane) which has had limited use in the West due to its higher toxicity than 1211 or 1301. It is widely used in Russia and parts of Asia, and it was used by Kidde's Italian branch, marketed under the name "Fluobrene".

  • Halocarbon replacements, HCFC Blend B (Halotron I, American Pacific Corporation), HFC-227ea (FM-200, Great Lakes Chemicals Corporation), and HFC-236fa (FE-36, DuPont), have been approved by the FAA for use in aircraft cabins in 2010.[22] Considerations for halon replacement include human toxicity when used in confined spaces, ozone depleting potential, and greenhouse warming potential. The three recommended agents meet minimum performance standards, but uptake has been slow because of disadvantages. Specifically, they require two to three times the concentration to extinguish a fire compared with Halon 1211.[23] They are heavier than halon, require a larger bottle because they are less effective, and have greenhouse gas potential.[24] Research continues to find better alternatives.
  • CO2, a clean gaseous agent which displaces oxygen. Highest rating for 20 lb (9.1 kg) portable CO2 extinguishers is 10B:C. Not intended for class A fires, as the high-pressure cloud of gas can scatter burning materials. CO2 is not suitable for use on fires containing their own oxygen source, metals or cooking media. Although it can be rather successful on a person on fire, its use should be avoided where possible as it can cause frostbite and suffocation.
  • Novec 1230 fluid (AKA dry water, or Saffire fluid), a fluorinated ketone that works by removing massive amounts of heat. Available in fixed systems and wheeled units in the US and in portables in Australia. Unlike other clean agents this one has the advantage of being a liquid at atmospheric pressure and can be discharged as a stream or a rapidly vaporizing mist, depending on application.
  • Potassium aerosol particle-generator, contains a form of solid potassium salts and other chemicals referred to as aerosol-forming compounds (AFC). The AFC is activated by an electric current or other thermodynamic exchange which causes the AFC to ignite. The majority of installed currently are fixed units due to the possibility of harm to the user from the heat generated by the AFC generator.
  • E-36 Cryotec, a type of high concentration, high-pressure wet chemical (potassium acetate and water), it is being used by the U.S. Military in applications like the Abrams tank to replace the aging halon 1301 units previously installed.

Class D dry powder and other agents for metal fires


Ansul Met-L-X 30lb. cartridge-operated sodium chloride dry powder

Amerex 30lb. Stored Pressure Sodium Chloride Class D Dry Powder, 1990s, US

Lith-X Fire Extinguisher

Ansul Lith-X Cartridge-Operated Fire Extinguisher, graphite-base for lithium fires and other alkali metals

Na-X Fire Extinguisher

Ansul 30lb. Na-X cartridge-operated sodium carbonate fire extinguisher for sodium fires using non-corrosive agent.

Trimethoxyboroxine (TMB) Fire Extinguisher, circa 1967

A TMB extinguisher for magnesium fires

Buffalo M-X Fire extinguishers

Buffalo fire extinguishers for magnesium fires using M-X liquid

Ternary Eutectic Chloride fire extinguisher for metal fires, UK.

There are several class D fire extinguisher agents available; some will handle multiple types of metals, others will not.

  • Sodium chloride (Super-D, Met-L-X, M28, Pyrene Pyromet*) contains sodium chloride salt, which melts to form an oxygen-excluding crust over the metal. A thermoplastic additive such as nylon is added to allow the salt to more readily form a cohesive crust over the burning metal. Useful on most alkali metals including sodium and potassium, and other metals including magnesium, titanium, aluminum, and zirconium.
  • Copper-based (Copper Powder Navy 125S) developed by the U.S. Navy in the 1970s for hard-to-control lithium and lithium-alloy fires. The powder smothers and acts as a heat sink to dissipate heat, but also forms a copper-lithium alloy on the surface which is non-combustible and cuts off the oxygen supply. Will cling to a vertical surface. Lithium only.
  • Graphite-based (G-Plus, G-1, Lith-X, Chubb Pyromet) contains dry graphite that smothers burning metals. The first type developed, designed for magnesium, works on other metals as well. Unlike sodium chloride powder extinguishers, the graphite powder fire extinguishers can be used on very hot burning metal fires such as lithium, but unlike copper powder extinguishers will not stick to and extinguish flowing or vertical lithium fires. Like copper extinguishers, the graphite powder acts as a heat sink as well as smothering the metal fire.
  • Sodium carbonate-based (Na-X) is used where stainless steel piping and equipment could be damaged by sodium chloride-based agents to control sodium, potassium, and sodium-potassium alloy fires. Limited use on other metals. Smothers and forms a crust.
  • Ternary eutectic chloride (T.E.C.) dry powder is a dry powder invented in 1959 by Lawrence H Cope,[25][26] a research metallurgist working for the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and licensed to John Kerr Co. of England. It consists of a mixture of three powdered salts: sodium, potassium and barium chloride. T.E.C. forms an oxygen-excluding layer of molten salt on the metal's surface. Along with Met-L-X (sodium chloride), T.E.C has been reported[27] to be one of the most effective agents for use on sodium, potassium, and NaK fires, and is used specifically on atomic metals like uranium and plutonium as it will not contaminate the valuable metal unlike other agents. T.E.C. is quite toxic, due to the barium chloride content, and for this reason is no longer used in the UK, and was never used in the US aside from radioactive material handling glove boxes, where its toxicity was not an issue due their confined nature. T.E.C. is still widely used in India, despite toxicity, while the West uses chiefly sodium chloride, graphite, and copper types of powder and considers T.E.C. obsolete.[28]
  • Trimethoxyboroxine (TMB) liquid is a boron compound dissolved in methanol to give it proper fluidity and allow it to be discharged from a portable fire extinguisher. It was developed in the late 1950s by the U.S. Navy for use on magnesium fires, especially crashed aircraft and aircraft wheel fires from hard landings. It is unique as an extinguishing agent in that the agent itself is a flammable liquid. When TMB contacts the fire, the methanol ignites and burns with a greenish flame due to the boron. As the methanol burns off, a glassy coating of boric oxide is left on the surface of the metal, creating an air-excluding crust. These extinguishers were made by the Ansul Chemical Co. utilizing TMB agent manufactured by the Callery Chemical Company, and were modified 2.5-gallon water extinguishers (Ansul used re-branded Elkhart extinguishers at the time), with a variable-stream nozzle that could deliver a straight stream or spray at the squeeze of a lever. A 6-inch fluorescent orange band with the letters "TMB" stenciled in black identified TMB from other extinguishers. This agent was problematic in that it had a shelf life of only six months to a year once the extinguisher was filled, since the methanol is extremely hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air), which causes corrosion to the extinguisher and renders its use on fire dangerous. These extinguishers were used from the 1950s–70s in various applications, such as the MB-1 and MB-5 crash trucks. The current SOP is to use water fog and cool/burn out the burning metal.[29]

TMB was used experimentally by the US Air Force, specifically with regard to B-52 engine assemblies, and was tested in modified 10-gallon wheeled CBM extinguishers. Other agents were added to suppress the methanol flare up, such as chlorobromomethane (CBM), Halon 2402, and Halon 1211, with varied success. Halon 1211 was the most successful, and the combined TMB pressurized with halon 1211 and nitrogen was called Boralon was used experimentally by the Los Alamos National Laboratory for use on atomic metals, using sealed cylinder extinguishers made by Metalcraft and Graviner which eliminated the moisture contamination problem. TMB/Boralon was abandoned in favor of more versatile agents, though it is still mentioned in most US firefighting literature.[30]

  • Buffalo M-X liquid was a short-lived oil-based extinguishing agent for magnesium fires, made by Buffalo in the 1950s. It was discovered by the Germans in WWII that a heavy oil could be applied to burning magnesium chips to cool and smother them, and was easy to apply from a pressurized extinguisher, which was made by the German firm Total. After the war, the technology was more generally disseminated.[31]

Buffalo marketed a 2.5-gallon and 1-quart extinguisher using M-X liquid discharged through a low-velocity shower head type nozzle but it was met with limited success, as it was going up against Ansul's Met-L-X, which could be used on more types of metals and was non-combustible. M-X had the advantage of being easy to recharge and non-corrosive since it was oil-based, but production did not last long due to its limited applications.

  • Some water-based suppressants may be used on certain class D fires, such as burning titanium and magnesium. Examples include the Fire Blockade and FireAde brands of suppressant.[32] Some metals, such as elemental lithium, will react explosively with water, therefore water-based chemicals should never be used on such fires due to the possibility of a violent reaction.

Most class D extinguishers will have a special low-velocity nozzle or discharge wand to gently apply the agent in large volumes to avoid disrupting any finely divided burning materials. Agents are also available in bulk and can be applied with a scoop or shovel.

  • Note. "Pyromet" is a trade name that refers to two separate agents. Invented by Pyrene Co. Ltd. (UK) in the 1960s, it was originally a sodium chloride formulation with monoammonium phosphate, protein, clay and waterproofing agents. Modern Pyromet made by Chubb Fire is a graphite formulation.[33]

Fire extinguishing ball

Several modern "ball" or grenade-style extinguishers are available on the market. The modern version of the ball is a hard foam shell, wrapped in fuses that lead to a small black powder charge within. The ball bursts shortly after contact with flame, dispersing a cloud of ABC dry chemical powder which extinguishes the fire. The coverage area is about 5 m2 (54 sq ft). One benefit of this type is that it may be used for passive suppression. The ball can be placed in a fire-prone area and will deploy automatically if a fire develops, being triggered by heat. They may also be manually operated by rolling or tossing into a fire. Most modern extinguishers of this type are designed to make a loud noise upon deployment.[34]

This technology is not new, however. In the 1800s, glass fire grenades filled with suppressant liquids were popular. These glass fire grenade bottles are sought by collectors.[35] Some later brands, such as Red Comet, were designed for passive operation, and included a special holder with a spring-loaded trigger that would break the glass ball when a fusible link melted. As was typical of this era, some glass extinguishers contained the toxic carbon tetrachloride.

Condensed aerosol fire suppression

Condensed aerosol fire suppression is a particle-based form of fire extinction similar to gaseous fire suppression or dry chemical fire extinction. As with gaseous fire suppressants, condensed aerosol suppressants use clean agents to suppress the fire. The agent can be delivered by means of mechanical operation, electric operation, or combined electro-mechanical operation. To the difference of gaseous suppressants, which emit only gas, and dry chemical extinguishers, which release powder-like particles of a large size (25–150 µm) condensed aerosols are defined by the National Fire Protection Association as releasing finely divided solid particles (generally <10 µm), usually in addition to gas.[36]

Whereas dry chemical systems must be directly aimed at the flame, condensed aerosols are flooding agents and therefore effective regardless of the location and height of the fire. Wet chemical systems, such as the kind generally found in foam extinguishers, must, similarly to dry chemical systems, be sprayed directionally, onto the fire. Additionally, wet chemicals (such as potassium carbonate) are dissolved in water, whereas the agents used in condensed aerosols are microscopic solids.

Low-frequency sound

In 2015, researchers from George Mason University announced that high volume sound with low bass frequencies in the 30 to 60 hertz range drives oxygen away from the combustion surface, extinguishing the fire, a principle was previously tested by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).[37] One proposed application is to extinguish fires in outer space, with none of the clean-up required for mass-based systems.[38]


An empty fire extinguisher which was not replaced for years.

Most countries in the world require regular fire extinguisher maintenance by a competent person to operate safely and effectively, as part of fire safety legislation. Lack of maintenance can lead to an extinguisher not discharging when required, or rupturing when pressurized. Deaths have occurred, even in recent times, from corroded extinguishers exploding.

In the United States, state and local fire codes, as well as those established by federal agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, are generally consistent with standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).[39] They commonly require, for fire extinguishers in all buildings other than single-family dwellings, inspections every 30 days to ensure the unit is pressurized and unobstructed (done by an employee of the facility) and an annual inspection and service by a qualified technician. Some jurisdictions require more frequent service. The servicer places a tag on the extinguisher to indicate the type of service performed (annual inspection, recharge, new fire extinguisher). Hydrostatic pressure testing for all types of extinguishers is also required, generally every five years for water and CO2 models up to every 12 years for dry chemical models.

Recently the NFPA and ICC voted to allow for the elimination of the 30-day inspection requirement so long as the fire extinguisher is monitored electronically. According to NFPA, the system must provide record keeping in the form of an electronic event log at the control panel. The system must also constantly monitor an extinguisher's physical presence, internal pressure and whether an obstruction exists that could prevent ready access. In the event that any of the above conditions are found, the system must send an alert to officials so they can immediately rectify the situation. Electronic monitoring can be wired or wireless.

In the UK, three types of maintenance are required:

  • Basic service: All types of extinguisher require a basic inspection annually to check weight, externally validate the correct pressure, and find any signs of damage or corrosion. Cartridge extinguishers are to be opened up for internal inspection, and to have the weight of the cartridge tested. Labels must be inspected for legibility, and where possible, dip tubes, hoses and mechanisms must be tested for clear, free operation.
  • Extended service: Water, wet chemical, foam, and powder extinguishers require a more detailed examination every five years, including a test discharge and recharge. On stored pressure extinguishers, this is the only opportunity to internally inspect for damage/corrosion.
  • Overhaul: CO2 extinguishers, due to their high operating pressure, are subject to pressure vessel safety legislation, and must be hydraulic pressure tested, inspected internally and externally, and date stamped every 10 years. As it cannot be pressure tested, a new valve is also fitted. If any part of the extinguisher is replaced with a part from another manufacturer, then the extinguisher will lose its fire rating.

In the United States, there are 3 types of service:

  • Maintenance inspection: All types of extinguishers should be inspected at least once a year. The extinguisher is checked that it has the correct volume and pressure of extinguishing agent, that it is within the required hydrotest and internal maintenance intervals, that it is in good condition, and that all external parts are still serviceable. Dry chemical and dry powder types may also be hit on the bottom with a rubber mallet to make sure the powder is free-flowing. After inspection, the tech will attach a new tamper seal and yearly service tag around the pin.
  • Internal maintenance:
    • Water – annually (some states) or 5 years (NFPA 10, 2010 edition)
    • Foam – every 3 years
    • Wet chemical, and CO2 – every 5 years
    • Dry chemical and dry powder – every 6 years
    • Halon and clean agents – every 6 years.
    • Cartridge-operated dry chemical or dry powder – annually
    • Stored-pressure dry chemical mounted on vehicles – annually
    The extinguisher is emptied of its chemical and pressure to check for proper operation. All components are disassembled, inspected, cleaned, lubricated, or replaced if defective. Liquid agents are replaced at this time, dry agents may be re-used if in good condition, halon is recovered and re-used, but CO2 is discharged into the atmosphere. The extinguisher is then re-filled and recharged, after a "verification of service" collar is placed around the cylinder neck. It is impossible to properly install or remove a collar without depressurizing the extinguisher.
    Note: Cartridge-operated extinguishers should be visually examined, but do not require a verification of service collar.
  • Hydrostatic testing: Water, foam, wet chemical and CO2, every 5 years. Dry chemical, dry powder, halon and clean agents, every 12 years.

Note: these are the required intervals for normal service conditions, if the extinguisher has been exposed to excessive heat, vibration, or mechanical damage it may need to be tested sooner.

The agent is emptied and depressurized and the valve is removed. After a thorough internal and external visual inspection, the cylinder is filled with water, placed inside a safety cage, and pressurized to the specified test pressure (varies with the type, age, and cylinder material) for the specified time period. If no failure, bulges, or leaks are detected, the cylinder passes. The cylinder is then emptied of water and thoroughly dried, and labeled with the test date and company that performed the test. CO2 types have the test information stamped on the cylinder, all other types get a sticker on the back of the cylinder. Once dry, the units are recharged. Unlike the UK, the US does not rebuild extinguishers and replace valves at specific intervals unless parts are found to be defective, with the exception of halon. Halon types are often given new o-rings and valve stems at every internal maintenance to minimize any leakage potential.

OEM equipment must be used for replacement parts for the extinguisher to maintain its UL rating. If parts are unavailable, replacement is recommended, keep in mind extinguishers have a projected service life of about 25–35 years, although many are of such quality that they can outlast this, but realize that science is ever-changing, and something that was the best available 30 years ago may not be acceptable for modern fire protection needs.

Vandalism and extinguisher protection

Fire Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher stored inside a cabinet mounted to a wall
Aa big fire extinguisher 00
Heavy-duty CO2-powered fire extinguisher on standby at a temporary helicopter landing site

Fire extinguishers are sometimes a target of vandalism in schools and other open spaces. Extinguishers are occasionally partially, or fully discharged by a vandal, impairing the extinguisher's actual fire-fighting abilities.

In open public spaces, extinguishers are ideally kept inside cabinets that have glass that must be broken to access the extinguisher, or which emit an alarm siren that cannot be shut off without a key, to alert people the extinguisher has been handled by an unauthorized person if a fire is not present. This also alerts maintenance to check an extinguisher for usage so that it may be replaced if it has been used.

Fire extinguisher signs

Fire extinguisher identification signs are small signs designed to be mounted near a fire extinguisher, in order to draw attention to the extinguisher's location (e.g., if the extinguisher is on a large pole, the sign would generally be at the top of the pole so it can be seen from a distance). Such signs may be manufactured from a variety of materials, commonly self-adhesive vinyl, rigid PVC, and aluminum.

In addition to words and pictographs indicating the presence of a fire extinguisher, some modern extinguisher identification signs also describe the extinguishing agent in the unit, and summarize the types of fire on which it may safely be used.

Some public and government buildings are often required, by local legal codes, to provide an identification sign for each extinguisher on the site.[40]

Similar signs are available for other fire equipment (including fire blankets and fire hose reels/racks), and for other emergency equipment (such as first aid kits).

Placement of fire extinguisher signs

Most licensing authorities have regulations describing the standard appearance of these signs (e.g., text height, pictographs used and so on).[41]

Photoluminescent fire extinguisher location signs

Photoluminescent fire extinguisher signs are made with nontoxic photoluminescent phosphor that absorbs ambient light and releases it slowly in dark conditions – the sign "glows in the dark". Such signs are independent of an external power supply, and so offer a low-cost, reliable means of indicating the position of emergency equipment in dark or smoky conditions. The luminance performance for life safety appliance location signs should meet the requirements of International Standard ISO 17398 so that the sign is not only excited at very low ambient light levels (25 lux), but also has effective luminance intensity and longevity, making the life-safety message conspicuous in the event of power failure, or if smoke obscures emergency ceiling lights. The Photoluminescent Safety Products Association (PSPA) has guidance classifications for luminance performance to help users with applications under "International Maritime Organization Emergency Equipment and Life-saving Appliance Location Requirements," and worldwide industrial fire-safety management requirements.

Photo-luminescent signs are sometimes wrongfully described as being reflective. A reflective material will only return ambient light for as long as the light source is supplied, rather than storing energy and releasing it over a period of time. But, many fire extinguishers and extinguisher-mounting posts have strips of retroreflective adhesive tape placed on them to facilitate their location in situations where only emergency lighting or flashlights are available.

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Patent 233,235
  2. ^ U.S. Patent 258,293
  3. ^ "Staffordshire Past Track – "Petrolex" half gallon fire extinguisher". Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  4. ^ Loran and the fire extinguisher Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine at (in Russian)
  5. ^ U.S. Patent 1,010,870, filed April 5, 1910.
  6. ^ U.S. Patent 1,105,263, filed Jan 7, 1911.
  7. ^ "Pyrene Fire Extinguishers". Vintage Fire Extinguishers. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  8. ^ "Carbon Tetrachloride Health and Safety Guide". IPCS International Programme on Chemical Safety. Retrieved 25 December 2009.
  9. ^ U.S. Patent 1,760,274, filed Sept 26, 1925.
  10. ^ McCarthy, Robert E (1992-06-18). Secrets of Hollywood special effects. ISBN 978-0-240-80108-7. Retrieved 2010-03-17 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ U.S. Patent 1,792,826
  12. ^ U.S. Patent 1,793,420
  13. ^
  14. ^ EPA, OAR, OAP, SPD, US. "Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program". Retrieved 19 November 2016.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Halon Disposal". Ozone Protection. Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (Australia). Retrieved 2006-12-12.
  16. ^ "ExtinguisherServicing – Everything you need to know". Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  17. ^ "The Fire Safety Advice Centre".
  18. ^ "Disposal Of Halon – Envirowise".
  19. ^ "Do you need to carry a fire extinguisher in a company vehicle?".
  20. ^ "Your safe driving policy" (PDF).
  21. ^ "Wasserfilmbildendes Schaummittel – Extensid AFFF". 071027
  22. ^ "Handheld Fire Extinguishers". Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  23. ^ "Options to the Use of Halons for Aircraft Fire Suppression Systems – 2012 Update" (PDF). p. 11. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  24. ^ "Options to the Use of Halons for Aircraft Fire Suppression Systems – 2012 Update" (PDF). p. xvii. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  25. ^ U.S. Patent 3,095,372, filed July 5, 1960. UK Patent GB884946.
  26. ^ "The Non Numismatic Bibliography of Dr L.H. Cope". Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  27. ^ Extinguishment of Alkali Metal Fires, S.J. Rodgers and W.A. Everson, Technical Documentary Report APL-TDR 64-114, Air Force Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 1964, pp. 28–31.
  28. ^ Fire Protection Handbook, Thirteenth Edition, National Fire Protection Association, Boston, 1969, Ch. 15, p. 54
  29. ^ Personnel, United States Bureau of Naval (1 January 1959). "Aviation Boatswain's Mate 1 & C: Navy Training Courses". U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 19 November 2016 – via Google Books.
  30. ^
  31. ^ JIOA Final Report 41. "German Chemical Fire Extinguishers", Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, Smith, Carlisle F, Washington DC, October 1945.
  32. ^ "Fireade 2000 Applications". Retrieved 2009-11-10.
  33. ^
  34. ^ Chuck a ball to put out fire. Earth Times. 14 September 2007.
  35. ^ "". 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  36. ^ National Fire Protection Association, "Report on Aerosol Extinguishing Technology,".
  37. ^ "Dousing flames with low-frequency sound waves". Physics World. 2 April 2015.
  38. ^ Conrad, Henry (March 25, 2015). "Two students created a device that extinguishes fires with soundwaves". ZME Science. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  39. ^ Charpentier, Will. "NFPA Regulations on Fire Extinguishers". HomeSteady. Leaf Group. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  40. ^ "CAIS16 – Safety signs in the catering industry" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 17, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  41. ^ Transport for London Archived February 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

External links

1984 French Grand Prix

The 1984 French Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Dijon on 20 May 1984. It was race 5 of 16 in the 1984 FIA Formula One World Championship.

This was the final Formula One race to be held at the 3.801 km (2.362 mi) Dijon-Prenois circuit, as it was deemed too short by governing body FISA. Fittingly in France, Frenchman Patrick Tambay, in the all-French team (French car, French engine, French tyres and French fuel) scored the Equipe Renault team's last pole position.

Double World Champion Niki Lauda won the race in his McLaren-TAG, his first win in France since 1975. Tambay finished second in his Renault RE50, with the Lotus-Renault of Nigel Mansell third. Lauda's team-mate and World Championship leader, Alain Prost, could only manage seventh after he was forced to pit to change a loose wheel.

Andrea de Cesaris failed to qualify his Ligier, but nonetheless started the race and finished tenth. De Cesaris' Friday qualifying time was disallowed when his car's onboard fire extinguisher was found to be empty, before rain in the Saturday session prevented him from setting a time fast enough to make the grid. Ligier took the bizarre step of withdrawing their second car, driven by François Hesnault (who had qualified 14th), in order to allow de Cesaris to start 26th and last.


Amerex Corporation is a large American manufacturer of firefighting products. Based in Trussville, Alabama, Amerex makes hand portable and wheeled fire extinguishers for commercial and industrial environments, as well as fire and explosion suppression vehicle systems for defense applications. Amerex's innovative technology has led to the production of pre-engineered automatic restaurant systems, vehicle fire suppression systems, gas detection, industrial systems and fire detection devices. McWane, Inc. acquired Amerex in 1999.

Anglesey Circuit

The Anglesey Circuit (Welsh: Trac Môn) is a motor racing circuit located in Ty Croes, Anglesey, Wales. It plays host to a variety of motorsport events including car racing, motorcycle racing, car sprints, stage rallies and drifting. It opened as a fully licensed MSA and ACU championship racing circuit in 1997.

In 2006, the motorsports venue saw a major overhaul, with the majority of its 1.057 miles (1.70 km) circuit being scrapped in favour of a radical new development that includes four different track layouts: a 2.1 miles (3.4 km) International Circuit; 1.55 miles (2.5 km) Coastal Circuit, 1.2 miles National Circuit and 0.8 mile Club Circuit.

One of the straights on the circuit is named after Wales's only F1 driver, Tom Pryce, who was killed in an accident during the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami in 1977 when a track marshal carrying a fire extinguisher ran across the track in front of him. The extinguisher hit Pryce in the head, and both he and the marshal died.

The TV motoring programme Fifth Gear regularly used the Anglesey circuit for the 'Shoot Out' segment of the show. Since the new track configuration, Fifth Gear has opted to use the Coastal layout. The Coastal layout appears to be the most popular among track day enthusiasts because of the difficult downhill corkscrew segment.

The track also features as Catie's track on the CBeebies series Catie's Amazing Machines.


The people from Apayao, Abra and Ilocos Norte believe in and fear a swamp creature called Berberoka. It lures victims by sucking water in the pond enough for a number fish to come to the surface. When the potential victims get attracted to the school of fish, the Berberoka drowns them by hosing water and swallowing them afterwards. Despite all their powers, these water ogres have a morbid, ironic fear of crabs.

They were compared to the Greek naiads, the nymphs of water elements. They have the ability to suck up all the water in a swamp or lake. Also, many elderly people believed that they use water to attack their enemies. They discharge a large amount of water (just like a fire extinguisher) at their victims until they drown.

Brahim Déby

Brahim Déby Itno (Arabic: إبراهيم ديبي إتنو‎ Ibrahīm Daybī Itnū, 6 June 1980 – 2 July 2007) was the son of current Chadian President Idriss Déby.

Brahim attended the University of Ottawa in Canada as a foreign exchange student and graduated in 2004 with a degree in business administration. It is claimed that in 2005, President Déby held a secret meeting in which he expressed his desire to have Brahim succeed him at some point; this reportedly caused a rift in the family.On 24 May, 2006, Brahim Déby was arrested outside a Paris nightclub after getting involved in a brawl. During the fight, an unlicensed semi-automatic pistol fell from his pocket. Police later searched his house and found 375 grams of marijuana. On 3 June, 2006, Brahim Déby was given a six-month suspended sentence for drugs and arms possession.Déby was found dead by a security guard in his apartment building's parking garage in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, on July 2, 2007. Due to the apparently violent nature of his death, French authorities began investigating it as murder. An autopsy indicated that Déby, who was covered in white powder, died due to asphyxiation, probably from the powder, which was thought to have been sprayed from a fire extinguisher found near his body. Déby had a wound on his head, but this was thought to be unrelated to his death.According to a lawyer for Déby's family on July 17, Déby was attacked ten days after arriving in France from Chad; his father had advised him not to return to France due to his past legal issue there. Shortly prior to the attack, Déby was said to be very worried and had received a telephone call. He was attacked by four or five men disguised as policemen who waited for him to arrive at the parking garage. The attackers tasered Déby before killing him by spraying him with the fire extinguisher powder. They then searched his apartment for an unknown reason; it was speculated that the attackers might have been looking for money kept there by Déby.Déby's body was returned to Chad aboard a specially chartered flight on the morning of 4 July. He was buried at midday on the same day in the Muslim cemetery in Lamadji, to the north of N'Djamena. The funeral was held privately but was nevertheless widely attended, with Déby's extended family, as well as government ministers and various political figures, present.Five arrests (four in Paris, one in Romania) made in connection with Déby's death were reported on November 28, 2008. Four men were convicted of crimes related to his killing.

Brainiac's Test Tube Baby

Brainiac's Test Tube Baby was a live British parody popular science entertainment TV show hosted by Dominic Wood. It was a spin-off of the highly successful Sky1 show Brainiac: Science Abuse and first aired on Thursday 3 August 2006. Dominic is assisted by former Big Brother contestant Jon Tickle who also co-hosts the original Brainiac programme.

Aspects of the show included "The Test Tube Babes" (two Brainiacs who search out "scientific truth"), the "CO2 challenge", where teams competed to propel a wheelchair as fast as they can on fire extinguisher power alone, the blowing up of caravans and microwaves (as in its parent show) and competitions with questions about the Brainiac series.

It also had a forum for viewers to contact the show with their science questions, e.g. "will a plant grow as well in saliva as it will in water?" Jon Tickle plays the "resident boffin" to answer these questions.

The seventh episode which was scheduled to air on 21 September was cancelled in light of Brainiac: Science Abuse presenter Richard Hammond's car crash, despite being recorded live. The episode was later aired on 8 January 2007 as the final episode. Brainiac's Test Tube Baby was produced by Original Productions UK Entertainment, at the time, an affiliate of Original Productions of Burbank, California.

The first series ended on 12 October 2006. It was stated on the final show that a second series had been commissioned but it never happened.


Bromochlorodifluoromethane, also known by the trade name Halon 1211, or BCF, or Halon 1211 BCF, or Freon 12B1, is a haloalkane with the chemical formula CF2ClBr.

Brominated haloalkanes were first used during World War II as fire extinguisher for aircraft and tanks. Bromochlorodifluoromethane was introduced as an effective gaseous fire suppression agent in the mid 1960s for use around highly valuable materials in places such as museums, mainframe rooms and telecommunication switching centers. They were also widely used in the maritime industries in the engine rooms of ships and also in the transport industry in vehicles. Its efficiency as a fire extinguishing agent has also led it to be the predominant choice of fire extinguishing agent on commercial aircraft and is typically found in cylindrical hand-held canisters. Its advantages as a fire extinguishing agent are that it has lower toxicity than chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride and that since it is a covalently bonded compound, it does not form conductive ions, therefore being usable on electrical equipment.

Chad–Romania relations

Chad–Romania relations were established on 15 July 1969. However, neither country has an embassy in the other's capital, and although an agreement on trade was signed in 1969, followed by an agreement on economic and technical cooperation in 1971, as of 2007, the volume of bilateral trade remained insignificant.In November 2007, Romania announced that they would deploy 120 troops to Chad and the Central African Republic in connection with a European Union peacekeeping mission there. Romania continued to condemn violence in Chad and blamed it on rebel groups. However, by mid-2008, Romanian defence minister Teodor Meleșcanu indicated that his country would not send further troops to the mission in Chad, stating that they had reached their limits and did not want involvement in a war theatre.In December 2008, Romanian national Marin Cioroianu was arrested in Harghita County, Romania in connection with the July 2007 murder of Brahim Déby, the son of Chadian president Idriss Déby, in a Paris parking garage. Déby's attackers had shot arrows at him, tackled him, and attacked him with fire extinguisher foam, leading to death by asphyxiation. DNA in a glove taken from Cioroianu's car matched DNA collected at the murder scene. However, due to Interpol's French office lacking funds to pay for his extradition to France, Cioroianu remained in custody in Romania.

Cold gas thruster

A cold gas thruster is a propulsive device that uses pressurized inert gas as the reaction mass. The compressed gas is released through a propelling nozzle to generate a cold jet thrust.A cold gas thruster usually consists of simply a pressurized tank containing gas, a valve to control its release and a propelling nozzle, and plumbing connecting them. A very simple example would be the use of a handheld CO2 or nitrogen gas fire extinguisher while sitting down in a rolling office chair; motion is achieved by pointing the nozzle in the direction opposite of the desired movement and activating the extinguisher.

Because the gas is usually unheated, speed at the throat is low and very low performance is achieved; in a vacuum with nitrogen gas a specific impulse of 73 seconds can be achieved. The maximum theoretical specific impulse for nitrogen gas is 76 seconds. In the simplest approximation, the specific impulse is modeled as proportional to the square root of the (absolute) gas temperature, so performance rises as the gas temperature is increased. A thruster in which the performance is increased by heating the gas by an electrical resistance is known as a resistojet.

Cold gas thrusters are mostly useful for vernier engines, and are employed chiefly for simplicity and reliability.

EN 3

European standard EN 3 specifies requirements for portable fire extinguishers. Compliance with the standard is legally required for the construction of all fire extinguishers in the European Union.

The standard has been published in 10 parts:

EN 3-1: Portable fire extinguishers. Description, duration of operation, class A and B fire test.

EN 3-2: Portable fire extinguishers. Tightness, dielectric test, tamping test, special provisions.

EN 3-3: Portable fire extinguishers. Construction, resistance to pressure, mechanical tests.

EN 3-4: Portable fire extinguishers. Charges, minimum required fire.

EN 3-5: Portable fire extinguishers. Specification and supplementary tests.

EN 3-6: Portable fire extinguishers. Provisions for the attestation of conformity of portable fire extinguishers in accordance with EN 3-1 to 3-5. Amendment 1

EN 3-7: Portable fire extinguishers. Characteristics, performance requirements and test methods.

EN 3-8: Portable fire extinguishers. Additional requirements to EN 3-7 for the construction, resistance to pressure and mechanical tests for extinguishers with a maximum allowable pressure equal to or lower than 30 bar.

EN 3-9: Portable fire extinguishers. Additional requirements to EN 3-7 for pressure resistance of CO2 extinguishers.

EN 3-10: Portable fire extinguishers. Provisions for evaluating the conformity of a portable fire extinguisher to EN 3-7.EN 3-1, EN 3-2 and EN 3-4 and EN 3-5 have been withdrawn and were replaced by EN 3-7.

Frederick Grinnell

Frederick Grinnell (August 14, 1836 – October 21, 1905) was a pioneer in fire safety and was the creator of the first practical automatic fire sprinkler.

General Detroit Corporation

General Detroit Corporation was an American manufacturer of fire trucks and fire extinguishers from 1903 to 2001.

George William Manby

Captain George William Manby FRS (28 November 1765 – 18 November 1854) was an English author and inventor. He designed an apparatus for saving life from shipwrecks and also the first modern form of fire extinguisher.

Grinnell Company-General Fire Extinguisher Company Complex

Grinnell Company-General Fire Extinguisher Company Complex is a historic factory complex located at Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It was built in 1929-1930, and consists of a two-story office building and massive tall, one-story Grinnell manufacturing building. The office building is a reinforced concrete structure, with a brick veneer, a flat roof, and a parapet capped in concrete coping. The manufacturing building has a poured concrete slab foundation, brick veneered walls, a steel framing system consisting of I-beam piers and heavy Pratt truss roof, banks of continuous, steel sash windows, and large, sawtooth monitors. The complex was built for the largest manufacturer of automatic sprinklers and other fire protection products in North America.It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Manby mortar

The Manby mortar was invented by Captain George William Manby, who was also the inventor of the portable fire extinguisher.

The mortar fired a shot with a line attached from the shore to the wrecked ship. It was used by the Waterguard and later by H M Coastguard for many years.

The first recorded rescue using the Manby apparatus was on 18 February 1808, with Manby himself in charge. The crew of seven were brought to safety from the Plymouth Brig Elizabeth, stranded off the shore at Great Yarmouth. It was estimated that by the time of Manby's death nearly 1000 persons had been rescued from stranded ships by means of his apparatus.

Minimax Limited

Minimax Limited was a British manufacturer of fire extinguishers founded in England in 1903. Their unique conical fire extinguisher was known as 'The Minimax'. The company was purchased by The Pyrene Company Limited in 1955.

Morgan Johansson

Morgan Johansson (full name: Tomas Morgan Johansson, born 14 May 1970 in Höganäs, Malmöhus County) is a Swedish politician of the Social Democrats. He has served as Minister for Home Affairs since 2017 and as Minister for Justice since 2014. He served as Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy from 2014 to 2017.Johansson was previously Minister for Public Health and Social Services in the Persson Cabinet from 2002 to 2006 and has been a Member of the Riksdag for the southern Skåne County electoral district since the 1998 elections. As a member of the opposition he was Chairman of the Committee on Justice of the Riksdag from 2010 to 2014.

Johansson worked as a journalist and editorial writer for the social democratic daily newspaper Arbetet Nyheterna 1994-1997 and as political expert in the Prime Minister's Office from 1997 to 1998.

In 2010 author Christer Isaksson described Johansson as a member of the left-leaning faction of the Social Democratic Party. He is also a member of the Swedish Humanist Association and has previously served on the association board.

On Monday afternoon, March 23, 2015, Johansson was attacked at the Broby hospital asylum center in Broby, Östra Göinge Municipality, Skåne. A 25-year-old man charged at Johansson and sprayed him with a fire extinguisher. The attacker was quickly apprehended and Johansson was not injured in what was referred to as a premeditated assault.


A pyrophoric substance (from Greek πυροφόρος, pyrophoros, "fire-bearing") ignites spontaneously in air at or below 55 °C (130 °F). Examples are iron sulfide and many reactive metals including plutonium and uranium, when powdered or thinly sliced. Pyrophoric materials are often water-reactive as well and will ignite when they contact water or humid air. They can be handled safely in atmospheres of argon or (with a few exceptions) nitrogen. Most pyrophoric fires should be extinguished with a Class D fire extinguisher for burning metals.

Wyoming State Penitentiary

Wyoming State Penitentiary is a Wyoming Department of Corrections state maximum-security prison for men located in Rawlins, Carbon County, Wyoming.The facility first opened in 1980 and housed about 500 medium-security prisoners. That portion of the complex, now called the North Facility, closed in 2001 as the newer South Facility opened. The South Facility boasts the third generation prison layout of 'pods.' A driving factor behind this was the faults with the star, or block, layout of the North Facility. Narrow halls and blind, sharp corners caused dangers to staff. Security issues of the old North Facility came to light when Corporal Wayne Martinez was killed by three inmates. The three inmates gained access to the control center Corporal Martinez was in, beating him with a fire extinguisher and stabbing him over thirty times. Two inmates involved in the attack were given life without the possibility of parole, while the third was sentenced to death. In memory of Corporal Martinez, the Wayne Martinez Training Center was given his name. The North Facility remains standing, but abandoned.Wyoming State Penitentiary is also the location of the state's death row and execution chamber, which is located in the prison's parole board meeting room. No death sentences have been carried out in Wyoming since the 1992 execution of convicted murderer Mark Hopkinson, and there is currently only one inmate on death row in the state.

Prior to 1991 the Wyoming Board of Charities and Reform operated the prison.

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