Fire extinguishers are an integral element in the emergency management. While portable fire extinguishers are simple to use, there are some basic points to remember about the selection and operation of fire extinguishers if confronted by a fire.

​Selecting a fire extinguisher

​ There are a number of types of portable fire extinguishers available in Australia.  Each type of extinguisher may be rated for one or more classes of fire. In some cases, particular extinguishers are not only considered ineffective against certain classes of fire, they can be dangerous if used in those circumstances.

The selection of a fire extinguisher is governed according to the class of fire. Portable fire extinguishers are distinguishable by their labels and their colouring.

Below outlines which fire extinguisher should be used to extinguish the class of fire.

Dry Chemical Powder Fire Extinguisher

Identified by a white coloured band around the top of the cylinder. This type of fire extinguisher is to be used for paper, wood, textile, oil, liquid, and electrical.  Dry Chemical Powder Fire Extinguishers are available in a range of sizes, including 1Kg, 2Kg, 2.5Kg, 4.5Kg, and 9.0Kg models.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguisher

Identified by a black coloured band around the top of the cylinder. This type of fire extinguisher is to be used for paint, oil, electrical and other liquid fires.  Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers are available in range of sizes, including 2Kg, 3.5Kg, and 5Kg models.

Water Fire Extinguishers

Red without any coloured band around the cylinder. This type of extinguisher is to be used for wood, paper, rubbish fires and not to be used for electrical or flammable liquid.  The Water Fire Extinguishers are available in 9.1L size.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

Identified by the blue coloured band around the top of the cylinder. This type of extinguisher is to be used for oil and flammable liquid fires and not to be used for electrical fires. The Foam Fire Extinguishers are available in 9.1L size.  fires.

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