Portable Fire Extinguishers – Part 1

By: Intasure | 16 May 2023 Share:

Welcome to our new FireWise: Fire Safety & Prevention newsletter series.

In Part 1 of this new series we will look at hand held portable fire extinguishers. Apart from the required number of extinguishers required by legislation, to be discussed later in this series, the following factors are also vitally important to bear in mind.

Most fires, if detected early enough, can be easily extinguished through the prompt application of the correct type and appropriate quantity of extinguishing agent. Portable fire extinguishers are designed to fulfil this purpose and special attention must be paid to installing the most suitable extinguishing agent for the type of risk/ fire being protected.

There are several factors concerning portable fire extinguishers which, if implemented during pre-planning, will give the user every chance of successfully extinguishing a fire during those first few minutes.

Factors affecting your choice:

The following factors need to be considered to ensure that the correct extinguisher is selected and a registered fire technician should be consulted to assist with the following:

  • The type of combustible material on site. Some extinguishers can be used on a variety of combustible materials, but they may have a limited suitability on specific materials. Reference to suitability will be discussed in detail later on in this series.
  • The possible size of a fire. Some extinguishers while effective on contained flammable liquids fires, are not capable of dealing with the same amount of liquid if it is spilt over a large area. 
  • The environment of the extinguisher. Extreme temperatures or excessive vibration may be detrimental to some extinguishers.
  • Maintenance requirements. In outlying areas empty extinguishers may have to be sent away for long periods to be serviced or recharged. Addtitional extinguishers should be considered to ensure that the property is not left unprotected in times like these.
  • Standardisation. If possible it would be wise to standardise extinguishers which, even though differing in their content, would operate in the same manner. This would have distinct advantages in the training of staff.

Series and article with thanks to www.cia.co.za

Fire Safety Advice

The new year is a great time for a reminder of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to fires, particulary as the Western Cape approaches it’s fire season.  Preventing a fire from starting is just as important as knowing what to do when one has started. Perhaps now is