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Co2 Fire Extinguishers

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CO2 fire extinguishers use liquid carbon dioxide to smother flames quickly and effectively. When the extinguisher’s handle is squeezed, the liquid CO2 is compressed and, under immense pressure, it is turned into a gas which is then sprayed on the flames. As a result of the pressure created, the CO2 gas exits the extinguisher at a very high speed.

The oxygen in the area surrounding the flames is instantly replaced with carbon dioxide so the fire can no longer continue to feed itself with oxygen. Through this process, CO2 extinguishers do not cool the fire down and, as a result, they are not effective for fires involving wood, paper or cooking oils.

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What are CO2 fire extinguishers used for?

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are generally used for putting out electrical fires and are often paired with Foam Extinguishers to create a full-service extinguisher location. The fires that CO2 extinguishers are used for most often involve electrical equipment such as generators or computers and are informally recognised as Class E fires. However, CO2 extinguishers are also used effectively for fires involving flammable liquids such as paint, diesel or petrol, otherwise known as Class B fires.

Due to safety concerns, they cannot be used in confined spaces or for high volume liquid flammables, specifically Class F fires, those involving grease and oils. For example, if a chip pan catches fire and a CO2 extinguisher was used in an attempt to control the flame, the force of the gas would blast the flames into the surrounding space. When used in a confined space, if the space is small enough, there is also the risk of asphyxiation. This is because the CO2 replaces the oxygen around the fire and can also replace the oxygen that the individual using the extinguisher needs to breathe.

How do CO2 fire extinguishers work?

To use the extinguisher, the safety pin must be removed in order to break the extinguisher’s anti-tamper seal. Then, standing a good distance away from the fire, the user should aim the horn of the extinguisher at the fire’s base and direct the extinguisher’s gust of gas back and forth. For an electrical fire, if it is safe to do so, it is important to turn off the electrical appliance or equipment which is on fire. For liquid fires, it is important to be cautious and not splash the flaming liquid onto any other surfaces.

To easily distinguish between types of fire extinguishers, each different suppressant is displayed with a different colour. CO2 fire extinguisher colour will be a black on a band reading “CO2” over it.

To ensure that your extinguishers are used and stored properly we supply CO2 Fire Extinguisher Sign and Seal Kits, these incorporate accurate signage and safety seals that stop extinguishers being accidentally activated. For a convenient way to store extinguishers we supply not only individual Extinguisher Stands and Brackets but also Bundle Kits that give you everything needed to install and store extinguishers safely in the workplace.

Where are CO2 fire extinguisher used?

Due to the specialised nature of CO2 fire extinguishers, there are a number of environments which should always have CO2 extinguishers on hand. Environments with a high number of electrical appliances, equipment, or wires should have access to CO2 extinguishers. Stores, hospitals, offices, and schools are all environments with electrical equipment and wires that could potentially start fires. CO2 fire extinguisher sizes vary and are usually available in 2kg and 5kg weights, it is best to consider where the extinguisher is to be used before deciding on the size needed for your location. A combination of foam and CO2 fire extinguishers is especially useful for these environments because together they cover the large majority of fires.

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