Fires come in many different shapes and sizes. As such, it’s essential to have the right fire protection device to combat specific types of fires. One of these devices is CO2 fire extinguishers.

What exactly are CO2 extinguishers? That’s what we will discuss in today’s post. By the end of this post, you will have all the fundamentals you need to know about this type of fire extinguisher, including what they are used for.

CO2 fire extinguishers 101

CO2 stands for carbon dioxide. As the name implies, this type of fire extinguisher uses carbon dioxide to kill fires. CO2 fire extinguishers are also classified as Class B fire extinguishers.

CO2 fire extinguishers are for Class B fires.

Class B extinguishers are made to snuff Class B fires or those that originated from flammable liquids such as diesel, oil, and petrol (not including cooking oils) and electrical equipment and appliances.

One of the main advantages of using this type of extinguisher is there will be no mess or residue left upon discharge.

This feature is especially important for areas with sensitive electrical devices that can’t come in contact with water.

Utilize fire extinguishers that use carbon dioxide rather than water for Class B fires.

The extinguishing agent used in this type of device makes it the ideal extinguisher in computer and data server rooms, laboratories, engine compartments, clean rooms, boats, generator rooms, flammable liquid storage rooms, and other similar types of places.

How DO CO2 Extinguishers Work?

Class B fires must be extinguished by C02 fire extinguishers.

If your property is at risk for Class B fires, then you must always have a CO2 extinguisher easily accessible and available. Also, it would be ideal to have a basic understanding of how this fire protection device works.

As mentioned above, this type of extinguisher uses carbon dioxide as its primary fire extinguishing agent. The carbon dioxide is stored in the device in its liquid state.

When you discharge the device, the carbon dioxide in its liquid form is expelled into the air. It then neutralizes or offsets the oxygen from the air that is fueling the fire.

Once the carbon dioxide interacts with the oxygen in the air, the reaction can quickly disable the growth of the fire.

The liquid state of the carbon dioxide inside the extinguisher is also at freezing temperatures. This means that aside from putting out the fire, it also prevents it from spreading further.

The Safe Use of CO2 Fire Extinguishers

One of the primary considerations when operating any type of fire protection and safety device is safety. It’s no different with CO2 extinguishers. Before you discharge it, you have to make sure it is safe to do so.

As written above, this type of extinguisher is created to combat Class B and electrical fires.

Look out for the following before you discharge the device:

  • If the safety pin is bent, don’t use it.
  • Keep a safe distance between you and the fire before you remove the safety pin.
  • If it’s safe, turn off the electrical equipment before you aim the extinguisher at the fire and discharge it.
  • Make sure you don’t come in close contact with the horn – otherwise, it may give you frost burns. For your convenience, you can buy extinguishers with frost-free horns.
  • If you’re trying to put out flammable liquids, aim the horn of the device at the base and gradually move across the fire.
  • Don’t clasp the lever too abruptly. Make sure to squeeze it slowly to discharge the device.

Here are more important points you must remember about CO2 extinguishers.

  • The discharge scope of CO2 extinguishers is relatively small. Once the carbon dioxide is dispelled from the device, it will naturally spread, as all gases do.
  • Because of this, the discharge scope of the carbon dioxide stream is only between 3 and 10 feet. The range is half the average scope for ABC fire extinguishers.
  • CO2 extinguishers can cause frostbite. The carbon dioxide stored inside the extinguisher is kept at ice-cold temperature. The cold helps to lower down the heat of the fire, consequently killing it.

However, when the extremely cold carbon dioxide comes in contact with the bare skin, it can cause severe frostbite.

Does your commercial building have the right type of fire extinguishers?

To effectively kill a fire, you must have the right fire protection device. Our fire extinguisher professionals can do a comprehensive check on your building to ensure that you have the proper extinguishers. Please get in touch with us today to learn more about proper fire safety and protection.