Fire extinguishers are usually the first line of defense against devastating blazes. For businesses, a commercial fire extinguisher is a critical piece of equipment that can save life and property in case of a fire emergency. Besides, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide employees with portable fire extinguishing equipment that they can use to fight incipient stage fires in the workplace.
However, finding the best fire extinguisher can be a bit challenging as there are so many types of fire extinguishers available. Each type of extinguisher is created for a specific type of fire and may only be suited for certain situations. So, let’s have a quick look at the different classes of fires and fire extinguisher classes.
Classes of Fires
The classes of fire extinguishers are usually determined by fire classes which are categorized by what caused the fire. They are as follows:
- Class A: solid materials such as paper, fabric, wood, and some plastics
- Class B: gases or liquids like ether, gasoline, alcohol, or grease
- Class C: electrical failure from electronic equipment and appliances
- Class D: metallic substances like magnesium, titanium, sodium, and zirconium
- Class K: oil or grease fires that occur from cooking
Finding the best fire extinguisher for office or fire extinguisher for kitchen should be determined by the biggest fire risks in your facility.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
Here are some common fire extinguishers for your business.
- Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers: These types of extinguishers remove heat and oxygen from a fire. They work well in laboratories, but you can use them on Class B and C fires. They cannot also be used on fires caused by metals.
- Class K Wet Chemical Extinguishers: These are a must-have for any commercial kitchen. They are used to fight cooking fires and they extinguish gas fires by creating a foam blanket that prevents reigniting of the fire.
- ABC Fire Extinguisher: You can use this extinguisher on class A, B, and C fires. This extinguisher is an excellent choice for the office. It extinguishes fires using a special powder that easily puts out fires caused by electrical failure, burning liquids, and gases.
- Class D Extinguishers: These extinguishers do a great job putting out fires caused by metals including magnesium, titanium, sodium, and zirconium. These extinguishers use a sodium chloride agent to smother the fire.
- Water Mist Extinguisher: For buildings with expensive and sensitive machinery, you want to use water mist extinguishers. The ABC extinguishers tend to leave a huge mess and can damage expensive machinery. The water mist on the other hand is a lot gentler and will put out the fire without causing further damage to your valuable machinery.
Best Commercial Fire Extinguishers
- Top Pick: Amerex B260 Wet Chemical Class A K Fire Extinguisher
- Runner Up: First Alert PRO10 Professional Fire Extinguisher
- Best Value: Kidde FA110 Multipurpose Fire Extinguishers
Amerex B260 Wet Chemical Class A K Fire Extinguisher
Top Pick: This Amerex extinguisher is designed for class A and class K fires, which makes it the perfect extinguisher for the kitchen. This extinguisher has a 53-second discharge rate and a temperature range of +40°F to 120°F. It is also super hardy thanks to the stainless-steel cylinder that is also complemented with the durable stainless-steel valve. This is all backed with a 5-year manufacturer warranty.
First Alert PRO10 Professional Fire Extinguisher
Runner Up: Of course, with fire extinguishers, you buy them but also hope that you never have to use them, but when you do, you need to have a reliable extinguisher like the PRO 10 by First Alert. This heavy-duty extinguisher is made of durable metal construction and a commercial grade trigger and valve and also comes with a color-coded gauge that provides accurate measurement. This extinguisher is ideal for commercial spaces and can be used to fight paper, flammable liquid, wood, fabric, and electrical fires. The canister can also be refilled, charged, and used again.
Kidde FA110 Multipurpose Fire Extinguishers – 2 Pack
Best Value: Keep your business safe from fires using Kiddie multipurpose extinguishers. This extinguisher is made of lightweight aluminum and a tough nylon valve assembly that does a great job of directing the extinguishing agent to the fire source. This extinguisher is suitable for use on Class A, B, and C fires. Mount in on the wall with the included bracket for faster retrieval when needed.
Buckeye ABC Fire Extinguisher
The Buckeye ABC fire extinguisher is a multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher that’s suitable for putting out Class A, B, and C fires. This makes it a great option for classrooms, churches, offices, hotel assembly halls, parking garages and so on. The cylinder is made of industrial grade steel and aluminum that easily withstand rough usage and harsh environments. This extinguisher has a 14-second discharge time and a 12 to 18 feet discharge range.
Kidde ProLine 5 CO2 Fire Extinguisher
The ProLine 5 is an easy to use dry-chemical extinguisher. It comes with an easy-to-read pressure gauge that allows you to check the status at a glance. It also comes with an easy-pull release and impact-resistant valve and lever for a smooth hassle-free operation. This extinguisher is safe to use around electronics and food. It is also rechargeable.
Amerex ABC Dry Chemical Extinguisher – 3 Pack
When it comes to fire extinguishers, Amerex gets A+ for reliability. And that is what you want in a fire extinguisher, right? This heavy-duty ABC fire extinguisher will certainly get the job done. It comes with and steel casing and anodized aluminum valves that make it durable enough to withstand a fire. This batch comes in a pack of three. They are also economical and easy to maintain and service.
First Alert PRO5 Fire Extinguisher
Like the PRO10 the First Alert PRO5 is a tough and durable fire extinguisher that’s made of a durable metal construction that’s well complemented with a commercial grade valve and trigger. This extinguisher is effective against flammable liquid, fabric, wood, paper, and electrical equipment fires. It also comes with an accurate color-coded gauge and a bracket and strap are included for secure mounting.
Cold Fire All Season Extinguisher
Like the name suggests, this fire extinguisher contains an “all-season” formula. It is an environmentally friendly extinguisher and can be used in extremely cold weather up to -20 degrees F. The formula is effective on A, B, D, and K fires, and it also does not expire.
What to Look for When Buying Fire Extinguishers
Finding the best fire extinguisher will largely be determined by the type of fire that is likely to occur in your business. Here are some additional things that you need to keep in mind.
- Pressure Gauge: Check this often to make sure you are ready to fight a fire at any time. Also make sure you take your rechargeable units to a certified station for recharging.
- Letter Rating: A commercial fire extinguisher will contain a letter rating that tells you the type of fires it can put out.
- Number Rating: The number that precedes the letter and implies the size of fire the extinguisher can put off. Multiply the number before the “A” with 1.25 to get its equivalent in gallons of water.
- Damage: For buildings that have expensive machines such as hospitals and offices, you need to use the water mist extinguishers as they are a lot less likely to cause damage to the machines.
- Durability: Some of the best extinguishers come in a steel casing and equally durable metal valves and levers.
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This article, “The Best Commercial Fire Extinguisher for Your Business” was first published on Small Business Trends