CO2 fire extinguishers are a valuable safeguard for homes or offices. These extinguishers contain Carbon Dioxide, which is a liquefied gas. They are designed to fight Class B and Class C type fires; CO2 extinguishers are especially efficient because they don’t leave a hard-to-clean mess after being used. It’s of the utmost importance to know that you are using the right kind of extinguisher for a particular fire.
The following four categories of fires are used to decide what type of fire extinguisher to use:
1. Class A-Fires that include such combustible materials as paper, wood, and most plastics.
2. Class B-These fires are caused when certain liquids-including gasoline, oil, grease, and kerosene-are ignited.
3. Class C- CO2 extinguishers are highly effective fighting these types of fires, which include electrical appliances such as television sets, computers, and home entertainment centers.
4. Class D-This type of fire is caused when metals ignite; potassium and titanium and magnesium are three examples.
The average cost for CO2 extinguishers ranges from about $ 140 for a five-pound unit to $ 200 for a 15-pound extinguisher. That will be money well-spent if you have a Class B or Class C fire.
It won’t do you much good to have a CO2 fire extinguisher if you don’t know how to use it. Ask for help from your fire department if the instructions aren’t explicit enough.
The CO2 unit will discharge a white, dust-like, non-flammable Carbon Dioxide vapor that will smother the fire. The spray is highly pressurized and scary if you have never used your extinguisher. You need to be within 3-8 ft of the fire when you release the spray. And it would be wise to keep a pair of cloth work gloves with your extinguisher because the metal parts of a CO2 extinguisher can become so cold that it can damage your hands. Ask an expert from your fire department to show you the proper way to hold your unit while fighting a fire.
Make sure you point the nozzle accurately because you will have little more than ten seconds to hit the fire and smother the flame. That’s more time than it sounds like in a crisis situation.
Make certain you have your extinguisher recharged after any type use. CO2 units don’t come with pressure gauges to inform you when they are low. Each unit will have a “tare” weight stamped on it; that’s the weight when it’s empty. You have to check your unit by subtracting the real weight by the tare weight to find out whether or not you should have it recharged.
Training prior to a possible fire is of the utmost importance. If you haven’t been thoroughly briefed on how to start and hold your CO2 extinguisher, you’re asking for trouble. The best bet is to take your unit to your fire department and have one of their experts show you how to use it. That will reduce the chance of making panic-driven mistakes when you need a calm and deliberate demeanor to fight a fire in your home or office.