What do fire extinguisher ratings mean?
In the UK, all quality fire extinguishers capable of extinguishing class A and B fires should carry a fire rating. The fire rating of the particular extinguisher is indicated by a number and letter, e.g. 34B.
The number indicates the size of fire it can extinguish. The size of the fires indicated are for fires put out under test conditions and the larger the number, the larger the fire it can extinguish.
There are established test methods for determining the size of the fire that a particular extinguisher can deal with but if you would like more advice on this please contact us for further information.
The fire classification is indicated by the letter as shown below.
Foam extinguishers, for example, carry both class A and class B ratings because of the properties of the extinguishing agent.
The different classes of extinguisher rating are listed below:
Class B - Suitable for flammable liquids.
Type of fire extinguisher - Foam, Dry Powder, Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Class C - Suitable for flammable gasses.
Type of fire extinguisher - Dry Powder
Class F - Suitable for cooking oil and fat.
Type of fire extinguisher - Wet Chemical
Electrical Risk - Suitable for electrical equipment.
Type of fire extinguisher - Dry Powder, Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
In addition to the fire rating system above, quality fire extinguishers in the UK are also colour coded for easy identification and should also be clearly labelled with the operational instructions for that particular fire extinguisher.
If you buy a fire extinguisher, you should always make sure that it has a BS (BSI) Kitemark and also a CE mark. These marks indicate that the fire extinguisher is BAFE (British Approval for Fire Equipment) approved and that they are compliant with the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED).
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