The 8 Best Fire Extinguishers
8. Kidde FA110
- costs under 20 dollars
- easy-pull safety pin
- plastic handle may fail
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
7. Max Pro Fire Gone
- made with aqueous filming foams
- compact and portable
- only suitable for contained fires
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
6. Kidde 466204 Pro
- discharge range of 20 feet
- 10 pounds of extinguishing agent
- too large and heavy for kids to use
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
5. Amerex 240
- all metal valve construction
- ideal for flaming wood coal or paper
- cannot be used on electrical fires
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
4. Think Safe 911-83700
- restricts oxygen supply to flames
- hangs from hooks or pegs
- instructions printed on bag
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
3. Amerex B260
- discharges in 53 seconds
- includes wall bracket
- canister is rechargeable
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Kidde 468003 Pro Plus
- safety pin is quick to remove
- 20 lbs of extinguishing agent
- picture instructions on unit
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
1. Badger Advantage 21007866
- heavy-duty metal siphon tube
- no-scratch hose straps
- large pull pin for easy removal
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
Quelling The Savage Flame
Fire is one of the oldest and most dangerous chemical reactions known to man. If left unchecked, it causes rapid devastation of an extremely high magnitude. The potential dangers caused by fire necessitate an integral need to understand its dynamics, to learn about the available resources for containment, and to prevent (or mitigate) a disaster before it occurs or escalates. While professional firefighters undergo extensive training with special equipment to combat fires and other hazards on a large scale, the lay person doesn't always have these things at their disposal. The fire extinguisher serves an important role for ordinary consumers and business owners forced to deal with such eventualities in a domestic or professional capacity.
A fire extinguisher is a handheld, cylindrical-shaped device made from steel and typically red in color. Armed with one of several pressurized agents, the device is designed to put out small blazes that erupt in the home or place of business. The particular agent chosen for the extinguisher depends on the type of environment in which the device is to be used, as well as the class of fire it's designed to extinguish. Each individual agent works in tandem with a particular propellant inside the device to remove at least one element from the combustion triangle that defines the driving forces of a fire's energy.
Although extinguishers are available in several types, three major categories include water, dry chemical, and carbon dioxide. The water extinguisher is the most common type and uses compressed air as its propellant to remove a fire's heat source. A dry chemical extinguisher consists of a tank full of either foam or dry powder with compressed nitrogen for a propellant. Instead of removing heat, the dry chemical extinguisher smothers the fire, cutting off its fuel source from the surrounding oxygen. The carbon dioxide extinguisher contains a mixture of carbon dioxide in both its liquid and gaseous states. Carbon dioxide must be stored under high pressure in order to remain in its liquid form. When that pressure is released by the device, the gas expands and cools significantly, smothering the fire's oxygen and removing the flame's heat source at the same time.
Fire extinguishers are divided into several categories: A, B, C, D, and K, each one representing the corresponding type of fire it is meant to fight. Class A extinguishers handle fires caused by ordinary solid combustables like wood, cloth, and paper. Oil, gasoline, and paint fall into the class B category, while electrical equipment and tools constitute class C. Class D extinguishers handle fires caused by flammable metals, while class K devices are dedicated to quelling flames caused by cooking or vegetable oils.
Avoid Feeling The Burn
Safety for one's self, loved ones, and colleagues is the most important consideration to make when first installing a fire extinguisher in a home or place of business. Proper practical knowledge combined with an understanding of the different classes of device available, and the specific fires they're meant to combat, are all vital ingredients to remaining informed, prepared, and safe from danger. Your life will depend on it. Armed with the knowledge that a class C fire constitutes electrical equipment as the source, for example, one is ill advised to use a water extinguisher to combat at electrical fire. Everyone in the family should also be taught how to operate the device in the event of an emergency. Installing the fire extinguisher in a location that is easy to access and close to an exit is also beneficial, so you don't have to run past any flames to leave the area if the fire gets out of control.
The fire extinguisher chosen should be lightweight enough for anyone in the family to grab quickly and easily. A good canister weight is between five and 10 pounds, which provides enough extinguishing agent to take care of most kinds of domestic fires. The device chosen should also be equipped with clearly-indicated instructions on its outer canister and an easy-to-read pressure gauge.
One must consider whether a rechargeable or disposable extinguisher works best around the house. Rechargeable units are typically more durable and expensive than disposable units. They are equipped with metal valves and are relatively easy to refill, which are qualities that come in handy when you need to place several extinguishers around the house and you don't want to have to replace them each time they're used.
A Brief History Of Fire Extinguishers
Although human curiosity for controlling fire has a deep-seeded history that dates back over one million years, the first rudimentary fire extinguisher didn't appear until 1666 during the Middle Ages. A device known as a squirt was used as a simple jet of water applied to the base of a fire. Functioning like a bicycle pump, the device's nozzle was dipped into water and used to suck up the liquid with plunger-like action. The nozzle was then directed toward the base of a fire and used to eject the water.
The first automatic fire extinguisher was patented in 1723 by English chemist Ambrose Godfrey. Godfrey's device consisted of a cask filled with an extinguishing agent and a pewter chamber of gunpowder connected to a series of fuses. Igniting the fuses caused the gunpowder to explode, dispersing the extinguishing agent.
The modern portable fire extinguisher was invented by British Captain George William Manby in 1818, which consisted of a copper vessel containing a solution of potassium carbonate and compressed air.
By 1924, the first carbon dioxide extinguisher was invented by the Walter Kidde Company as a response to a previous request for a non-conductive chemical for extinguishing fires coming from telephone switchboards.
Recent developments since the middle of the 20th century have included the expanded use of pressurized extinguishing agents, water mist extinguishers, and aerosol systems.