What Is a Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Best For: How to Use It For Optimum Fire Safety and Protection

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers are great multi-purpose stainless steel dry chemical fire extinguishers that deliver solid fire protection. They are among the most popular fire extinguishers because they can be used in many fire emergencies, including electrical fires.

Nevertheless, not a lot of people know about them. We always get asked, " What is a dry chemical fire extinguisher best for?" Here's a guide to how they work and when to use them safely:

How Do Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers Work?

In general, fire extinguishers remove at least one of the three key elements that keep a fire alive: oxygen, heat, and fuel. Dry Powder extinguishers are filled with monoammonium phosphate, an extinguishing agent that spreads easily and melts over flames. When the powder covers a fire, it blocks oxygen and heat, causing the fire to die.

What is a dry chemical fire extinguisher best for? it is used to fight a lot of types of fires.

Dry chemical fire extinguishers also serve as a great heat shield. The dry powder serves as a shield against radiated heat. If a huge quantity of powder has been released, it can shield and protect surrounding objects from damage.

What Is a Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Best For?

ABE Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers can protect various locations, from offices to shop floors, industrial complexes, factories, construction sites, and even vehicles.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher offers protection against the following kinds of fire risks and fire hazards:

  • Class A – Normal combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, plastic or rubber products
  • Class B – Fires involving combustible flammable liquids such as petrol, oil paint, and solvents
  • Class E – Fires where the ignition source contains Electrically Energized Equipment like motors, switchboards, and electrical appliances.

What Kinds of Fires Does a Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher NOT Work On?

A Dry Powder extinguisher should never be used on the below fire classes:

  • Class C – Fires involving combustible gases, such as LPG, Natural gas, and acetylene
  • Class D – Fires including combustible metals such as aluminum shaving or magnesium

Identifying Dry Chemical Powder Fire Extinguishers

DCP fire extinguishers have a distinctive white band encircling the cylinder near the top. When placed in a building, they must also bear a description sign specifying the types of fires they can or cannot combat. Be aware that there are two types of dry chemical powder fire extinguishers: ABE and BE.

There are ways to identify a dry chemical fire extinguisher.

The most common type is an ABE dry chemical powder fire extinguisher. This is derived from the classes of fire that the extinguisher is effective against - Class A, B, and E.

Another type of dry chemical powder fire extinguisher is a BE dry chemical powder fire extinguisher. This is derived from the classes of fire the extinguisher is effective against - Class B & E. BE-type dry chemical powder fire extinguishers are much less common than ABE type.

Both dry chemical powder fire extinguishers have a white band. However, the description sign should be different.

How Do You Use a Dry Fire Extinguisher?

A dry chemical fire extinguisher should be properly used.

Safety Note: NEVER use a dry powder fire extinguisher in any enclosed area

To safely operate a dry powder fire extinguisher, here are the following steps:

  1. Take out the safety pin and position yourself at a distance considered safe
  2. Aim at the fire's base, utilizing quick backward and forward movements with the jet
  3. If dealing with an electrical fire, assess the safety of turning off the power; if feasible, switch it off. Then, aim the powder jet directly at the fire.

What is the Difference Between a Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher and a CO2 Fire Extinguisher?

1. Different Ingredients

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishing agents are fire extinguishing agents with a history of more than one hundred years. It is cheap, easy to obtain, and prepared. It relies mostly on smothering and partly cooling to put out fires. Carbon dioxide is denser, approximately 1.5 times that of air. A fire extinguisher with dry powder is a type of fire extinguisher; based on the dry powder fire suppressant variety, it can be categorized into:

  • Ordinary dry powder fire extinguisher;
  • Superfine dry powder fire extinguisher.

2. The Way They Work is Different

When the pressure is regular, liquid carbon dioxide immediately turns into vapor. 1kg of liquid carbon dioxide can normally generate approximately 0.5 cubic meters of gas. When you extinguish a fire, carbon dioxide gas displaces air, surrounding the burning object's surface or spreading in a somewhat enclosed area.

This action reduces oxygen levels near the explosive or protective space, creating a suffocating effect to extinguish the fire. The dry powder fire extinguisher includes fire-extinguishing substances such as ammonium phosphate salt. This extinguishing substance is easy to flow and dries rapidly. It comprises inorganic salts and crushed, dried additives, improving its effectiveness in combating the initial fire.

3. Different Features

When you let out carbon dioxide from the storage container, it swiftly changes from liquid to gas, taking in some warmth from the surroundings to bring the temperature down. Dry powder fire extinguishers usually have active firefighting elements, components that repel water, and fillers that are not active.

The water-repelling parts typically include silicone oil and hydrophobic white carbon black. The fillers that are not active come in different types. They primarily prevent shaking and clumping, boost the movement of the dry powder, assist in the polymerization of dry powder and silicone oil, and enhance compatibility with foam fire extinguishers.

A dry chemical fire extinguisher is different from a CO2 fire extinguisher.

4. The Scope of Use is Different

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are primarily used in archives and instrument labs. It leaves no residue behind after spraying, making it a clean choice.

Dry powder fire extinguishers are perfect for extinguishing ABC's three types of fires: solid, gas, and liquid fires.

When Should You Not Use a Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher?

A dry powder fire extinguisher should not be used in any of the following situations:

  • Class F fires: cooking fires, such as chip pan fires
  • Fires that are in enclosed spaces
  • Fires that involve electrical equipment that is over 1000v
  • Fires that involve flammable metals (except specialist dry powder fire extinguishers)

Do You Have the Best Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher?

Most workplaces have electrical stuff that might be a Class C fire risk. Have you got a fire extinguisher for a Class C fire?

If you're unsure whether you have the best fire extinguisher for your home or business, call the experts here at Texas Fire & Safety Equipment. They can help identify your specific hazards and which extinguishers will most effectively protect you and your property.