How to know whether you need a foam or dry chemical powder fire extinguisher?

We all should be aware of and abide by fire safety rules. However, while businesses follow them on the pain of a fine, ordinary people may sometimes overlook them. “It can happen to anyone but me” is the most widespread misconception that may lead you to a no-way-out situation. But if you aren’t going to jeopardize yourself and your loved ones, it’s worth refreshing the information about fire extinguishers. You should know where it makes more sense to use a powder fire extinguisher and when you’d want to reach for its foam counterpart. After all, your house, hotel, school, or any other place may turn into a fire hazard in the twinkling of an eye.

Powder and foam extinguishers make many confused, so let’s get deeper to figure out which one to choose for your situation.

What’s behind a powder extinguisher?

More often than not, you may find yourself baffled when searching for an agent to fight fires caused by electrical equipment (C type) or more “typical” fires of A and B types. Let’s start with a small dry powder fire extinguisher. It may seem a perfect option for your home, but don’t jump to a conclusion.

It’s better to stay away from this device unless it’s a real emergency. A dry chemical powder fire extinguisher isn’t eco-friendly and can damage your property and health. Its composition creates a big cloud of dust to cut off the oxygen, so all your stuff may be covered with chemicals and require replacement after extinguishing.

If you use a powder fire extinguisher indoors, the powder may damage everything it gets on. That often means you can say bye to your favorite mats and chairs.

On top of that, if you fail to put on a protective mask in advance, you risk inhaling dispersed chemicals that can harm your lungs. The cloud from this extinguisher can also decrease visibility inside the building, so it may be problematic to get out fast.

Advantages of a foam extinguisher over a powder extinguisher

When it comes to gas fires, a foam extinguisher takes a back seat because it only works for A and B fire types. The foam released from this device creates a blanket on the burning stuff to put out the fire and prevent reignition. However, a small dry powder fire extinguisher may be enough to fight larger fires than the same-sized foam one.

Even though a foam extinguisher is considered harmful when you’re exposed to it, it is eco-friendlier and easier to clean up than its powder rival. There is no risk of inhalation, and it can’t ruin your property. So if fire sweeps through your kitchen, you can safely use a foam extinguisher to put it out.

The verdict

If you’re going to protect a historic building, you’d want to opt for a foam extinguisher since the powder can be as damaging as the fire. The same goes for residential property. Nonetheless, when it comes to C-type fires indoors or outdoors, a powder extinguisher wins the battle.