Class C Fires

Understanding Class C Fires: Flammable Gas Fires

When it comes to fire safety, it’s essential to be well-versed in the different classes of fires and the best ways to combat them. In this blog post, we’ll focus on Class C fires, also known as flammable gas fires. Understanding these fires is crucial for your safety and the safety of those around you.

What Are Class C Fires?

Class C fires involve flammable gases. They can occur in various settings, including industrial environments, laboratories, and even in the home. These fires can be any flammable gases such as propane, butane, methane, and natural gas.

Types of Fire Extinguishers for Class C Fires

Class C is not one of the more common types of fire. This can make them a challenge to find protection for. However, there are a few types of extinguishers that can be used on Class C fires:

1. Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers (ABC): These versatile extinguishers can be used on flammable gas fires along with Class A (ordinary combustibles), Class B (flammable liquids) and Electrical fires. They typically contain a mixture of monoammonium phosphate and ammonium sulfate as the extinguishing agent.

2. Monnex Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers: The Monnex fire extinguisher was created for high-risk circumstances likely on an industrial level. This fire extinguisher is given the BCE fire rating meaning it is able to combat Class B, C and Electrical fires.

3. Clean Agent Fire Extinguishers: These extinguishers use gases such as Halon, Halotron, or FM-200 to suppress fires without leaving residue. They are safe for use on Class C fires and are commonly used in data centres and other sensitive electronic environments.

Extinguishing Class C Fires

If you have to deal with a Class C fire, it is essential to use the appropriate fire extinguisher to avoid exacerbating the situation. Understanding which fire extinguisher to use and how to use them on a live fire is vital for your safety and the safety of others. Here’s how to use one of these fire extinguishers:

1. Pull the Pin: The first step is to pull the pin to break the tamper seal.

2. Aim at the Base: Aim the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire, not at the flames.

3. Squeeze the Handle: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.

4. Sweep Side to Side: Using a side-to-side sweeping motion, cover the entire fire until it is out.

Remember that safety is a priority when dealing with any fire. If a fire is out of control or you’re unsure how to use a fire extinguisher, evacuate the area and call emergency services immediately.

Examples of Flammable Gases

Understanding which gases are flammable is crucial in identifying a Class C fire. Here are some examples of flammable gases:

1. Propane: Commonly used in grills, camping stoves, and heating systems.

2. Butane: Often found in portable butane stoves, cigarette lighters, and aerosol propellants.

3. Methane: The main component of natural gas used for heating and cooking.

4. Hydrogen: Used in various industrial applications, including the production of ammonia and as a rocket fuel.

5. Acetylene: Commonly used in welding and cutting applications.

6. Ethylene: Found in certain industrial processes and used in the production of plastics.

Understanding the flammable gases in your environment is the first step in preventing potential fires.

In conclusion, Class C fires (fires fueled by flammable gases) can pose significant dangers if not handled correctly. It’s crucial to be aware of the types of flammable gases in your surroundings and have the appropriate fire extinguisher on hand. 

Safety and preparedness are key in preventing and managing fires, ensuring the well-being of both people and property.

Electrical fires

Electrical Fires – How are they caused, and how do we deal with them?

Electrical fires are fires that originate from issues within electrical systems, equipment, or devices. These fires arise when electrical components experience overheating, electrical arcing, or short circuits, which can, in turn, ignite nearby materials like insulation, wiring, or flammable substances.

How do they occur?

One primary factor contributing to electrical fires is overloading circuits, a scenario in which an excessive number of electrical devices or appliances are connected to a single circuit, resulting in an excessive current flow that overheats the wires and potentially leads to a fire hazard. 

Additionally, faulty wiring poses a substantial risk, particularly in cases of aged or damaged wiring with inadequate insulation or improper installation. Wiring that is exposed, frayed, or corroded can also be very dangerous. Electrical equipment malfunctions, such as defective switches, outlets, or appliances, can also be triggers for fires, highlighting the importance of regular maintenance and inspection of electrical systems to prevent these hazardous incidents.

How to identify an electrical fire?

Identifying an electrical fire is crucial for ensuring safety in your home or workplace. There are several key signs to watch for. First and foremost, look for any unusual smell, often described as a burning or melting smell, which may indicate overheating or melting of electrical components. Many people say an electrical fire can emit a fishy scent. This typically means it has just started. The fish odour is caused by electrical components overheating that haven’t begun to burn up. Their heat-resistant chemical coatings can also release a fishy smell when burned.

Also keep an eye out for sparks or flashes of light coming from electrical outlets or appliances, as these can be clear indicators of an electrical fire. If you hear crackling or buzzing sounds near electrical outlets or wiring, it could suggest a potential fire hazard. 

How to deal with electrical fires?

Dealing with these fires requires a cautious and systematic approach to ensure safety.

Stay Calm: The first and most crucial step is to remain calm. Panic can lead to hasty decisions that may worsen the situation.

Cut the Power: Quickly locate the power source and shut it off. This can be done by switching off the circuit breaker or unplugging the affected appliance. Cutting the power supply is essential to prevent further electrical flow to the fire.

Use a Fire Extinguisher: If the fire is small and contained, you can attempt to extinguish it using the correct fire extinguisher, which is designed for electrical fires. Ensure you know how to use the extinguisher properly, following the PASS (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) technique. For types of fire extinguishers view lower down in this post.

DO NOT Use Water: Never use a standard water fire extinguisher to put out an electrical fire. Water conducts electricity and can lead to electrical shock or the spread of a fire.

Evacuate Safely: If the fire grows beyond your control, or if you are unsure about how to handle it, prioritise your safety and evacuate the premises. Close doors behind you to contain the fire and prevent its spread. Call the fire service immediately from a safe distance.

Wait for Professionals: Even if you believe you have extinguished the fire, it’s essential to wait for the fire department to arrive and confirm that it is safe. Electrical fires can reignite, and professionals have the necessary tools and expertise to handle them.

Remember, safety should always be the top priority when dealing with electrical fires. If in doubt, evacuate and call the professionals. It’s better to be cautious and let trained firefighters handle the situation.

Which fire extinguishers can fight electrical fires?

Electrical fires as we have explained are very dangerous. This means they are more difficult to contain and extinguish. Electrical fires are not their own fire classification which also makes them more difficult to handle. They however can be fought and extinguished with these extinguishers:

Dry Powder – Dry Powder fire extinguishers are very versatile and a main staple in a lot of fire safety setups. These fire extinguishers can be used on Class A, Class B, Class C and Electrical fires making them the most versatile fire extinguisher on the market. Electrical fires aren’t their own class of fire because they are seen as more a form of ignition than fuel. But when Electricity is present, Water must not be used.

CO2 – CO2 fire extinguishers are perfect for fighting Class B fires and Electrical fires. Its properties allow it not to damage electrical equipment so therefore makes it a great choice for situations where electrical fires are a risk. CO2 extinguishers have a B fire rating but can also combat electrical fires. 

Electrical fires aren’t their own class of fire because they are seen as more a form of ignition than fuel. CO2 extinguishers are good as they do not leave a harmful residue behind, this is what makes them desirable compared to a lot of the other extinguishers.

To find out more about these types of extinguishers and all the other types of extinguishers, check out our explanation of all the types HERE.

Conclusion

In conclusion, electrical fires can be incredibly dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations that can arise from various sources, such as faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, or damaged appliances. Understanding the causes and being prepared to deal with these fires is crucial for ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you.

By understanding the causes of electrical fires and knowing how to respond effectively, you can significantly reduce the potential harm they pose. Fire safety is a shared responsibility, and being prepared can make all the difference in preventing damage, injuries, and even fatalities.

specialist fire extinguishers

Specialist Fire Extinguishers

Specialist Fire Extinguishers

A specialist fire extinguisher is a type of fire extinguisher that is designed and manufactured to extinguish specific types of fires involving particular classes of fire hazards. These extinguishers are intended for use in situations where conventional fire extinguishers may not be effective or safe. Specialist fire extinguishers are typically labelled with symbols and classifications to indicate the types of fires they are designed to combat.

There are several different types of specialist fire extinguishers, each designed for specific fire hazards.

L2 Dry Powder

L2 Dry Powder 9kg fire extinguisher is highly effective against a wide range of Class D general metal and lithium metal fires. Unlike other Class D fire extinguishers, the L2 Dry Powder fire extinguisher can tackle lithium fires which are very dangerous.

An L2 Dry Powder fire extinguisher great specialist fire extinguisher is designed to put out Class D fires. Class D fires are rare and challenging to put out. Because of this, they are not protected by standard fire extinguishers. Flammable metal fires are extremely hazardous and strong, making them difficult to put out. For this reason, this fire extinguisher must be used. The L2 fire extinguisher’s unique quality is its ability to put out lithium fires. Compared to M28 Powder fire extinguishers, which cannot put out lithium fires, this is its advantage.

These special powder extinguishers are designed specifically to fight combustible metal fires (Class D), such as sodium, magnesium and aluminium typically in the form of machined swarf or powder. 

In summary, L2 Dry Powder fire extinguishers offer significant protection over these fire risks but care should be taken to ensure you choose the correct type for your application and to be aware of their limitations.

Monnex Dry Powder

Monnex was developed for high-risk situations, making it ideal for all Class BCE fires. It’s a great solution for processing and storing flammable liquids including liquefied natural gas, hydrocarbon oils, petrol and fuel. Additionally, it works particularly well against industrial chemicals that are more difficult to eliminate with conventional dry chemical powders, such as alcohol, ketones, ethers, and esters.

A Monnex dry powder fire extinguisher is a type of fire extinguisher that contains a special dry chemical powder called potassium bicarbonate-based Monnex. Monnex is specifically designed to combat Class B (flammable liquids) and Class C (flammable gases) and Electrical fires.

Monnex Dry Powder at first glance may seem like it is just a regular Dry Powder fire extinguisher that cannot combat Class A fires. However, Monnex Dry Powder is used for higher-risk situations and can combat higher-class fires. This is where it outshines the standard Dry Powder (ABC) fire extinguishers.

Despite their many advantages, it’s important to note that Monnex Dry Powder extinguishers may not be suitable for all fire situations. They can also create a cloud of powder that may obscure visibility and make breathing difficult, so they should be used with caution in enclosed spaces. Additionally, Monnex extinguishers should be used in accordance with their specific instructions and training to ensure safe and effective fire suppression.

M28 Powder

M28 Powder fire extinguishers are similar to L2 in the fact that they can both combat Metal or Class D fires. However, the M28 Powder extinguisher cannot fight Lithium fires. Lithium fires are among some of the most dangerous and powerful types of fire.

If you are in need of a Class D fire extinguisher but you will not have to protect against Lithium fires, M28 Powder extinguishers are the extinguisher for you. Due to them not combating Lithium fires, this makes them slightly cheaper than the L2 Dry Powder extinguisher.

Summary

Specialist fire extinguishers like L2 Dry Powder and Monnex Dry Powder serve critical roles in fire safety, with specific uses and buying reasons based on their unique properties and practicalities. L2 Dry Powder extinguishers are designed for combating flammable metal fires (Class D fires), such as those involving magnesium or lithium. Their primary use is in industrial settings where these metals are present, and their high-velocity discharge effectively blankets the fire to starve it of oxygen, making them indispensable for specialised metalworking operations. 

Monnex Dry Powder extinguishers, on the other hand, excel in handling Class B and Class C fires, including flammable liquids and gases. Their quick knockdown capability and wide application range make them valuable for chemical plants, refineries, and areas with diverse fire risks.

When considering the purchase of these specialist fire extinguishers, strict safety regulations, industry-specific requirements, and the need to protect valuable assets are usually the main reasons. Industries prone to metal fires, like aerospace or manufacturing, opt for L2 Dry Powder extinguishers to meet safety standards and protect expensive equipment.

Monnex Dry Powder extinguishers, on the other hand, are favoured by sectors dealing with flammable substances, such as oil and gas, as a versatile solution to address a range of fire hazards. In both cases, purchasing decisions are guided by compliance with safety codes, risk assessments, and the specific fire risks present in the environment.

Overall, these specialist fire extinguishers play indispensable roles in safeguarding lives, property, and industrial operations by addressing unique fire risks with tailored solutions.