Five Facts About Fire Extinguishers

Five Facts About Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are often overlooked until the moment we need them the most. These life-saving devices come in various shapes and sizes, but there’s more to them than meets the eye. In this blog post, we’ll delve into five fascinating facts about fire extinguishers that you might not know.

1. The ABCs of Fire Extinguishers

Most people are familiar with the ABC classification system on fire extinguishers, indicating the types of fires they can effectively combat. However, what’s lesser-known is the exact breakdown of these classifications:

– A: Ordinary combustibles (wood, paper).

– B: Flammable liquids (oil, gasoline).

– C: Flammable gases (propane, methane).

– D: Combustible metals (lithium, magnesium).

– Electrical Fires: Not their own classification but have to be treated as such.

– F: Kitchen fires involving cooking oils and fats.

Understanding the specific classes helps ensure that the right extinguisher is used for the corresponding fire type, maximising its effectiveness. For a more in-depth look into the fire classes, check out our more comprehensive overview HERE.

2. Colour Codes

Have you ever wondered why fire extinguishers come in different colours? The array of colours are not just for aesthetics but they serve as a crucial identifier for the type of extinguishing agent inside:

– Water: Red

– Foam: Cream

– Dry Powder: Blue

– CO2: Black

– Wet Chemical: Yellow

Knowing the colour code can be vital during emergencies when quick identification is essential for swift action.

3. The Importance of Regular Inspections

Fire extinguishers aren’t “install and forget” devices. They require regular inspections to ensure they’re in optimal working condition. Many extinguishers have pressure gauges, and periodic checks can help confirm that the pressure is within the recommended range. Additionally, inspecting for visible signs of damage, such as corrosion or leakage, is crucial for maintaining reliability and usability.

4. The Power of PASS

When it comes to having to operate a fire extinguisher, the acronym PASS can be a handy guide:

– P: Pull the pin

– A: Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire

– S: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent

– S: Sweep from side to side while aiming at the base of the fire

Remembering and practising the PASS technique can make a significant difference in effectively tackling a fire. To find out more about using fire extinguishers and the PASS technique, check out our more in-depth look HERE.

5. Fire Extinguishers Have an Expiry Date

Yes, even fire extinguishers have a shelf life. Most extinguishers are designed to last between 5 to 15 years, depending on their type. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations and the label on the extinguisher to know when it’s time for a replacement. Regular maintenance and proper storage can extend their lifespan, ensuring they remain reliable when needed.


Fire extinguishers are unsung heroes in our daily lives, ready to leap into action when the unexpected occurs. By understanding these five key facts about fire extinguishers, we can appreciate the importance of proper usage, maintenance, and selection of these vital safety devices. Stay informed, and stay safe!