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The Cold Truth About CO2 Fire Extinguishers: Don't Get Burned

Hello fire safety enthusiasts! Today, we’re delving into the fascinating world of CO2 fire extinguishers. Now, before you hit the snooze button, let me tell you why this matters.

Not too long ago, I stumbled upon a LinkedIn post that caught my attention. A team had attended a fire warden training session with a well-known provider, and they were proudly showcasing their fire safety skills. The post included a picture of a team member holding a CO2 fire extinguisher. On the surface, all seemed well, but for those in the know, the manner in which the extinguisher was being held could have led to frost burn. Yikes!

CO2 Fire Extinguisher

So, what’s the right way to wield these icy canisters? Let’s find out!

What is a CO2 Fire Extinguisher?

First things first: CO2 fire extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas that works wonders on electrical fires. The CO2 replaces the oxygen in the air and smothers the fire. Plus, it leaves behind no residue, making it ideal for spaces filled with electronic gadgets and gizmos.

What Types of Fires Can CO2 Extinguishers Be Used On?

CO2 fire extinguishers are mainly effective for Class B and Electrical fires:

Class B: Fires involving flammable liquids like flammable substances (E.g., ethanol), petrol, diesel, or oils.

They are also excellent for electrical fires but remember, never use a CO2 fire extinguisher on wood, paper, or textile fires. For those, you'll need a water-based extinguisher.

How to Use a CO2 Fire Extinguisher: The Right Way

1. Pin & Position

Locate the safety pin and pull it out. Yes, you can finally act out that action-hero moment you’ve been rehearsing in your head. But remember, this is not a toy! Hold the extinguisher upright and stand at least 1–2 metres away from the fire.

2. Horn Handling

The horn of a CO2 extinguisher gets extremely cold when in use. Never hold the horn directly; always hold the extinguisher by its handle. Failure to do so could result in frost burn. That's what our LinkedIn pals got wrong!

CO2 Fire Extinguisher

Update: Some modern CO2 extinguishers are designed in a way that makes it safe to hold the horn. Carefully check your carbon dioxide extinguisher type to ensure it clearly states it is safe to hold the horn. Another check can be to see if the horn looks different to normal with a thicker plastic and holes in it. However, I'd personally still recommend holding them by the handle to limit any risk. Better safe than sorry, right?

3. Squeeze & Sweep

Squeeze the lever to release the CO2 and use a sweeping motion to cover the area of the fire. The aim is to get the CO2 to displace the oxygen and suffocate the fire. Try to attack the fire at its base for maximum effectiveness.

4. Assess & Act

Once the fire appears to be out, don't turn your back on it immediately. Fires can be sneaky and reignite. If it does, well, you know what to do!

Final Thoughts

The world of fire safety is far from boring. It’s filled with action, suspense, and if done right, happy endings. So the next time you see someone holding a CO2 fire extinguisher the wrong way, be a hero and teach them the right technique. You’ll be saving more than just the day!

Remember, knowledge extinguishes fear. Stay safe, everyone!

So, there you have it! The next time you’re near a CO2 fire extinguisher, you'll know exactly what to do. Feel free to share this blog post with your friends, family, and co-workers. Let's make the world a safer place, one extinguisher at a time!

P.S. Elevate Your Fire Safety Game With Our Fire Warden Training!

Are you inspired to become a fire safety champion? Great news! We offer comprehensive Fire Warden Training services, which include not just the theory but also practical use of fire extinguishers.

Contact us today to find out more and book your session. Let's make the world a safer place, one extinguisher at a time!


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