While many residential and commercial settings utilise ABC class fire extinguishers, an industrial facility that deals with volatile metals like magnesium, titanium, or sodium should ensure that on-site staff have quick access to a type D fire extinguisher. A D-class fire extinguisher is designed specifically to fight metal fires, while an ABC class extinguisher can cause the flames to increase. Always have the right prevention tools on-site for the potential dangers at hand.
Knowing Your Fire Safety Plan
If you have a class D extinguisher on-site, you’ll almost certainly need ABC extinguishers as well. Choosing the wrong extinguisher during an emergency can be disastrous, so make sure that different types of fire suppressing equipment are labeled clearly so you avoid confusion. It helps to have a fire plan box in an accessible location so firefighters have an easy time knowing the layout of your building. Fire safety plan boxes layout the location of possible hazards and suppressing equipment. While fire safety plan boxes are commonly used by firefighters, they can also help guide those stuck in a fire, as they lay out what tools can help extinguish a blaze, where potential hazards are and where the exits are. Be sure to keep at least one fire safety box on-site and clearly marked.
Why ABC Extinguishers Won’t Work on D Class Fires
You need a D rated fire extinguisher to handle metallic fires. A number of materials used in industrial and manufacturing areas are combustible despite being metal. These include aluminum, titanium, magnesium, lithium, zirconium, sodium, and potassium. Shavings of these metals can ignite, creating fuel for a fire. Such fires burn extremely hot and can quickly get out of hand if not treated properly. The use of ABC class fire extinguishers can actually make the fires worse since the chemicals that suppress most common household fires can interact with the composition of the metal fire and act as further fuel. That is why it is important to label fire extinguishers properly if there are multiple extinguisher types in an area.
How Do Class D Fire Extinguishers Work?
A class D fire extinguisher uses a dry powder to smother a flame. This replaces the previous method of dealing with a metal fire, which involved covering it with sand or some other non-flammable dry material that could smother the flame. In addition to cutting the fire off from its source of oxygen, the powder expelled by this type of extinguisher can absorb the heat from the flame, lessening its danger to surrounding people and property. Using liquids to put out the fire can spread the flames, causing the fire to grow. Similarly, chemicals that don’t smother the fire are ineffective.
The use of D class fire extinguishers can save lives in the right situation. Be sure to analyze your area, consider what sort of metals might set ablaze, and have these extinguishers nearby if there is a potential fire hazard. Doing so will save lives.
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