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CO2 fire extinguishers are used on electrical fires. However, they are also effective on Class B fires, which are fires starting from flammable liquids.

CO2 extinguishers can also be known as carbon dioxide extinguishers.

CO2 extinguishers can be used on:

  • Class B fires – flammable liquids: such as petrol, paint or spirits
  • Electrical fires – electrical equipment: such as computers and photocopiers

CO2 fire extinguishers should never be used on the following fire types:

  • Class F fires – cooking oils: such as olive oil or butter. Typically a chip-pan fire

Identifying a CO2 Fire Extinguisher

CO2 fire extinguishers have a black coloured label stating ‘CO2’. It should also have a sign above or next to the extinguisher that states ‘CO2 Extinguisher’. A CO2 extinguisher can also be differentiated due to its distinctive black horn on the nozzle.

CO2 extinguishers come in foam sizes:

  • 2 kg
  • 5 kg

How CO2 Fire Extinguishers Work

CO2 extinguishers disperse carbon dioxide. It’s stored in the extinguisher as liquid, and the gas is created under pressure when the extinguisher handle is squeezed. It works by dispersing the oxygen surrounding a fire and replacing it with carbon dioxide.

These extinguishers don’t have a cooling effect on the fire, so aren’t recommended for fires igniting from flammable solids.

When to choose a CO2 Fire Extinguisher

These extinguishers are recommended as standard for any building where there’s a risk of electrical fire. Nearly all business premises present this risk, especially offices, schools and hospitals where there’s usually a large amount of electrical equipment on-site.

Often, a CO2 extinguisher is paired with a foam fire extinguisher in these kind of environments, as this covers the majority of fire risks.

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