All You Need to Know About Different Colors of Fire Extinguishers

Different Fire Extinguisher Colors

Have you ever noticed how many different colors fire extinguishers have, or the different nozzle styles they have? If you want to learn more about these fire extinguisher colors, you’ve come to the right place.
The hot dry season lasts from March to May in this tropical country with a marine environment. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) announced March to be the ‘fire prevention month’ on its first day, citing data that shows a spike in the number of fire accidents around the country during this period. This is declared in Presidential Proclamation No. 115-A. Furthermore, the BFP is in charge of dealing with all forms of damaging fire casualties. We normally see them wearing a protective coat and pants, as well as safety caps, shoes, and gloves. During casualties, a water hose linked to their firetrucks aids in the suppression of the massive fire.

While we expect our beloved firefighters to respond quickly, as informed citizens, we can help to reduce the danger of fire by adhering to local safety rules, anticipating potential problems, and knowing what to do if a fire breaks out. One of the things we must learn is how to use fire extinguishers, but first, the user should be familiar with the many types of fire extinguishers and the various colors that serve different functions for various types of fire.

Why Fire Extinguishers are Important?

Fire extinguishers are necessary for both buildings and households because they act as an incident response in the event that a minor fire is created. It is classified as a first aid kit since it can only assist with little fires and not large damaging ones.

According to the Fire Protection and Control of the Labor Code of the Philippines, it requires the buildings and workplaces with portable fire extinguishers:

“All places of employment, including those where automatic-sprinkler protection system is installed, shall be provided with portable fire extinguishers for protection against incipient fires;”

In line with this, here are the general guidelines for portable fire extinguishers provided by the Code:

  • portable extinguishers shall be maintained in fully charged and operable condition and kept in their designated places at all times when not in use;
  • approved fire extinguishers shall be used;
  • extinguishers shall be installed on hangers or brackets conspicuously located in unobstructed areas readily accessible in the event of fire;
  • extinguishers having a group weight not exceeding 18 kilograms shall be installed so that the top is not more than 1.5 meters above the floor. Those exceeding 18 kgs., except wheeled types, shall be installed not more than I m. above the floor.
  • extinguishers shall be inspected monthly or at more frequent intervals when circumstances require to ensure they are in their designated places, to determine physical damages and that they are in good operable condition;
  • at regular intervals of not more than one year, or when specifically indicated by an inspection, extinguishers shall be thoroughly examined, recharged, or repaired; and
  • on the place where extinguishers are located, the type and use of the extinguishers and instructions on their proper use shall be marked in visible and easily readable letters.

Read Also: Importance of Fire Extinguishers at Home

Why are there many types of Fire Extinguishers?

In addition to the regulations mentioned above for basic guidelines, the Code lists many types of fire extinguishers that may extinguish a variety of fires. Types of fire extinguishers range from A through D. The following is the code:

Extinguishers should be chosen in line with the following criteria for the specific class or classes of dangers to be safeguarded against:

  • Extinguishers for Class “A” hazards, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and other similar ordinary materials, shall be selected from foam, loaded stream, multipurpose dry chemical, and water types;
  • Extinguishers for Class “B” hazards, fires in flammable liquids, gases, and greases, shall be selected from carbon dioxide, dry chemical, foam, loaded stream, and multipurpose dry chemical;
  • Extinguishers for Class “C” hazards, fires that involve energized electrical equipment where the electrical non-conductivity of the extinguishing media if of importance, shall be selected from carbon dioxide, dry chemicals, and multi-purpose dry chemicals;
  • When the electrical energy is disconnected. Class “C” fire may be treated as either Class “A” or Class “B”;
  • Extinguishers for protection of Class “D” hazards fire in combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, and potassium, shall be of types approved for use on the specific combustible metal hazard. Only suitable dry powder extinguishers shall be used for metal fires;

Some reminders of the code’s provisions include the following:

  1. The toxic vaporizing extinguisher is not recommended for any type of fire;
  2. Extinguishers that need to be inverted to operate are not recommended for us
  3. Soda acid fire extinguishers are not recommended for use.

Read Also: Electrical Fire Safety Tips for Your Home

Why are there different band colors of fire extinguishers?

Fire extinguishers in movies are often red, however in reality there are other colors available from all around the world. From a historical standpoint, an old-style fire extinguisher is not only blue, but it has a variety of colors, up until 1997, when authorities changed all the colors of the body of the fire extinguisher to red as the color is likely associated with danger and fire, and it is also very visible in a dark environment, even during a smoke spread. Due to this, most fire extinguishers in the Philippines have red bodies, but there are different color bands wrapped around them that identify what sort of fire extinguisher it is, and which is best used against whatever type of fire. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has developed a recommendation for customers to follow when purchasing such portable fire extinguishers. For an easy reference, it is in the table below.

Summary of Classification of Fire Extinguisher

Now, as a guide for common users, below is a tabular description of the many types of fire extinguishers, their color, the chemical within, and where to use them.

Body and Band ColorChemical InsideClassification of FireBest Use Against
Red Body but White BandDry ChemicalClass A, B, C, D, and electricalFires involving solid materials, liquid or liquefiable solids, gases, and electrical equipment
Red Body but Black BandCarbon DioxideClass B and electricalFires involving flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, and electrical equipment
Red Body but Blue BandFoamClass A and BFires involving solid materials and flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease
Light Green body, White bandHalon SubstituteClass A, B, C, D, and electricalFires involving solid materials, liquid or liquefiable solids, gases, and electrical equipment

It is safe to say that the available portable fire extinguishers here in the Philippines are multi-purpose. In addition, DTI also reminds consumers to search for correct marks and labeling on fire extinguisher containers. These labels include the name and address of the manufacturer/refiller; a registered trademark or brand name; the type of extinguishing agent (e.g., Dry Chemical); the actual capacity of the extinguisher in terms of the mass of extinguishing medium in kg; the gross weight when fully charged; instructions for operation; test pressure in megapascals (MPa); working pressure in kilopascals (kPA); and the words “Recharge After Use.”