Whether you operate a small bed and breakfast or a large hotel, safeguarding your guests against potential fire hazards is paramount. Fire alarms and fire suppression systems are beneficial for containing and extinguishing fires, but hotel fire extinguishers also serve an important role as a portable means of fire prevention and fire control.
Equipping your building with fire extinguishers isn’t as simple as choosing the largest or least expensive one available.
Different Types of Fires
Not every fire can be fought the same way, which makes it important to choose one that’s most appropriate for the potential dangers one may encounter. Different types of combustibles can generate fires that require different approaches to being fought:
- Class A: Cloth, paper, plastics, rubber, wood and other ordinary combustibles that can easily be extinguished using water.
- Class B: Alcohol, gasoline, grease, oils and solvents that resist water and require smothering to extinguish.
- Class C: Fires that involve electrical equipment and electrical current, where using water poses a shock risk.
- Class D: Fires involving combustible metals, including magnesium and lithium. Lithium-ion battery fires, for example, cannot be fought with water.
- Class K: Fires involving cooking oils and fats, including vegetable oil and animal fats.
Different Types of Extinguishers
It’s crucial to match the type of hotel fire extinguishers you’re purchasing to the class of fire that’s most likely to be dealt with in the area it’s stationed with. For instance, a Class K fire extinguisher may be appropriate for kitchens and other food service areas:
- Water Mist: These extinguishers are used mainly for Class A fires.
- Dry Chemical: Designed to tackle Class A, B and C fires, these multipurpose extinguishers use a special powder chemical to smother and starve fires of oxygen.
- Wet Chemical: Wet chemical extinguishers rely on the saponification process to not only stop Class K fires, but also to prevent conditions for possible reignition.
- Carbon Dioxide: As an inert gas that readily displaces oxygen and cools the surrounding air, CO2 is ideal for fighting Class B and C fires.
- Halogenated: Also known as “clean agent” or “Halotron” extinguishers, these halon-based extinguishers are ideal for dealing with Class B and C fires due to their smothering properties and lack of residue.
- Dry Powder: Mainly used for combatting Class D fires, these extinguishers discharge a thin layer of Sodium Chloride that crusts over when exposed to heat, blocking oxygen while dissipating the heat from the burning metal.
- Foam: Used for Class A and B fires, these extinguishers discharge a foaming agent that isolates the fire from its fuel source.