Types of Fire Extinguishers NZ

fire extinguisher use chart

What Are The Five Main Types Of Fire Extinguisher Found In NZ?

The fire extinguishers in New Zealand are a little different from the ones you find in other countries. It’s important to be aware of the different kinds of extinguishers and which fires they are best suited for. It’s easy to differentiate between different types of fire extinguishers NZ thanks to the coloured band at the top of the extinguisher. 

There are five main types of fire extinguishers NZ, including; 

  1. Aqueous Film-Forming Foam 
  2. Carbon Dioxide 
  3. Dry Chemical Powder
  4. Water
  5. Wet Chemical 

Dry Chemical Has a White Band 

9 kg Dry Chemical Powder ABE Fire Extinguisher

A dry powder extinguisher eliminates the chemical reaction that creates fire. The dry powder extinguisher, which has a white band, is the most common type of dry powder extinguisher because it works so well on Class A, B, and E fires. What makes these extinguishers so effective is that they create a barrier between the oxygen and the fuel for a Class A fire. 

Carbon Dioxide Has a Black Band

5 kg Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers (or CO2 extinguishers) work by removing the oxygen from the fire. They also eliminate the heat with their cold discharge. Carbon dioxide extinguishers are effective on Class B and E fires but are no good against Class A fires. Carbon dioxide is also considered environmentally acceptable because it is a natural element in the air around us. 

Foam Has a Blue Band 

Fluorine Free Foam Fire Extinguisher

Foam extinguishers are effective against Class A and Class B fires. They are great for extinguishing liquid fires such as diesel or petrol fires. The foam seals the surface of the liquid to prevent flammable vapours from reaching the air and combusting, which quickly puts out a liquid flame. These extinguishers can only be used on Class A and Class B fires. They become a shock hazard if used on Class E fires. 

Water Extinguishers Have No Band

9 Litre H2O Fire Extinguisher

Water extinguishers work by removing the heat elements of fire with water. They should only ever be used with Class A fires (fires caused by combustibles such as cloth, paper, wood, plastics, and trash). Using them with Class B fires (flammable liquids, gas, and paint), as the water could help to spread the flammable liquids and gases. When used on Class E (electrical) fires, it can create a shock hazard. 

Wet Chemical Extinguishers Have a Beige Band 

7 L Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher

A wet chemical extinguisher works by removing the heat from a fire and creating a barrier between the fuel and oxygen to prevent the fire from re-igniting. Wet Chemical extinguishers are designed for Class F (cooking oil, animal fat, vegetable fat, and grease) fires. They are essential for people in the cooking industry. They are typically paired up with fire blankets in commercial kitchens. 

They can be used with Class A fires too, but they shouldn’t be used with live electrical equipment. While contact with the wet chemicals in the extinguishers isn’t dangerous, it can irritate eyes and skin.