Fire Extinguisher Series – Class A Extinguishers & How to Clean Up After Them
Even a big fire starts with a small flame. If the fire outbreak is discovered, it can often be extinguished with a portable fire extinguisher. However, there is no effective fire extinguisher against all types of fire. Depending on the materials that burn, the chemical processes are different. Therefore, choosing the extinguisher based on its fire class is necessary to be truly effective.
Here we explain what Class A fire extinguishers are and some tips on how to clean up after Class A extinguishers!
Fire Extinguisher Series
According to the characteristics of the fire that you need to extinguish, you will be able to find an extinguisher indicated for each case. Surely on some occasion, you have seen the letters A, B, C, D and F on the label of fire extinguishers. This classification refers to the type of fire that the extinguisher can control. For households, three classes of fire are relevant: A, B and F. Here, we focus on the Class A fire extinguishers.
Remember, the first minute is crucial in deciding whether you can put out a fire with an extinguisher. If the fire spreads rapidly, call the fire department immediately. Follow the rule “alert – rescue – extinguish.”
Before we talk about the types of Class A fire extinguishers, it is important to discuss when you should be using them.
You should be using a fire extinguisher only:
- if the fire is small and limited
- when you have a safe escape route in case you fail to extinguish the fire
- attempt to extinguish a fire for the first minute and never put yourself in danger; quickly assess whether you can put out the fire yourself
Class A Fire Extinguishers
Facing a fire outbreak with the wrong extinguisher can put your safety and that of the place where the fire occurs at risk. Even with the best fire detection and alarm systems, you can be at risk if you do not use the correct fire extinguisher. For this reason, it is important to know the types of fire extinguishers according to the type of fuel and class of fire.
Class “A” or common fires are fires fueled by wood, paper, fabric, rubber, plastics, etc. Class A fire extinguishers are suitable for fighting Class A fires. You have to be very careful with these because the chemical substances in combustion can release toxic gases. The international symbology is represented by a green triangle and the letter “A” inside it.
To fight Class A fires, you can choose a foam extinguisher or a powder extinguisher.
Foam fire extinguisher
Foam fire extinguishers are the most suitable for use in households for Class A fires. These extinguishers project water mist and light foam simultaneously. The foam smothers the fire by preventing the supply of oxygen to the flames. Cleaning work after use does not require too much effort.
The foam extinguisher has many advantages:
- easy to use – we advise you to read the manual the fire extinguisher before using it;
- causes little collateral damage during extinction;
- has a long projection time;
- has a cooling effect, which reduces the risk of reigniting the flames;
There are two foam extinguishers: the regular foam extinguisher and the water spray extinguisher. Thanks to the latter’s special nozzle, its spray jet is not electrically conductive. Thus, you can use a water spray extinguisher on devices subject to a voltage of up to 1,000 volts. Do not use an ordinary foam fire extinguisher on energized devices, as the full stream can cause a flashback.
Powder Fire Extinguisher
A powder extinguisher overcomes many types of fires, including class A fire. Some of its advantages:
- relatively inexpensive
- frost resistant
- can be used on energized devices
Powder fire extinguishers contain sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate, which are difficult to clean. Their big drawback: the powder spreads throughout the apartment, gets into every crack and is difficult to remove. Damage to furniture and electronics is extensive.
How to Clean Up After Class A Extinguishers
In the event of a fire that you manage to end with the help of a class A fire extinguisher, it is advisable to consider some cleaning tips. In general, the chemical residues left by the extinguisher are usually easy to clean. But it is convenient to follow some tips.
- Cover hands with gloves.
- Remove the largest things before starting the task.
- Use a good vacuum to clean up as much of the residue as possible. Use a powerful vacuum for difficult areas, such as thick, shaggy carpets or regions with many notches. If you don’t have a good vacuum, you can use a broom or cloths to remove any loose debris.
- Use a clean, damp cloth to remove any remaining residue. If the residue is from a fire extinguisher that uses mono ammonium phosphate, you should clean the affected area as soon as possible, making sure to protect your hands.
- Use a vinegar and water solution to clean stubborn residue from baking soda or potassium bicarbonate-based extinguishers. You’ll need plenty of water to remove baking soda residue from porous surfaces or soft materials like carpet or upholstery. Use cloths to apply the water and remove the residue.
- Wash off any residue from foam-based extinguishers. The foam should evaporate after a short time.
- Use a household deodorizer or carpet cleaner with baking soda to remove any lingering odors from the extinguishing agent.
- Ventilate well
Now you know which extinguishers are suitable to put out class A fires and the tips to clean up after using them. However, in case of a fire, the cleaning process does not end there. The amount of the damage is sometimes extensive that can only be restored by a professional fire damage restoration company.
Looking for a Fire Damage Restoration Service in Triad!
If you live in Triad or in the surrounding area, and looking for a professional fire damage restoration service near you, contact 911 Restoration of Triad. The 911 Restoration of Triad team has certified and experienced professionals trained in smoke and soot removal and deodorization of the property. Call (336) 579-2501 or visit their website for more information!