Having posted several blogs about the various benefits and uses of fire extinguishers and fire safety products in the home, last week I had the opportunity to test the theory with some real life fires.
We are in the process of producing a library of safety awareness videos, shortly to be posted on this website – so look out for them.
As part of the video project we actually lit some fires (under controlled conditions so don’t try this at home) and tried extinguishing them with different types of fire extinguishers. Thankfully the vast majority of homeowners never have cause to discharge an extinguisher but consequently they have little idea as to their impact.
Class A fires involving combustible solids like paper, fabrics and wood and Class F cooking fires are by far the most common in a home environment so featured high on our test list. Assessing the results of the tests It was clear to me that the best extinguishers to have for combatting Class A fires are the water extinguishers and water additive versions. No doubt water does cause some inconvenience but it does dry out and will cause far less peripheral damage than powder extinguishers.
For similar reasons our recommendation for cooking oil fires would by the new ABF foam aerosol extinguisher unless your budget can stretch to a 2 litre wet chemical fire extinguisher.
We also tested a fire blanket on both Class A and Class F fires and I was pleasantly surprised on how easy fire blankets are to deploy and how effective they are at smothering a small fire. Although there was some minor scorching of the fire blanket it was substantially undamaged so we could repack into its protective sleeve for reuse. Next to smoke detectors, I suggest a fire blanket is probably the most cost effective and versatile fire safety device you can get for home and leisure use.