CO2 or carbon dioxide is a colourless, odourless and electrically non-conductive gas which is highly effective as a fire suppression agent. A CO2 fire extinguisher has a black label and nozzle instead of a hose. CO2 extinguishers are equipped with a nozzle due to the liquid within the extinguisher turning into a cold gas under compression so a nozzle is more effective in discharging the extinguisher.
Electrical fires are not always avoidable, and whilst we can do everything possible to eliminate risks there’s always a chance of a fault developing quickly so it’s also important to be aware of what needs to be done in the event of an electrical fire. Introducing water to an electrical fire isn’t an option and could actually cause more damage along with a lot of clearing up at a hefty cost.
For this reason, fire and CO2 protection go hand in hand.
CO2 protection is effective in suppressing fires because it reduces the amount of oxygen in the air around the fire. Oxygen is a key element of fire as without it the fire cannot burn and is therefore extinguished, which is what makes CO2 protection so effective.
Other common questions about fire and CO2 protection include:
What is CO2?
CO2 is the chemical formula name for carbon dioxide. CO2 IS made of two oxygen atoms combined with one carbon atom. Most of us know that carbon dioxide is used in a variety of ways such as in fizzy drinks or in packaging in manufacturing.
Is CO2 a fire retardant?
Carbon dioxide is an effective fire extinguishing agent that can be used on many fires. Its effective for surface fires such as flammable liquid or a range of solid combustible materials.
What is the role of CO2 in controlling fire?
Carbon dioxide is effective in fire protection as it acts as a shield and cuts-off the fires contact with oxygen. Carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen so when it is released it expands and cools down. Due to the lack of oxygen and lower temperature CO2 is able to help control the fire.
What is the difference between fire protection and fire suppression?
Fire prevention systems are designed to minimize potential fire hazards. Fire protection reduces damage and helps to safely evacuate a building. Fire suppression systems are intended to extinguish the flames.
What type of fire is carbon dioxide used on?
Carbon Dioxide is suitable for use on Class B fire types which includes both Electrical and Flammable Liquid. As a gas its completely harmless to electrical equipment.
What can a CO2 extinguisher not be used on?
CO2 extinguishers should not be used on fires involving solid materials, such as paper, wood and fabric, and also are not suitable for use on flammable gases.
What care needs to be taken with a carbon dioxide extinguisher?
Where possible the area should be well ventilated to reduce the risk of asphyxiation. It’s also important to ensure the correct hose and horn are used with the extinguisher, the wrong attachments could result in frost burn, ill-fitting attachments causing a “kick” could also result in wrist injuries.