Advice for tackling office based fires

Although water has been used to tackle fires for thousands of years, the type of fires which water-based fire extinguishers can defeat are somewhat limited, especially in an office environment.

Electrical appliances are a chief source of office-based fires. After all, most offices these days are full of computers, printers, monitors, scanners and photocopiers so this really should come as no surprise. Of course, using a water-based extinguisher has some major drawbacks in this type of environment.

Firstly, it is not always possible to turn off the power supply when a serious incident happens very quickly. So, even though water may well suppress or even extinguish an electrical fire, it will also conduct electricity, thereby putting your life at great risk. Indeed, the jet of water between the extinguisher in your hands and the target fire will connect you to the electricity and create a circuit that will result in you being electrocuted. However, there is a solution available. Water extinguishers with additives or even dry water mist extinguishers are safe to use near electrical items.

Secondly; even if you did have the presence of mind to switch off the power before tackling the fire with water, you will most likely cause further damage to the circuitry and electronics of other expensive equipment which may not directly be involved in the fire. Of course the same limitation applies to foam extinguishers and powder fire extinguishers.

Whilst water fire extinguishers are a very clean option and additives etc are available for them it is important to know their limitations to ensure both you and your work colleagues always remain safe.

In general we would for the above reasons recommend powder extinguisher, CO2 fire extinguishers and dry water mist extinguishersin offices. These types of fire extinguishers do not conduct electricity and will limit the damage that could be caused to office equipment.

Browse our pages further to learn more about occupational fire safety and fire extinguishers.

New Water Mist Fire Extinguishers

Our new UltraFire water mist fire extinguishers present a ground-breaking step in fire fighting. Using de-ionised water at low pressure, the water mist extinguishers deploys a supersonic micron nozzle to discharge 100% environmentally friendly water in a fine mist. This mist expels oxygen from the surrounding environment to cut off the supply that keeps the fire burning. Once the fire is extinguished, the water mist then acts as a cooling blanket to soak into the burning fuel and prevent re-ignition.

After discharging a water mist fire extinguisher, the clean-up is quick and easy, with most of the water agent evaporating upon contact with the fire. These extinguishers are perfect for kitchens and food prep areas (where traditional powder or wet chemicals would usually leave a messy, poisonous residue and may involve having to shut down for a period) or areas where the contents are paper based or valuable. The extinguishers are also suitable for boats and other confined spaces. The LPCB approval on these extinguishers certifies ratings of up to 13A, 21B (on the 6 litre model), unheard of for water fire extinguishers. Having passed a 35kV dielectrical test, water mist extinguishers are safe to use around electrical equipment without endangering the user.

Take a look at the full range of water mist fire extinguishers, exclusively available online from Safelincs.