An overview of fire extinguisher selection

May 2, 2018 By    

Photo by Piotr Chrobot on Unsplash

According to Sam Boraas, director, portables and agents product management, fire suppression products at Johnson Controls, when choosing a fire extinguisher for an industrial or manufacturing facility, decision-makers often defer to the UL fire ratings with the expectation that the higher the rating, the better the firefighting capacity.

However, when dealing with fires from flammable liquids and gases – otherwise known as Class B fires – the opposite can be true, Boraas says. For these types of fires, the NFPA 10 technical committee concludes that extinguisher size and flow rates should instead be the basis of extinguisher selection.

In the summer of 2017, Johnson Controls conducted a series of tests designed to compare the effectiveness of various fire extinguishers in flammable liquid and pressurized flammable liquid gas fires. The study found that, under the test conditions, high-flow cartridge operated extinguishers provide the best protection even though they may not have the highest UL ratings.

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