A Carbon Dioxide fire extinguisher will not work well for type ‘A’ fires. The blast from a CO2 extinguisher is bound to spread pieces of flaming paper and slivers of wood across the area and cause its spreading. While its use in ‘D’ type fires will only cause more damage by reacting to the combustible metals.
This type of fire extinguisher is recommended for types ‘B’ and ‘C’ fires. Type ‘B’ fire is caused by flammable liquids: gas, petrol, oil, paint, solvents et al. Fire caused by flammable gas like propane and butane also fall under the CO2 fire extinguishers. Because of its non-damaging effects, experts advice the use of the CO2 on electrical fires. Using the CO2 on computers or appliances or any electrically dependent thing poses no damage and guarantees no short circuits.
The Carbon Dioxide Fire extinguisher is a liquid compound packed in its cylinder. Its dispersal in the air converts it from liquid form to a mist-like dry ice compound that spreads like a blanket over the flames. This cool compound neutralizes the oxygen that sustains the fire’s combustions.
It is by removing one of the elements of fire that prevents the fire from igniting once more. When spraying on a type ‘B’ and ‘C’ flame calls for a spray aimed at the base of the fire a few feet away from the fire. Spraying should go from side to side with the base of the fire its main aim.
A common mistake is made when flame is sprayed from above, this would spread the fire and smoke in all directions, and at the same time pose great danger for the fire extinguisher operator. Another noted error in using the CO2 extinguisher is holding the nozzle by its horn for better aim. Doing this will only result to a frozen hand or ‘cold burn’. Some fire extinguisher manufacturers have treated their nozzles in ‘Frost Horn’, unless indicated, only then can anyone touch the horn.