Co2 Fire Extinguishers
How CO2 fire extinguishers work
CO2 fire extinguishers discharge CO2 gas, also known as carbon dioxide. This is stored in the extinguisher as a liquid, and the gas is created under pressure when the handle of the extinguisher is squeezed.
This causes the CO2 gas to emerge at great speed, which is why CO2 fire extinguishers are not recommended for chip pan fires – they could literally blast the flames into surrounding areas.
Unlike water and foam extinguishers, CO2 fire extinguishers do not work by cooling the fire and so are ineffective on fires involving flammable solids.
Instead, CO2 extinguisher work by replacing the oxygen surrounding the flames with carbon dioxide, meaning the fire can no longer burn.
Pros and Cons of CO2 fire extinguishers
Pros: extremely effective on electrical fires; do not leave any residue behind when they are used.
Cons: risk of cold burns if the user holds the extinguisher by the horn; less environmentally friendly than other types of extinguisher; they replace the oxygen in the air with CO2 so risk of asphyxiation if used in confined spaces.