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Fire Extinguishers - Know the Colours

When it comes to fire safety training it’s imperative to know which fire extinguisher colour to use.  Using the wrong one could mean you only make a fire worse and increase the dangers.

Depending on the nature of your business, your premises should be equipped with the appropriate fire extinguishers as part of your fire risk assessments. At Ifast we fully understand the importance of knowing the different colours, which is why we’ve put together a comprehensive list to ensure complete safety in the event of a fire.

Signal Red

There are three types of signal red extinguishers that use water as they’re main component. A Water Extinguisher uses a jet to spray water onto a fire and is ideal for use on organic material fires, such as cloth, wood, coal, paper and plastic.

The Water Spray Extinguisher can be used for organic material fires as above, but it uses a high pressured spray mist for greater effect and surface coverage.

The third is the Water Mist Extinguisher, which is signal red on a white background. This dispenses a ‘dry’ water mist and can be used on organic material fires, fats and deep fat fryers. Models fitted with dielectric test to 35k volts, can also be used on electrical fires up to 1000 volts.


Blue or Powder extinguishers are ideal for fires with organic solids and liquids, including oil, petrol, paint and grease, as well as being suitable for use on gas fires. However, they don’t have the same cooling effect as water, so fires can be reignited and should never be used on chip or fat pan fires.

You can also get Dry Powder Extinguishers (Special Powders), which are based on either graphite, copper or sodium chloride. These are specifically designed to tackle flammable metals such as magnesium, lithium, sodium or aluminium.


Foam Extinguishers (AFFF) are mainly water based with a foaming agent that sits on top of liquids. Best used on burning solids or liquids, such as paint or petrol, but again aren’t suitable for chip pan or fat fires. If they have the dielectric tested up to 35k, they can also be used on electrical fires.


Carbon Dioxide extinguishers should be used on electrical fires. They work by coating the area in Carbon Dioxide that suffocates the fire of oxygen in the air.

Canary Yellow

Wet Chemical extinguishers can be used on chip or fat pan fire. They work by dispensing a fine mist that produces a layer of foam on top of oils and fats for a greater cooling effect.

Make sure your employees have the right level of fire safety training for your business, by having them attend a fire safety awareness course. At Ifast, we offer valuable fire safety awareness courses that cover everything from fire risk assessments through to fire extinguisher use.