Which Fire Extinguisher should we use and when? (5)

Do not give fire a chance to damage your property and stop it straight away at the beginning! The Fire Rescue Service of the South Moravian Region in partnership with the Police of the Czech Republic - the city police headquarters of Brno and Diocesan Charity of Brno offers you some information about fire extinguishers, how to choose the right type and how to handle it.


Which_fire_extinguisher_should_we_use_and_when.pdf Which_fire_extinguisher_should_we_use_and_when.pdf (143,15 KB)


What are Fire Extinguishers for?

A fire extinguisher is to extinguish a starting fire, i.e. for initial firefighting. It contains a certain kind of extinguishing agent and includes a mechanism which puts the extinguisher into operation.  We distinguish these kinds of fire extinguishers: handheld (portable), cart-mounted (also called wheeled), and trailers.

What types of fire extinguishers do we recognize?

Fire extinguishers according to their extinguishing agents






The choice of the right fire extinguisher depends on the type of a flammable substance.  Substances are classified in so called "Classes of fire"


type of flammable substance


burning of solids burning with a flame or glow


burning of liquids and combustibles which turn in liquids


burning gasses burning with a flame


burning light alkaline metals

Which fire extinguisher should we use for certain materials?

Foam extinguisher



mustn't be used!

flammable solids

flammable liquids which mix with water

alive electric gadgets

petrol, oil, mineral oils, and lipids

flammable gasses

light and flammable alkaline metals

Water extinguisher



mustn't be used!

paper, wood, and other flammable solids

petrol, oil, alcohol, diluting agent

alive electric gadgets


flammable gasses

flammable light alkaline metals

valuable material (archives)

substances sharply reacting with water (e.g. acids)

vegetable and animal fats and oils

Dry powder extinguisher



mustn't be used!

alive electric gadgets

wood, coil, textile

light and flammable alkaline metals

flammable gasses

petrol, oil, oils


computers, televisions, and other electric gadgets

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)



mustn't be used!

alive electric gadgets

flammable solids such as wood, textile, coil

light and flammable alkaline metals

flammable gasses

flammable dust

flammable liquids

powdery and non-coherent matters

precise mechanisms and electronic gadgets



Warning! Be aware of danger of frostbites if your skin gets in touch with CO2!

Halon extinguisher

It can be used for all types of materials except for glowing solids.

It is suitable for extinguishing:

  • automobiles
  • precise mechanisms and electronics, computers
  • alive electric gadgets
  • archives and valuable materials

Warning! Do not use in closed rooms with no ventilation - there is a danger of health damage!

For you household we recommend you to use a dry powder extinguisher A,B,C (which is all-purpose - it can be used for solids, liquids, gasses, electrics, and suchlike, however, there is an advantage of subsequent disposal). The most suitable extinguishing agent for solids is water; yet, you must not use it for electrics!

The best way of placing and using fire extinguishers (FE)

  • FE need to be placed at visible and easily reachable places
  • in not clearly arranged or blind areas a particular fire symbol for marking placement of FE is to be used and placed at a visible place.
  • FE are placed in areas with high probability of fires
  • portable FE are placed on the wall, so that the handle of EF was up to 1,5m above the ground
  • FE on the floor must be prevented from falling
  • FE in vehicles are placed not to endanger personal safety

Appropriate use of FE has a graphic representation and short description on each FE. Read the instructions first before use.

Remember! Apply fire extinguishing always in the direction of wind and extinguish the quenching surface from its edge.

A fire extinguisher can be used repeatedly, therefore after each (even very short) use refill the FE. In case of another fire you will avoid complications connected with the lack of extinguishing agent.

The control of FE is to be done after each use or when mechanically damaged, otherwise usually once a year by a specialized company.

A bit of our legal regulations

On the basis of regulation 23/2008 of code of law / of technical conditions of fire service of buildings/ since 1st July, 2008 the living space of all new objects being used for living (houses, dwelling units, accommodation facilities, and garages) must be equipped with portable fire extinguishers with extinguishing efficiency of at least 34A (it means that this FE is to be used for extinguishing flammable solids and at the testing moment it will extinguish the fire of a wooden stack of a certain size. This requirement does not apply to the buildings realized before the validity of this regulation, however, we highly recommend you to invest in fire extinguishers in your household.

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