Photo of a man holding a water fire extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is something that we see all the time. They’re prominently displayed in every public building, as well as most houses and apartments. In fact, we’re so used to seeing them that we don’t usually notice when one is in the room. We’ve all seen them in action, and some have seen firsthand how a fire extinguisher can quickly prevent a fire from escalating into a disaster. But while we’re all familiar with fire extinguishers and how they can help us in the event of a fire, most of us don’t know exactly how they work. There are three common types of fire extinguishers: water, dry chemical, and carbon dioxide. Today, we’ll explore how a water fire extinguisher operates.

What’s Inside?

Each fire extinguisher features a ring or pin that prevents it from engaging when it’s not supposed to. This also acts as a seal, so if the ring or pin is missing from your extinguisher, you should have it checked or replaced. Most of the tank is filled with water, but there is also a canister that contains high-pressure gas that enables water to propel from the tank. There is also a tube that runs through the tank and out through the nozzle, which you can easily direct toward the fire.

A series of events takes place inside the tank when you engage the fire extinguisher:

  1. When pressure is applied to the handle, a valve opens and releases pressurized gas from the canister
  2. The gas immediately expands and fills the inside of the extinguisher, pushing the water downward
  3. As the water is pushed down, it rises up the tube
  4. A jet of water emerges from the nozzle

Remember that the various types of fire extinguishers are designed to put out different types of fires. You should NEVER try to extinguish an electrical fire with a water fire extinguisher because you could electrocute yourself and those nearby. If you’re not certain what type of fire extinguisher you have, you should take it to a fire department for inspection. If a fire breaks out and you don’t have the right fire extinguisher, get yourself to a safe place and call 911.

If you need to purchase a new fire extinguisher or you need other fire safety equipment for your home or business, contact Fire Extinguisher Sales & Service, Inc today!