Fire extinguishers are devices that can help put out small fires or contain them until professional help arrives. But do you know if fire extinguishers can explode themselves? In this article, we will answer some common questions about fire extinguishers, such as:
- Can fire extinguishers explode?
- What are the causes and risks of fire extinguisher explosions?
- How can you prevent fire extinguisher explosions?
|Can fire extinguishers explode?||Fire extinguishers can explode under certain conditions, but they are very rare and unlikely events. Most fire extinguishers are designed with safety mechanisms and materials that can withstand high pressures and temperatures to minimize the risk of explosions.|
|What are the causes and risks of fire extinguisher explosions?||Fire extinguisher explosions can be caused by extreme heat, prolonged exposure to fire, physical damage to the extinguisher, or improper use or maintenance of the extinguisher. Fire extinguisher explosions can pose a risk of injury, property damage, or fire spread.|
|How can you prevent fire extinguisher explosions?||You can prevent fire extinguisher explosions by storing them properly, inspecting them regularly, and using them correctly. You should also follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for fire extinguisher safety and maintenance.|
Can Fire Extinguishers Explode?
The answer to this question is yes, but it is very rare and unlikely. Fire extinguishers can explode under certain conditions, but most fire extinguishers are designed with safety mechanisms and materials that can withstand high pressures and temperatures to minimize the risk of explosions.
For example, most fire extinguishers have a pressure relief valve or a burst disc that can release excess pressure inside the cylinder if it becomes too high. This can prevent the cylinder from rupturing or exploding due to overpressure.
Another example is that most fire extinguishers have a metal body that can resist corrosion and heat. This can prevent the cylinder from weakening or cracking due to rust or fire.
However, these safety features are not foolproof and may fail under extreme circumstances. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the potential causes and risks of fire extinguisher explosions.
What Are the Causes and Risks of Fire Extinguisher Explosions?
Fire extinguisher explosions can be caused by various factors, such as:
- Extreme heat: If a fire extinguisher is exposed to high temperatures for a long time, such as in a car trunk or near a furnace, the pressure inside the cylinder may increase beyond the safe limit. This may cause the pressure relief valve or the burst disc to fail or malfunction, resulting in an explosion.
- Prolonged exposure to fire: If a fire extinguisher is left in a burning building or near a large fire for too long, the heat may damage the cylinder or the extinguishing agent. This may cause the cylinder to rupture or explode due to thermal expansion or chemical reaction.
- Physical damage to the extinguisher: If a fire extinguisher is dropped, hit, punctured, or dented, the cylinder may lose its structural integrity or develop leaks. This may cause the pressure inside the cylinder to drop or increase, leading to an explosion.
- Improper use or maintenance of the extinguisher: If a fire extinguisher is used incorrectly or not maintained properly, it may malfunction or become defective. For example, if an extinguisher is overfilled, undercharged, contaminated, expired, or incompatible with the type of fire, it may explode when discharged.
Fire extinguisher explosions can pose various risks, such as:
- Injury: Fire extinguisher explosions can cause serious injuries to anyone nearby, such as burns, cuts, bruises, fractures, or even death. The explosion may also release harmful chemicals or shrapnel that can damage the eyes, skin, lungs, or other organs⁷.
- Property damage: Fire extinguisher explosions can cause significant damage to property and equipment, such as walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, appliances, vehicles, or electrical systems. The explosion may also start or spread a fire that can destroy more property.
- Fire spread: Fire extinguisher explosions can make a fire worse by adding more fuel or oxygen to it. For example, if a dry powder or CO2 fire extinguisher explodes near a flammable liquid or gas fire, it may ignite or intensify the flames. If a water or foam fire extinguisher explodes near an electrical or metal fire, it may create sparks or short circuits that can ignite more fires.
How Can You Prevent Fire Extinguisher Explosions?
You can prevent fire extinguisher explosions by following some simple tips:
- Store fire extinguishers in a cool, dry place away from heat sources and potential hazards. Use appropriate mounting brackets to secure them to the wall or floor. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight, near heat sources, or in extreme temperatures.
- Inspect fire extinguishers at least once a month. Check the pressure gauge, the inspection tag, the external condition, and the age of the fire extinguisher. Replace or recharge the fire extinguisher if it is low on pressure, damaged, missing a tag, or more than 10 years old.
- Use fire extinguishers only for their intended purpose and class of fire. Do not use water or foam fire extinguishers on electrical or metal fires. Do not use dry powder or CO2 fire extinguishers on cooking oil fires. Do not use wet chemical fire extinguishers on any other type of fire except cooking oil fires.
- Follow the PASS technique when using a fire extinguisher: Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep from side to side until the fire is out.
- Call 911 or your local emergency number before or after using a fire extinguisher. Do not attempt to fight a large or spreading fire by yourself. Evacuate the area and wait for professional help to arrive.
Fire extinguishers are essential safety devices that can help prevent the spread of fire and save lives. But they also have limitations and risks. Therefore, it is important to know how to prevent fire extinguisher explosions and what to do in case of an emergency. Remember, the #1 priority in case of a fire is to get out safely and stay out.