Foam fire extinguishers have been used around the world since their invention in 1881 by German chemist, Albin Ziegler. The combination of chemicals produces a thick foam that blankets combustible materials quickly, smothering fires before they can spread further. As such, these extinguishers are particularly effective on flammable liquids such as gasoline and oil-based products.

The safety benefits associated with using foam fire extinguishers cannot be underestimated; not only do they reduce damage from fires but also minimize the risk to property owners, employees and visitors alike. In this article we’ll look at why foam is better than other types of fire suppressants available on the market today – helping you make sense of which type would best meet your needs.

What Is Foam Fire Extinguisher

A foam fire extinguisher is an invaluable tool for fighting fires. It’s a pressurized container of water, air, and other chemicals that forms foam when discharged. The foaming agent used in the extinguisher can be either synthetic or natural – most commonly it’s detergent-based. Foam fire extinguishers are typically light yellow in colour to distinguish them from dry chemical extinguishers which are usually red or orange.

When using a foam fire extinguisher, you must remember not to use it on electrical equipment or flammable liquids as this could cause further damage. Also, after use, take steps to clean up any residue left behind by the foam and dispose of it safely.

How does a foam fire extinguisher work? Upon discharge, the pressurized mix of air and liquid creates bubbles that smother out the flames while also cooling down the fuel source involved. This makes it particularly effective on Class A (solids like wood) and B (liquids like oil) fires but less so on Class C (gases).


Like a jigsaw puzzle, all the components of foam fire extinguishers come together to form an effective and powerful tool in fighting fires. Foam fire extinguishers are mainly composed of water and various chemical compounds that interact with one another when exposed to heat. The most common types contain a chemical formula made up of Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF) or Alcohol Resistant Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AR-AFFF).

The primary component used in foam type fire extinguishers is surfactants. These act as foaming agents and help create a stable film on top of flammable liquid surfaces which prevents oxygen from reaching it and thus preventing combustion. This mixture also contains other chemicals such as wetting agents, corrosion inhibitors, polymers, alcohols, glycols, and nitrogen-based gases for stability. Each component serves an important purpose in creating the desired effect in putting out flames during use.

The details may vary depending on the manufacturer but generally speaking these ingredients make up what we know as the modern foam fire extinguisher today. All these components combine to form a highly effective device capable of tackling multiple classes of fires quickly and safely. Ultimately this makes them a valuable asset not just for home owners but businesses alike who wish to protect their property against potential destruction by flame.


Foam fire extinguishers are a type of active fire protection equipment designed to combat fires involving flammable liquids. The foam agent used in these extinguishers contains water, nitrogen and the chemical formula AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam). This combination creates a foam that is capable of smothering a burning liquid and preventing it from igniting again. There are two main types of foam fire extinguishers: Class A foams and Class B foams.

Class A foams work by forming a layer on top of the burning fuel, like gasoline or oil, which prevents oxygen from reaching it. These types of extinguishers also cool down flammable surfaces as well as reduce vapors when applied correctly. They must be used with caution however, because if sprayed onto hot surfaces they will create steam instead.

Class B foams act differently than their Class A counterparts; they form an airtight seal around the burning material so no more oxygen can get through and reignite the flames. When using this type of extinguisher it’s important to pay attention to details such as how much should be applied at once and where it should be directed for maximum effectiveness.

These two different types of foam fire extinguishers each have different uses and applications depending on what kind of fire needs to be put out.

Uses And Applications

Now that we have discussed the types of foam fire extinguishers, let’s look at some of their uses and applications. Foam fire extinguishers use a chemical formula to create a foam which is then sprayed onto burning material. This type of fire extinguisher works best on Class A fires, those involving organic materials such as paper or wood. It can also be used for fires containing flammable liquids like oil or gasoline.

In addition to being effective against Class A fires, foam fire extinguishers are also useful in suppressing dust explosions in hazardous areas like factories or warehouses. When sprayed into the area where an explosion may occur, it creates a blanket-like layer over combustible particles which prevents them from becoming airborne and igniting. This makes these extinguishers invaluable in industries with high risk of dust explosions.

Foam fire extinguishers can also be used to put out small cooking oil fires by smothering the flames instead of relying on water alone. The combination of foam and pressure helps keep the heat away from any remaining fuel so that it does not reignite after being extinguished. As a result, this type of fire extinguisher provides an added level of safety for businesses operating near cooking areas. With all these uses and applications, it’s easy to see why foam fire extinguishers are such a popular choice among both commercial and residential customers alike. Now let’s take a closer look at their features and benefits…

Features And Benefits

Foam fire extinguishers are like a superhero for your home, office or business. They come equipped with their own chemical formula that is designed to fight fires of all shapes and sizes. The foam fire extinguisher details can vary depending on the size, type and brand but generally they contain an AFFF (aqueous film forming foam) solution which coats the material burning and smothers out any further combustion.

When used correctly these foam fire extinguishers have many features and benefits. Firstly, they create a vapour seal over the area preventing oxygen from reaching it so this will stop it reigniting. Secondly, when compared to other options such as water based units, there is less mess created so clean up time is reduced significantly. Finally, due to their ability to rapidly cool down materials they also limit damage caused by heat radiating off burning objects nearby.

The combination of these features make them highly effective in containing fires before help arrives or even putting them out altogether if caught early enough – giving you peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for whatever comes your way! So what should not be used on a foam fire extinguisher? That’s something we’ll explore in our next section…

What Should Not Be Used On A Foam Fire Extinguisher?

It is important to know what should not be used on a foam fire extinguisher. Understanding the chemical formula and type of fire extinguisher helps ensure the correct product is being used for each scenario. A foam fire extinguisher contains an aqueous film-forming compound, so it should never be used to put out fires involving flammable liquids or electrical equipment.

The details are essential when deciding which type of fire extinguisher can best handle different scenarios safely and effectively. Foam fire extinguishers also contain detergents that may damage any object with electrical components, as well as certain fabrics, plastics, and rubber materials. In addition, some types of foam cannot suppress vapor released from burning solids such as wood or coal, therefore making them ineffective in these situations too.

Therefore, it is vital to research specific details about the fire before selecting a particular type of extinguishing agent. Understanding which substances have been determined safe and effective by experts allows people to make informed decisions quickly without risking their safety or damaging property while attempting to douse flames.