Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers
What is a Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher?
There are many types of fire extinguishers, nevertheless, the dry chemical fire extinguisher also known as a DCP extinguisher for short is the most commonly bought and used fire extinguisher in Australia. Its ability to handle different kinds of fires has gained it to be a popular choice amongst customers. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the DCP fire extinguisher such as how to identify a dry chemical extinguisher, it’s pros and cons, how they work and what kind of fires DCP fire extinguishers are used for, as well as signage requirements and maintenance for the DCP fire extinguisher to ensure its integral part of an effective fire protection system.
How To Identify A Dry Chemical Extinguisher?
In Australia, a dry chemical extinguisher generally has a red body and will always have a WHITE colour band wrapped around the tank as you can see in our ABE fire extinguisher examples below. You can also identify a DCP by its description label imprinted on the tank. They should have the following information:
- Type: ABE Dry Chemical
- Size: Sizes can range from 1.0kg to 9kg
- Use Instructions
- Acceptable Materials For Use
What are DCP fire extinguishers used for?
A DCP fire extinguisher’s suppressing agent allows combatting class A, B & E fires. This makes the dry chemical powder extremely versatile that can be used to combat fires from homes, cars to extreme environments conditions such as mining sites. For superior protection, DCP High-performance fire extinguishers are also available. To have a fire extinguisher that is suitable to your needs, we highly recommend you speak to an expert that can you help you choose a suitable fire extinguisher. We have provided a simple overview of suitable class fires a DCP extinguisher is able to combat.
Suitable Class Fires For DCP Extinguisher
- Class A Fires: These involve flammable materials found in homes and business areas, including paper, textile fabrics, rubber, wood and plastic. The most common examples are trash fires or furniture related fires.
- Class B Fires: These involve flammable or combustible liquids, petrol, oil, and alcohol. Common examples are due to lit thrown cigarette butts or machinery sparks that come into contact with flammable liquids.
- Class E Fires: These involve electrical equipment such as heaters, fans, kitchens, and electronics found in workplaces, laboratories, and electronics at homes. A common example involves fires due to overheating of appliances.
- Class F Fires (Only for BE): These involve cooking oils and fats, however, due to its construction and it is capable of extinguishing this class of fire.
How Does A Dry Chemical Extinguisher Work?
Each fire extinguisher reacts differently to fires. Dry chemical extinguishers act a blanket of non-flammable dust (inert solids) on the fire’s fuel that separates it from oxygen, further smothering the flames. Its fine powder also allows interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire triangle allowing them to extremely effective at putting out a fire.
Pros of DCP Extinguishers
There are many advantages to a DCP Fire extinguisher, some of these include:
- Versatile: Dry powder extinguishers can be used to combat class A, B & E fires
- Economical: DCP fire extinguisher prices can range, however you will find them to be economical if bought on wholesale prices. For wholesale prices, click here.
- Suitable for travelling fires: As a dry powder fire extinguisher, when used with foam spray it can be very effective in combating travelling fuel fires.
- No Thermal Shock: Useful for dealing with fires due to its application of dry powder.
- Good Heat Shield: DCP fire extinguishers fine powder content acts an effective sheet again radiated heat, it even has the potential to shield surrounding areas and personnel from further damage.
- Compact: DCP has a range of sizes and can be easily compact to place in different places.
- Wide Temperature Range: DCP fire extinguishers have the potential to combat temperature levels between -200C to 60oc
Cons of DCP Extinguishers
- Residue Cleanup: Dry powder is can have messy consequences that leave a residue that is corrosive to particular materials. Because of its fine powder, when released it can be easily carried through the atmosphere.
- Respiratory Problems: If inhaled, it is extremely hard to breathe as it can irritate the respiratory organs. Repeated inhalation should be avoided.
- Compacted powder: If it not serviced or not correctly serviced the dry chemical powder can settle and compact at the bottom of the fire extinguisher. This can be a problem especially with vehicle mounted equipment as the vehicle vibration will cause the powder to compress under its weight.
- Poor Post Fire Security: Even though a DCP works by smothering and chemical interference effect of dry powder, it will only remain effective whilst it is present in the atmosphere above the fuel. Because it is a cloud of a fine powder, particles of it can easily be dispersed by the wind, giving a very real danger of rapid re-ignition of fuel.
- Vulnerable To Packing Down: Failure of extinguisher can result from the packing down of the powder within the extinguisher body, this problem is associated more with cartridge operated extinguishers. This can be a particular problem on vehicle mounted equipment as the vehicle vibration will cause the powder to compress under its own weight. Regular maintenance routines are essential; to prevent failure of equipment at a crucial time.
How Do I Use A Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher?
A medium sized ABE fire extinguishers’ entire content can be used in 10 to 15 seconds. So it’s important to know how to use a dry chemical fire extinguisher. The best way to effectively use is by using PASS.
Remember P.A.S.S to effectively combat a fire:
P- Pull the Pin
A- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
S- Squeeze the handle
S- Sweep the side to side
Maintenance of DCP Fire Extinguisher
It is routine for fire extinguishers to be checked every six months by a service team as required per regulations. However, we recommend once a month to ensure the following:
- The extinguisher is not blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that interfere with access in an emergency.
- The pressure is at the recommended level, this means the needle should be in the green zone- not too high and not too low.
- The nozzle or other parts are not obstructed
- The pin and tamper seal is intact
- There are no dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and other signs of abuse/wear. Wipe off any corrosive chemicals, oil, gunk etc. that may have landed on the extinguisher.
- Fire extinguishers should be pressure tested (a process called hydrostatic testing) after a number of years to ensure that the cylinder is safe to use. We provide our partner, majestic fire with pressure testing and maintenance services.
DCP Fire Extinguisher Identification Signs
It is compulsory to have an extinguisher identification sticker as well as fire extinguisher label visible at all times. We offer an extensive range of sticks and labels as accessories to fire extinguishers. Please ensure you also have a maintenance service tag.
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