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The Most Effective Fire Extinction Methods

There isn’t one singular way to extinguish a fire. Depending on the type of fuel involved, the size and location of the fire itself, different firefighting techniques will be required. Should a fire break out in your workplace, it’s definitely useful to be familiar with some of the methods you can use to tackle the blaze – with the aim of extinguishing or controlling the fire, instead of making it worse.

Removing oxygen from the fire

Remembering the fire triangle will form the basis of your fire fighting knowledge; removing any of the fundamental ‘ingredients’ of a fire will extinguish it, so let’s start with removing oxygen from the fire.

Smothering a fire will cut off the oxygen supply that feeds the blaze; without that supply of oxygen, the fire will burn out. This principle is effective for commercial fires large and small. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Using a fire blanket: Effective for small fires in initial stages, a fire blanket should be placed (not thrown) over a fire that is smaller in size than the blanket itself. Small cooking fires are commonly extinguished with blankets, but you can also use a blanket to put out a fire on somebody’s clothes.
  • Fire extinguishers: Different fire extinguishers are used to tackle different classes of fire, and some focus on removing oxygen. CO₂ extinguishers do this for electrical fires, while dry powder extinguishers do the same for solid fuel and liquid fires.


the most effective fire extinction methods

Cooling the fire

Removing the heat element of a fire means it cannot spread, and will eventually burn out. Water is the most common method of cooling a fire, and is typically used to fight solid fuel fires.

For cooking fires involving oil, standard water fire extinguishers should not be used – they only spread the oil, which can help the fire to spread further. For these kinds of fires, a wet chemical extinguisher should be used to reduce the temperature and extinguish the fire quickly.

Remove the fuel from a fire

The third element of the fire triangle: fuel. If you fail to cut off the fuel source, then the fire can re-ignite or be too persistent to extinguish altogether.

When we discussed fire blankets earlier, it’s important to remember that, before using a blanket to smother the fire, you should cut off any fuel source. For electrical fires, this means turning off the power, for cooking/stove fires it means turning off the gas supply.

Without fuel to burn, a fire cannot grow or spread, so if you are able to starve the fire of flammable materials, then it will be easier to control and will extinguish much easier.

Know when to call for help

Knowing how to extinguish a fire doesn’t always mean you’ll be able to. Some fires are either too big or in an uncontrollable location, requiring immediate attention from emergency services.

If you do discover a fire, only tackle it if you know you are able to and have the right equipment to extinguish it. If the fire seems to large, has started to spread or your attempted fire extinction methods are not working, then evacuate the building and call the fire department.

Focused training sessions

The best way to prepare you and your employees for an emergency situation is through professionally-conducted training sessions. At Target Fire Protection, we deliver an in-depth fire theory certified course for up to 15 people. We offer a few variations of the course, including:

  • 1 hour basic fire extinguisher course
  • 2 hour standard fire extinguisher course
  • 3 hour fire marshall training

Our courses involve fully supervised live fire demonstrations where your employees will have the opportunity to tackle small, controlled blazes to develop knowledge and confidence with the different firefighting techniques. If you’re interested in this kind of training for your business, simply contact us to find out more.

Target Fire Protection are a leading supplier of fire extinguishers and fire prevention equipment in Manchester, Rochdale, Bury and Oldham and the rest of the UK. We help commercial businesses to build an effective and logical fire safety plan, and can also provide fire safety training and fire risk assessments for business owners and employees. To find out more about our services, contact our friendly team today.

For free, impartial advice, call our expert team: 0800 030 6079

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