When Should You Use a Foam Fire Extinguisher?

Posted On: October 13th, 2021

You might be surprised to learn that there is more than one type of fire extinguisher. The type you use can have a direct result on how effective it is.

Today we are looking at foam fire extinguishers. We’ll tell you what type of fires they are for, when to use them, how to use them, and the advantages of equipping your property with one!


What Type of Fire Should a Foam Extinguisher Be Used On?

First, let’s talk safety and fire extinguisher types. Certain types of fires can be made even more dangerous if you use the incorrect fire extinguisher. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Type A – These types of fire extinguishers are for solids. Things like cloth, paper, and wood can all be extinguished using a type A extinguisher
  • Type B is normally used on combustible liquids, such as gasoline, oil-based paint, and grease.
  • Type C – This type of fire extinguisher is best used on electrical equipment. Things like appliances or anything connected to the mains.
  • Type D – Type D extinguishers are fairly rare. They are normally used in industrial settings on burning metals.
  • Type K – Remember K for kitchen. You’ll normally find K-type fire extinguishers used on ignited vegetable oils, fats, and cooking appliances.


When Would You Use a Foam Fire Extinguisher?

Foam fire extinguishers are a pretty good all-rounder. Why?

Because they actually sit in two categories. According to the above list, you’ll be able to use a foam fire extinguisher on type A and type B fires.

In short.

They can be used on solids and liquids. This is great as it means you don’t have to buy two fire extinguishers for one room.


Where do You Use a Foam Fire Extinguisher?

The beauty of foam fire extinguishers is that they can be used in most general settings where there is a fire risk. They are the ideal choice for the home, office, and business.

The foam in an extinguisher provides two effects that effectively remove two sides of the fire triangle.

They cool the fire down, smother it and prevent oxygen from getting to it. What’s more, because the foam ‘sticks’, it keeps the fire smothered.


When Should You Not Use a Foam Fire Extinguisher?

There are times when you wouldn’t want to use a foam fire extinguisher. Here are some great examples where you might want to consider an alternative choice.

  • Electrical Fires

Some elements of the solution inside a fire extinguisher can be conductive. This means that electricity can travel up the jet of water into the fire extinguisher. While water is the best example, this can also happen with other types of fire extinguishers.

It is worth noting that a good quality foam extinguisher may come fitted with a nozzle that makes it nonconductive. Still, a type C extinguisher is better for electrical fires.

  • Industrial Settings

Foam fire extinguishers won’t work on burning metal (which can normally have an extremely high temperature). If you use a foam fire extinguisher on a metal fire, you might actually make the fire worse!

  • Kitchen Fires

Foam fire extinguishers, by nature, have a very high pressure when discharged. If used in a kitchen setting on, say, burning oil, you run the real risk of blasting and spreading the fire.

  • Extremely Large Fires

All fire extinguishers have limits. In the event of big fires, they are not there to be used to completely contain ablaze. They should be used to carve a path to safety. If you need greater protection, it may be worth installing a fire hose or cabinet.


How to Use a Fire Foam Extinguisher

The good news about foam fire extinguishers is that they are really easy to use. If you are considering investing in one, here is what you would need to do to use it:

  1. Remove the fire extinguisher from its housing. Place it on the ground using its base and remove the safety pin.
  2. Point the nozzle of the hose at the base of the fire. Squeeze the trigger, button, or handles on the fire extinguisher to release the foam. The aim is not to attack the flames but attack their source. Use a sweeping motion to apply a blanket of foam to the base of the fire.
  3. As the fire reduces in size, you can move slightly closer to apply extra foam to any suspected hot spots more accurately.
  4. You will want to discharge the fire extinguisher fully. Most fire extinguishers are single-use, and also the extra foam used will cool the area around the fire to prevent reignition.


Advantages to Foam Fire Extinguishers

Why should you get a foam fire extinguisher?

Well, there are several key advantages. Here are the main reasons why it is a great idea:

  • They are really affordable.

Don’t let the price put you off. When it comes to choosing a good fire extinguisher, foam devices are a really great investment, especially considering the cost of the alternative.

  • Foam fire extinguishers are a good ‘catch-all.’

Because foam fire extinguishers work on both type A and B fires, they are ideal in most situations.

  • They are portable.

Foam fire extinguishers come in a range of sizes, making them the perfect choice for smaller locations.

  • They are very effective.

When it comes to putting out a fire, foam fire extinguishers work really quickly and effectively. The process of using a foam fire extinguisher, as we described above, takes around 20 seconds from start to finish. The sooner a fire is extinguished, the less of a threat it presents.



If you want to make sure that a foam fire extinguisher is for you, it pays to get expert advice. Fraker Fire Protection serves the California area and can offer consultations alongside an extensive range of fire extinguishers and other fire protection equipment.

We can offer advice to businesses and homeowners looking to protect their property. Why not call Fraker Fire today and find out what we can do for you?

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