How to safely use Co2 fire extinguishers

July 26th, 2017

One of the common risks and injuries we hear about time and time again when it comes to using Co2 fire extinguishers is frost burn.

If you have ever had the misfortune to receive a painful frost burn from Co2 fire extinguishers, you will appreciate the importance of a competent service provider.

There are two common reasons why users get burnt when operating a Co2 fire extinguishers.

  1. Co2 leaks out at the threaded joint between the valve and the discharge horn burning the area between the thumb and forefinger. The remedy is to replace the washer at every service and ensure a BAFE SP101 accredited company services the equipment.
  2. The operator grabs the discharge horn as the Co2 is discharged causing burns to the palm and potential loss of skin if the palm becomes ‘cold welded’ to the discharge horn. To avoid this problem is imperative to train staff in the correct operation and fit a product called a frost-free horn. Frost free horns are double skinned discharge horns that provide additional protection to stop the user getting burnt if they were to hold the horn during discharge.

In 2015, after 9 years of service Tecserv lost one of its most prestigious clients to a cheaper supplier. Within four months we gained the client back, because their new service provider failed to fit a washer to a brand new Co2 extinguisher which subsequently resulted in the operator receiving frost burn when tackling a fire.

The following are some tips on how to use a Co2 fire extinguisher safely;

  1. Remain a safe distance from the fire and remove the safety pin. This will break the tamper seal and ensure the Co2 extinguisher is ready to use.
  2. Unless you have a frost-free horn, do not hold the horn as it becomes extremely cold during use and can lead to severe frost burns. Only purchase CO2 extinguishers with frost-free horn to prevent this happening.
  3.  Aiming the extinguisher:
    o Flammable liquids: Aim the horn at the base of the fire and be careful not to splash the burning liquid with the powerful jet of the C02 extinguisher.
    o Electrical equipment: If it is safe to do, switch off the power and direct the hose straight at the fire.
  4. Squeeze the lever slowly to begin discharging the extinguisher and then when the fire starts to diminish carefully move closer.
  5. Ensure the fire has been extinguished completely as re-ignition is possible when C02 fire extinguishers have been used.

Tecserv UK Ltd are third party accredited to BAFE SP101 and fit frost-free horns to all our new Co2 fire extinguishers as standard. We can also provide formal staff training on the correct selection and use of portable appliances.

To contact a member of the Tecserv UK team for more information please call 01773 764626.