The most common household fire extinguisher is the dry chemical extinguisher. The dry chemical extinguisher is designed to handle Class A fires such as organic solid material such as wood, Class B fires that involve liquid such as gas and oil, and Class C fires that involve electricity. The dry chemical extinguisher can be designed and installed for fixed system use and portable extinguisher use. If using a portable dry chemical extinguisher use caution when fighting active fires and contact authorities should the fire breach the contained area.

Fire has a long history of presenting issues to humankind through loss of life, loss of property, and personal possessions. The first patented fire extinguisher was created in 1723, by Ambrose Godfrey designed to extinguish a fire should the need arise. Since then many improvements have been made and fire extinguishers are now designed for specific use, such as the dry chemical fire extinguisher.


Wikipedia states there are several types of dry chemical fire extinguishing agents that are listed below.
Dry chemical This is a powder based agent that extinguishes by separating the four parts of the fire tetrahedron. It prevents the chemical reaction involving heat, fuel, and oxygen and halts the production of fire sustaining “free-radicals”, thus extinguishing the fire.
Monoammonium phosphate, also known as “tri-class”, “multipurpose” or “ABC” dry chemical, used on class A, B, and C fires. It receives its class A rating from the agent’s ability to melt and flow at 177 °C (350 °F) to smother the fire. More corrosive than other dry chemical agents. Pale yellow in color.
Sodium bicarbonate, “regular” or “ordinary” used on class B and C fires, was the first of the dry chemical agents developed. In the heat of a fire, it releases a cloud of carbon dioxide that smothers the fire. That is the gas drives oxygen away from the fire, thus stopping the chemical reaction. This agent is not generally effective on class A fires because the agent is expended and the cloud of case dissipates quickly, and if the fuel is still sufficiently hot, the fire starts up again. While liquid and gas fires don’t usually store much heat in their fuel source, solid fires do. Sodium bicarbonate was very common in commercial kitchens before the advent of wet chemical agents, but now is falling out of favor, as it is much less effective than wet chemical agents for class K fires, less effective than Purple-K for class B fires, and is ineffective on class A fires. White or blue in color.
Potassium bicarbonate (aka Purple-K), used on class B and C fires. About two times as effective on class B fires as sodium bicarbonate, it is the preferred dry chemical agent of the oil and gas industry. The only dry chemical agent certified for use in ARFF by the NFPA. Violet in color.
Potassium bicarbonate & Urea Complex (aka Monnex/Powerex), used on Class B and C fires. More effective than all other powders due to its ability to decrepitate (where the powder breaks up into smaller particles) in the flame zone creating a larger surface area for free radical inhibition. Grey in color.
Potassium Chloride, or Super-K dry chemical was developed in an effort to create a high efficiency, protein-foam compatible dry chemical. Developed in the 60s, prior to Purple-K, it was never as popular as other agents since, being a salt, it was quite corrosive. For B and C fires, white in color.
Foam-Compatible, which is a sodium bicarbonate(BC) based dry chemical, was developed for use with protein foams for fighting class B fires. Most dry chemicals contain metal stearates to waterproof them, but these will tend to destroy the foam blanket created by protein (animal) based foams. Foam compatible type uses silicone as a waterproofing agent, which does not harm foam. Effectiveness is identical to regular dry chemical, and it is light green in color (some ANSUL brand formulations are blue). This agent is generally no longer used since most modern dry chemicals are considered compatible with synthetic foams such as AFFF.
MET-L-KYL / PYROKYL is a specialty variation of sodium bicarbonate for fighting pyrophoric liquid fires (ignite on contact with air). In addition to sodium bicarbonate, it also contains silica gel particles. The sodium bicarbonate interrupts the chain reaction of the fuel and the silica soaks up any unburned fuel, preventing contact with air. It is effective on other class B fuels as well. Blue/Red in color.

OSHAhas the following requirements for commercial buildings and public use facilities:
• Part Number: 1910
• Part Title: Occupational Safety and Health Standards
• Subpart: L
• Subpart Title: Fire Protection
• Standard Number: 1910.161
• Title: Fixed extinguishing systems, dry chemical.


Scope and application. This section applies to all fixed extinguishing systems, using dry chemical as the extinguishing agent, installed to meet a particular OSHA standard. These systems shall also comply with 1910.160.
Specific requirements.
The employer shall assure that dry chemical agents are compatible with any foams or wetting agents with which they are used.
The employer may not mix together dry chemical extinguishing agents of different compositions. The employer shall assure that dry chemical systems are refilled with the chemical stated on the approval nameplate or an equivalent compatible material.
When dry chemical discharge may obscure vision, the employer shall provide a pre-discharge employee alarm which complies with 1910.165 and which will give employees time to safely exit from the discharge area prior to system discharge.
The employer shall sample the dry chemical supply of all but stored pressure systems at least annually to assure that the dry chemical supply is free of moisture which may cause the supply to cake or form lumps.
The employer shall assure that the rate of application of dry chemicals is such that the designed concentration of the system will be reached within 30 seconds of initial discharge.

[45 FR 60712, Sept. 12, 1980]

Firecode Safety Equipment, Inc.

Sacramento, California Fire Protection Company:
Office: (916) 456-5561
Toll Free: (800) 326-FIRE (3473)

3722 W Pacific Ave
Sacramento CA 95820-1000

Protecting home residents and commercial business owners in California with fire protection systems since 1982.

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