The Colour Code for Fire Extinguishers
It is critical to have the right fire extinguisher for the right job in all situations but none more so than in motor racing. The aim of a racing car fire suppression system is to suppress the fire long enough to allow for the safe exit from the vehicle of the occupants either by themselves or with the help from trackside marshals. The FIA standard states that the fire suppression system is mainly designed to delay the development of the fire and consequently give the driver more time to exit the car. The system is not designed to put out the fire and prevent the car from burning.
Fire extinguishers in the United Kingdom are generally colour coded to identify the extinguishing medium that has been used, by use of a coloured patch:
- A Cream patch on a red extinguisher denotes a FOAM fire extinguisher.
- A Blue patch on a red extinguisher denotes a POWDER fire extinguisher.
- A BLACK patch on a red extinguisher denotes a CO2 fire extinguisher.
- A RED patch on a red extinguisher denotes a WATER fire extinguisher.
Fire Ratings – Different Classes of Fire
Below is a list of the different types of fire you may come across. In motorsport flammable liquids are obviously one of the most important factors but plastic, paint and solvents also pose a threat as well as electrical fires. Gas may be an issue in some special situations where nitrous oxide might be used.
- (A) Class fires involving flammable solid materials, include Wood, Paper and Carbonaceous materials.
- (B) Class fires involving flammable liquids such as Paint, Petrol, Oil, Fat, Solvents and Grease.
- (C) Class fires involving flammable Gasses, including Propane gas, Butane gas and Natural gas.
- (E) Class fires involving Electrical, CO2, Carbon Dioxide are safe on electrical fires, as well as ABC dry powder.
What to Use
Refer to the types of fire in the “Fire Ratings – Different Classes of Fire” section above.
Below is a list of the types of suppressant that should be used on the corresponding types of fires listed above.
- Water – (A) Types of Fire
- Dry Powder – (A) (B) (C) and (E) Types of Fire
- CO2 – (B) (C) and (E) Types of Fire
- Foam – (A) and (B) Types of Fire
Important Do NOTS
Do not use Water Extinguishers on (B) Class fires or (E) class fires
If there is a risk to life, a risk of explosion, or the fire is out of control DO NOT attempt to put it out – Call the emergency services.
For more detailed technical data about any of our fire extinguisher systems include the suppressants used please contact us today. Our highly skilled and friendly team will be able to advise not only on the type of suppressant to use but also on the type of fire extinguisher system for each and every type of car and motorsport.
For more information on any of FEV’s fire safety systems, please feel free to get in touch. Whatever your requirements for a car fire extinguisher, we would be delighted to discuss and advise you on the best solution available for your specification and budget.