Water Fire Extinguishers

by Curtis Worthington

Water Fire Extinguishers

A fire is something we never expect to happen to us, our home or business premises, but unfortunately these things can happen.

That’s why it’s always important to arm yourself with all the relevant equipment, such as fire extinguishers, to ensure these places are safe.


However, arming yourself with this equipment is one thing, but knowing how they work and how to use them is another.


Our previous guides have demonstrated how to use both CO2 and foam fire extinguishers, and this time we’re taking you through the ins and outs of water fire extinguishers below.


What is a Water Fire Extinguisher?


They often say you can’t improve on the original and although there are many other extinguishers out there to choose from, the original water fire extinguisher is still one of the most used around.


A standard type fire extinguisher, these only work on fires that have been started through flammable solids, making them good for using in a number of facilities.


Not always known as a water fire extinguisher, many may refer to these as Class A fire extinguishers too.


When to use and not to use a Water Fire Extinguisher


As the original fire extinguishers, you’d expect them to be used on a number of different types of fires.


However, due to the extinguisher dispensing water, you’re limited to the types of fires that these can be beneficial for. Fires you can use water extinguishers on are:


  • Those that are started through flammable solids such as paper, wood and textiles, also known as Class A fires.


Due to the extinguisher dispensing only water, there are a number of fires that these cannot be used on. These are:


  • Electrical fires, this is because it’s extremely dangerous to expose the electrics to water, which could result in electrocution
  • Those that are started by flammable liquids such as paint or petrol, also known as Class B fires
  • Fires involving flammable gasses, which could include methane and butane, also known as Class C fires
  • Fires started through means of cooking, such as chip pans that involve oil and grease, which are also known as Class B fires


Types of Water Extinguisher


Although the original fire extinguisher, there are also different types available, aside from the general use extinguisher. These include:


Water Spray Extinguisher


  • These are extremely effective when it comes to fighting fires when compared to traditional water ones. This is due to them spraying water over a wider surface area as the discharge is not as a single jet but as a fine spray
  • However, like the traditional water fire extinguishers these can only be used on Class A fires



How to Identify a Water Fire Extinguisher


Identifying a fire extinguisher is relatively easy due to their well-known colour and shape that everyone has become accustomed to. However, identifying the type of extinguisher is where it can get difficult.


As a water fire extinguisher can only be used on one type of fire, it’s extremely useful to be able to identify one straight away. If you have time you’ll be able to notice the label on the extinguisher that reads ‘water’. You may also be able to identify the extinguisher ID sign that’s usually fixed nearby, which says ‘Water Extinguisher’.


However, if you don’t have the time you’ll be able to identify a water fire extinguisher through the white label that reads water. Therefore, if you’re about to tackle an electrical fire and the label is white, don’t use it as the outcome could be critical.


You’ll also find water fire extinguishers in three different sizes, which include three, six and nine litres.


How Water Fire Extinguishers Work


Knowing the intricate workings of the fire extinguisher will both help you out when using it and point you in the right direction when it comes to purchasing one for your premises.


Due to water having a cooling effect, this is what makes it such a great agent when tackling fires head on.


When directed towards the flame, the water will lower the temperature of the fire, therefore making it impossible to continue burning, eventually extinguishing it.


How to use a Water Fire Extinguisher

Knowing about fire extinguishers is one thing but knowing how to use one is another. Being able to identify the type of fire and the extinguisher you need during a fire is always a great start, as is knowing the intricate workings of each extinguisher, such as how they stop the flames.


As one of the safest types of extinguishers to use, these are essentially just a point and spray kind of affair. Below is a breakdown of how to tackle a fire using one of these extinguishers:


  • Firstly, just like any other extinguisher, remove the safety pin to break the anti-tamper seal
  • Then stand well back from the fire to ensure your safety
  • Grab the nozzle and point it toward the base of the flames before squeezing the handle to release the contents of the extinguisher
  • Then keep hold of the nozzle and continue spaying until you’re sure the fire has been completely extinguished


How Long Does a Water Fire Extinguisher Last?


For most fire extinguishers, including water fire extinguishers, it is important that they are serviced by a competent company and certificated at least annually. It is also advised that the customer should also check , monthly , for such items listed below….



  • Broken or leaky seals
  • Any signs of tampering such as a broken seal
  • A wobbly or broken handle


  • A  damaged canister




The Pros and Cons of a Water Fire Extinguisher


As the original and still highly used fire extinguisher, you’d be safe in thinking that water fire extinguishers are extremely effective.


Although they are great for tackling particular fires, just like other extinguishers, these come with their positives and negatives. These are:




  • Highly cooling, which helps to put out fires rapidly
  • No negative environmental impact




  • Only works on one class of fire
  • Can be extremely dangerous if water comes into contact with electrical equipment


Who Should Have a Water Fire Extinguisher?


Everyone needs a fire extinguisher if they own premises, it is a legal requirement under the legislation of the Regulatory Reform Order (2005)


Although the original extinguishers, today it is much more common for businesses to have foam extinguishers to hand, due to them being able to tackle both Class A and Class B fires.


However, that doesn’t mean that water extinguishers aren’t helpful to have around. In fact, they are extremely handy for premises that house large quantities of combustible materials. These include:


  • Paper mills
  • Storage units
  • Textile factories
  • Warehouses




In Synopsis


With a water fire extinguisher being a commonly used fire safety tool, this information should give you the confidence to use one efficiently, safely and effectively should a fire break out.


You’ll also be aware of how to identify one and when best not to use one, or one of its variants during particular types of fires.

Whether you’re considering getting extra safety for your home, you’re a landlord, the owner of any other form of premises, or you’re currently kitting out some new premises, you’ll find a wide range of water fire extinguishers to meet your needs right here.


However, for those of you that are still unsure of the type of fire extinguisher you may need for your home or business, or if you still require some help and guidance, you can contact us on either 0800 316 1469 or 0330 058 0631.