Apartment Fire Safety – The Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

A housing society needs special fire safety measures and this is mainly because it houses many flats or houses, within one or multiple buildings. People share common areas and amenities such as club-houses, lifts, play and parking areas, pools, and terraces and the threat of a fire breaking out will always be high unless proper measures are taken.Fire Safety

The Problem of Housing Society Fire Safety

One of the biggest challenges faced by a housing society is the danger of a fire breaking out. Since these societies largely comprise of many flats that are built next to each other in order to achieve maximum utilization of space by commercial builders, exit routes in some cases are not clearly defined or sufficient for the large number of residents involved.

The primary aid in case of a fire, therefore are fire-extinguishers, and a housing society needs to invest in appropriate fire-fighting mechanisms for the safety of its residents.

Fire safety refers to:

  • Measures taken to prevent a fire from breaking out
  • Reducing the risk of severe injury or death due to fire
  • Managing a fire incident with use of equipment and evacuation techniques, reducing damage to property
  • Making involved parties aware of evacuation procedures and alerting them in case of a fire

Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers come in four different varieties. These are:

  • Water fire extinguishers (The most widely used and economical fire extinguishers)
  • Foam fire extinguishers
  • Dry Powder fire extinguishers
  • CO2 fire extinguishers

Choosing Fire Extinguishers for a Housing Society

The choice of the appropriate fire extinguisher depends on the class of fire, which is based on the nature of the fire or the material involved in the fire. There are six classes of fire, ranging from classes A to F.

  • In Class A, the surrounding material near the fire is primarily solid, like paper, plastics, and wood.
  • Class B fires involve flammable liquids like petrol, paraffin, and oil.
  • Class C fires are fueled by flammable gases.
  • In Class D, metals are the items that are burnt.
  • Classes E and F are fires that occur around electrical apparatus and cooking fats and oils respectively.

Depending on the class of fire, i.e., the materials that are directly involved in the fire and the materials in the surrounding areas, the appropriate extinguisher has to be selected and used. Water fire extinguishers are mainly used for Class A fires, but they are unsuitable for Classes B and E. Foam fire extinguishers are versatile and safer to use but more expensive.

Proper Placement of Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers need to be placed in strategic and easily accessible locations. Residents should be made aware of them and some volunteers may be trained to use them, on each floor and block of the housing society.

Fire extinguishers need to be checked from time to time for their efficacy. Mock fire-drills are important in educating residents about evacuation and safety in case of fire, especially in high-rise buildings, where lifts are generally closed when the fire spreads.


This article aims at collating and providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use it only as a guidance for further discussion and action with help of relevant professionals.

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