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A close-up of a fire extinguisher gauge

Water Fire Extinguishers

A collection of water, powder and CO2 fire extinguishers

What types of fire should a Water fire extinguisher be used on?

  • Water fire extinguishers are for use on Class A fires, such as on wood,
    paper and fabrics.

  • Water extinguishers do not contain harmful chemicals and have a
    limited environmental impact, so are a common choice for use in
    warehouses, schools and in food preparation areas. The
    water cools the burning material in order to stop the fire effectively.

When not to use a Water fire extinguisher

Water extinguishers should not be used on:
Class B fires
Those which involve flammable liquids such as petrol or solvents. Water
can cause the burning liquid to spread, worsening the fire.
Class C fires
Those which involve gas, such as from camping gas canisters.
Class D fires
Those which involve certain metals are unstable when water is added.

Electrical fires

Water conducts electricity, so the risk of electrocution is high.
Class F fires
Cooking fires, such as from a chip pan. Again, the water can cause the burning oil to spread and worsen the situation.

How to recognise a Water fire extinguisher 

Water fire extinguishers are red in colour with a white label reading ‘Water’ along with instructions for use. In addition to this, you should find an identification sign above the extinguisher with the categories of fire that it can/can’t be used on.

What are the common Water fire extinguisher sizes available?

Water extinguishers come in 3 litre, 6 litre and 9 litre sizes. Consideration must be given to the weight and capacity of each size option. For example, the 9 litre water extinguisher is significantly heavier, making it less easy to handle and move. 


Firetronik will advise you of the most appropriate option depending on your specific situation and needs.

How do Water fire extinguishers work?

Water extinguishers are effective on Class A fires as they cool the burning material(s), dampening the fire and reducing the likelihood of it spreading.

Which environments require Water fire extinguishers?

Technological advancement and the versatility of other extinguishers means that water extinguishers are perhaps not as commonly recommended as they once were. However, the reduced environmental impact and lower price point still makes them a good option to consider in certain environments.


Locations which are used to store combustible materials in particular lend themselves to having water extinguishers, such as warehouses and factories. Similarly, water extinguishers are often used in residential properties.

How to use a Water fire extinguisher:

Following identification of the type of fire as Class A, ensure it is safe to approach the fire without risking your safety. 

  1. At a safe distance away, remove the metal safety pin to break the plastic tamper seal.

  2. Hold the handle with one hand and the hose with the other. Aim the hose at the base of the flames, not at the flames themselves.

  3. Squeeze the handle to propel the water towards the source of the flames.

  4. Use a sweeping motion to move the jet of water from side to side until the fire is extinguished. 

  5. Once the fire is extinguished, you should call your fire protection company to service the extinguisher.

To learn more about fire and how to use fire extinguishers, try this online fire extinguisher course here.

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