Automatic Fire Extinguishers
Automatic fire extinguishers are the best choice for fire safety in areas where a fixed, plumbed fire suppressing system is impractical, or not cost effective. Automatic fire extinguishers are also effective in protecting unsupervised machinery areas, from switch rooms to boat engine compartments.
An automatic fire extinguisher hangs from the ceiling, and instead of levers, has a heat-sensitive bulb fitted. When the temperature rises above a set level (either 68 or 79 degrees Centigrade), the bulb breaks and releases the extinguisher's contents automatically.
Types of Automatic Fire Extinguishers
Two main types of automatic fire extinguisher are available, either a powder or FE36 extinguisher. The powder extinguisher option is cheaper and can tackle a wide range of fires, but it does leave a residue. The FE36 fire extinguisher contains a gas which smothers the fire and leaves no residue. An FE36 automatic fire extinguisher can also be mounted horizontally, useful for small rooms or boat compartments.
FE36 gas has replaced the now-illegal gas Halon, which depleted the ozone layer. FE36 does not deplete ozone, and works by displacing the oxygen in the compartment, thus smothering the fire by depriving it of fuel (oxygen). To avoid being smothered yourself, you must always fully ventilate any fire site extinguished with FE36 before entering.
Powder automatic fire extinguishers are available in 1kg, 2kg, 4kg, 6kg and 10kg weights, whilst automatic FE36 extinguishers are available in 1kg, 2kg, 4kg and 6kg sizes.