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When Should Dry Chemical Powder Fire Extinguishers Be Used?

In India, one of the most popular types of fire extinguishers is the dry chemical powder (DCP) type. 

This is due to their versatility in fighting a wide range of fires, their efficacy in doing so, and the affordable price of DCP extinguishers on the market.

When Should Dry Chemical Powder Fire Extinguishers Be Used

How To Identify Fire Extinguishers Made Of Dry Chemical Powder

When installed in a building, DCP fire extinguishers can also be recognized by a description sign that specifies which types of fires they are suitable for and cannot be used for. 

Dry chemical powder fire extinguishers are easily identified by the white band that surrounds the fire extinguisher cylinder near the top.

It should be noted that there are two varieties of dry chemical powder fire extinguishers: ABC and BC types.

An ABC dry chemical powder fire extinguisher is the most popular kind. This is based on the three classes of fire Class A, B, and C that the extinguisher is effective against.

A BC dry chemical powder fire extinguisher is the name of the second kind of dry chemical powder fire extinguisher. 

This is also based on the classes of fire (Class B and C) that the extinguisher is effective against. Compared to the ABC type, BC type dry chemical powder fire extinguishers are far less common.

While the white band is present on both varieties of dry chemical powder fire extinguishers, the designation sign should be different.

Which Types Of Fires Can Be Put Out With Dry Chemical Powder Fire Extinguishers?

Dry chemical powder fire extinguishers are very effective and versatile, as has already been mentioned.

Type ABC:

Type BC:

  • Class B Fires: Petroleum based liquid fires, diesel, oil, and so forth
  • Class E Fires: Electrical fires, switchboards, photocopiers, computers, etc.
  • Class F Fires: Cooking oil can be extinguished with the BE type even though it is not rated. 

Both varieties of dry chemical powder fire extinguishers are effective against flammable gas fires; however, before using one, carefully assess the situation. 

While extinguishing a fire puts out the gas, leaving the gas behind may cause it to build up, leak, or even explode if an ignition source is set off.

How Does Dry Chemical Powder Fire Extinguishers Work?

Heat, fuel, and oxygen are the three components of the fire triangle that are eliminated by all fire extinguishers.

Monoammonium phosphate is the dry chemical powder that is used in the majority of ABE fire extinguishers. 

When heated, this powder’s ability to melt and flow enables it to coat the fuel and put out fires, particularly class A and E fires. 

In class B fires, the powder smothers the fire’s surface and prevents fuel vapor from escaping, instantly putting out the fire. 

The powder won’t usually melt in flammable liquid fires because the fuel source doesn’t retain a lot of heat.

BE type dry chemical powder extinguishers are classified as ineffective against class A fires because they do not melt onto the fuel surface.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Dry Chemical Powder Extinguishers?

When compared to other fire extinguishers, dry chemical powder extinguishers have the following benefits:-


Suitable for a wide range of fire types


Puts out flames fast


In contrast to other fire extinguisher types, it is more effective and smaller in size.


Their low costs result in an excellent price/performance ratio.


It can protect big areas from fire


Available in a wide range of sizes and ratings


Because of their adaptability, they can be used without the risk of electrical fires.

What Disadvantages Can Dry Chemical Powder Extinguishers Have?

When compared to other fire extinguishers, dry chemical powder extinguishers also have the following drawbacks:-

Because of the powder, there may be a lot of cleanup required after use.


Dust can have an impact on delicate electronics like computers.


In enclosed areas, visibility can be practically eliminated. Always locate the exit before using it!

Breathing in confined spaces may become nearly impossible due to the powder.

Single shot: 

Dry chemical powder fire extinguishers lose pressure quickly, even if they are only activated for a brief period of time. 

Nevertheless, all fire extinguishers should be refilled and replaced after use. 

This happens as a result of the powder becoming lodged in the valve and letting the pressure escape.

Compacted powder: 

The dry chemical powder may settle and compact at the fire extinguisher’s bottom if it is not serviced or is not serviced properly. 

Because of this, the powder does not discharge completely or accurately when used.

How to Use a Powder Fire Extinguisher

Even though powder fire extinguishers can be used on class A, class B, and class C fires, their applications vary based on the kind of fire.

Only use an extinguisher to put out small fires. If the fire has spread, leave the area right away, alert others to the presence of the fire, and then dial for help from the fire and rescue services. 

Please be advised that the extinguisher’s powder spreads and could be inhaled. It might also make things less visible. 

Therefore, only use in enclosed spaces with caution. Make sure to maintain a safe distance and adhere to the guidelines below if you decide to put out the fire.

1. Pulling the safety pin will cause the tamper seal to break. Pull the lever to begin the extinguisher’s discharge.

2. Aiming with the extinguisher:

  • Solid Materials: Move the nozzle across the fire’s area, aiming it at the base of the flames.
  • Spilled liquid: Point the nozzle at the near edge of the fire and quickly move the fire in the direction of the far edge until all of the flames are out.
  • Flowing liquids: Once all of the flames have been extinguished, aim the nozzle at the base of the flames and sweep upward.
  • Gas burning: Turn off the gas supply as quickly as possible! To put out the flare, aim the powder at it.
  • Electrical devices: When it’s safe to do so, turn off the power and point the nozzle directly at the fire.

3. When using a powder fire extinguisher, be sure to carefully check for re ignition after the fire has been put out.

Dry powder fire extinguishers and who needs them?

A dry powder fire extinguisher is a great option for outdoor settings where there are multiple fire hazards, including fuel, vehicle, and chemical. 

These kinds of settings consist of the following:

  • Sizable workshops
  • Large boiler rooms for commercial use
  • Forecourts of garages
  • Tankers of fuel
  • Facilities for storing flammable liquids

Where Can Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers Be Used?

An extinguisher with dry powder there are many different circumstances in which a dry powder fire extinguisher can be used, including the following:

Using a conventional fire extinguisher with dry powder:

Class A fires are defined as those involving combustible solids such as wood, paper, and textiles.

Class B fires are fires involving combustible liquids, such as gasoline, paint, and diesel.

Class C fires: these are fires involving combustible gases like methane or butane.

Electrical fires in which a maximum of 1000 volts is present in the electrical equipment

Using a fire extinguisher made specifically for dry powder:

Only this type of L2 powder extinguisher can be used to put out lithium-related fires.

Any remaining flammable metal fires can be put out with M28 powder extinguishers alone.

Where Can Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers Not Be Used?

The following circumstances should never be addressed with a dry powder fire extinguisher:

  • Class F fires: cooking fires, like those that occur in chip pans
  • Fires occurring in enclosed areas
  • Fires involving over 1000 volt electrical equipment
  • Metal related fires (apart from those that require specialized dry powder extinguishers)

What Other Names Are There for Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers?

Another name for a dry powder fire extinguisher is one of the following:

  • Dry chemical extinguisher for fires
  • Fire extinguisher ABC
  • Versatile fire extinguisher


When it’s convenient for you, our Fire Fighting Company will visit your location to service your fire extinguishers. 

To schedule a visit and choose the best course of action moving forward, contact us right now.

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