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Word Count: 760
A fire extinguisher is a portable or movable apparatus used to put out a small fire by directing onto it a substance that cools the burning material deprives the flame of oxygen or interferes with the chemical reactions occurring in the flame Water performs two of these functions its conversion to steam absorbs heat and the steam displaces the air from the vicinity of the flame Many simple fire extinguishers therefore are small tanks equipped with hand pumps or sources of compressed gas to propel water through a nozzle The water may contain a wetting agent to make it more effective against fires in upholstery an additive to produce a stable foam that acts as a barrier against oxygen or an antifreeze Carbon dioxide is a common propellant that is used in store-pressure extinguishers brought into play by removing the locking pin of the cylinder valve containing the liquefied gas this method has superseded the process used in the soda-acid fire extinguisher of generating carbon dioxide by mixing sulfuric acid with a solution of sodium bicarbonateNumerous agents besides water are used the selection of the most appropriate one depends primarily on the nature of the materials that are burning Secondary considerations include cost stability toxicity ease of cleanup and the presence of electrical hazardSmall fires are classified according to the nature of the burning material Class A fires involve wood paper and the like Class B fires involve flammable liquids such as cooking fats and paint thinners Class C fires are those in electrical equipment Class D fires involve highly reactive metals such as sodium and magnesium Water is suitable for putting out fires of only one of these classes A though these are the most common Fires of classes A B and C can be controlled by carbon dioxide halogenated hydrocarbons such as halons or dry chemicals such as sodium bicarbonate or ammonium dihydrogen phosphate Class D fires ordinarily are combated with dry chemicalsFour
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