Let’s talk about finding the right fire extinguisher. In any oil and gas facility, the risk of fire is inherently higher than in a more conventional setting like an office building. For that reason, your facility is equipped with different types of fire extinguishers specifically designed to effectively fight different classes of fires.

And while most oil and gas facilities understand the heightened risk of fire present in these spaces, it’s not always easy to know which of the fire extinguishers available at your facility provide the best response to any given hazard. This article aims to identify three common fire extinguishers employed in fire and gas applications, and arms you with the information you need to understand when and who can best apply these extinguishers.

How to Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher For Your Oil and Gas Application

When choosing the right fire extinguisher, you must first consider the classes of fire that are most likely to occur in your facility. Then consider the training level of the people who will be using it and what type of extinguisher they will be most comfortable using. Finally, consider special features that make the extinguisher most effective in your facility, whether it’s the ability to recharge the cartridge or a specialized design for your environment or application.

Let’s start with a look at three fire extinguishers commonly installed in oil and gas facilities. We’ll identify key features and applications for each oil and gas fire extinguisher, so your team can better understand when and how they should be applied.

Comparing 3 Fire Extinguishers Commonly Used in the Oil and Gas Industry

All three of these fire extinguishers are designed for use in oil and gas environments, but each is particularly useful in different situations. While each of these extinguishers is available in a range of sizes and with a variety of features, for clarity, we’ve chosen to compare the 20lb handheld models of both Ansul RED LINE and Ansul SENTRY extinguishers, and the 150lb model of the Ansul RED LINE wheeled extinguisher.

Ansul RED LINE Portable Handheld Fire Extinguisher

Designed for the protection of both ordinary and high-risk hazards, Ansul RED LINE handheld, portable fire extinguishers make use of a dry chemical fire suppression agent. Because these extinguishers are cartridge operated, they are ideal for frequent and repeated use. Both novice and experienced operators can successfully actuate an Ansul RED LINE handheld fire extinguisher, but experienced operators achieve a much higher capability than a novice operator.

Where is the Ansul RED LINE Handheld Portable Extinguisher Used?

This fire extinguisher is most commonly used in oil and gas facilities where there is a higher risk of fire. Common applications include refining, petrochemical, oil and natural gas production, mining, transportation, utilities, metal processing, paint process areas, welding areas, material storage areas, and many others.

Ansul SENTRY Portable Handheld Fire Extinguisher

Designed for protection of light and ordinary hazards the Ansul SENTRY portable fire extinguisher packs less punch than the RED LINE, but is applicable to a wider range of light and ordinary hazards. This fire extinguisher is best used for commercial and compliance fire protection needs, and is most likely found in more traditional office buildings within your oil and gas facility. All Ansul SENTRY extinguishers are designed to fit most wall-mounted storage cabinets to ensure they are accessible to both novice and experienced operators. Like the Ansul RED LINE extinguisher, experienced operators will achieve better fire suppression results with this extinguisher than novice operators.

Where is the Ansul SENTRY Handheld Portable Extinguisher Used?

This extinguisher is best used in environments where fire hazards are not oil and gas specific. Often found in offices, warehouses, and other areas with ordinary fire hazards, the Ansul SENTRY is ideal for applications like light manufacturing, warehousing, restaurants, office buildings, shop areas, auto repair shop, paint process areas, apartment buildings, parking garages, aircraft servicing areas, material handling vehicles, and many others.

Ansul RED LINE Wheeled Fire Extinguisher

Designed to provide protection for hazardous areas where there is a high potential for large fires. The Ansul RED LINE wheeled fire extinguisher is manufactured to provide the highest level of protection in your oil and gas facility. These extinguishers are wheeled so they may be actuated quickly at the source of a fire hazard, and are often strategically located throughout your oil and gas facility to provide maximum protection, without taking up much space.

RED LINE wheeled fire extinguishers require only one trained, experienced person to operate, but they are not suitable for novice operators.

Where is the Ansul RED LINE Wheeled Fire Extinguisher Used?

As mentioned, wheeled fire extinguishers like this one are often strategically placed throughout your oil and gas facility to provide maximum protection in high-hazard areas. They are most commonly used in refineries, chemical plants, offshore platforms, heavy manufacturing operations, loading racks, fuel storage areas, and airports.

A Direct Comparison of 3 Commonly Used Oil and Gas Fire Extinguishers

With a better understanding of each of these three commonly used oil and gas fire extinguishers, it may be helpful to see the applications, details, and specifications of all three in this direct comparison table:

Fire Extinguisher Application Details Flow Rate
Ansul RED LINE 20 lb. Handheld Portable Extinguisher Model: HF-I-K-G-1 For refinery, petrochemical, oil and natural gas production, welding, material storage, and many more.  Cartridge operated to pressurize the extinguisher and expel the extinguishing agent further and faster. Made for repeated and frequent use.  1.55 lb/sec

Ansul SENTRY 20lb.  Dry Chemical Handheld  Portable Extinguisher

Model: HF-PK-20

For light manufacturing, warehousing, office buildings, shop areas, aircraft servicing areas, material handling vehicles, and more.  Stored pressure operated.  1.19 lb/sec
Ansul RED LINE 150 lbs Dry Chemical Wheeled Extinguisher Model: CR-RT-LR-I-K-150-C For refinery, chemical plants, offshore platform, heavy manufacturing, fuel loading racks, storage areas, and more.  Completely self-contained. An attached nitrogen cylinder is the only pressure source required to completely expel fire suppression agent.  4.4 lb/sec

* The high-flow extinguishers have been designed for pressurized flammable liquids and gas fires and other special hazards where agent flow rate is crucial to extinguishment. (Reference NFPA 10, paragraph 5.5.1.1 and 5.5.2)

The Value of Fire Extinguisher Training

The fire extinguishers in your facility are only as useful as your people are trained to use them. Proper fire extinguisher education and training can ensure that staff:

  • Know what type of fire extinguisher will be most effective for the fire they are fighting.
  • Can implement it correctly to effectively prevent the fire from accelerating.
  • Can use the capacity of the fire extinguisher with optimal efficiency. Higher capacity can equal better area of coverage, but only if operators are properly trained.

The Efficacy of Novice vs. Experienced Extinguisher Operators

Fire extinguisher training is often pushed to the side as a low priority for many oil and gas facilities. But it’s important to see what you’re missing out on when you opt to forgo fire extinguisher training.

Experienced, trained operators can use a fire extinguisher with 4x the accuracy and capacity compared to novice extinguisher operators. Training your employees on your oil and gas fire extinguishers doesn’t just make sense from a safety perspective, but also an economical one.

Initial fire safety and fire extinguisher training should be maintained just like your equipment with regular and varied assessments of skills and response times. Regular training can mean the difference between a fire hazard extinguished and a devastating facility fire.

Choosing the Right Fire Extinguishers for Your Oil and Gas Facility

An essential part of oil and gas fire protection is choosing the right fire extinguisher for the hazards present in your facility. Knowing what fire extinguishers are in your oil and gas facility, when to use each of them, and who has the training to actuate them can make the difference between an accident and a disaster.

Ansul RED LINE fire extinguishers are the best choice for areas where fire risks are high. Having both options available ensures that trained employees can use either a handheld extinguisher or a wheeled extinguisher to combat appropriate threats. Learn more about Ansul’s RED LINE in the video below:

SENTRY fire extinguishers are also useful, but should be reserved for administrative spaces where employees who are novice operators need an accessible, easy-to-use extinguisher for everyday hazards.

Looking for Expert Advice on Your Next Oil and Gas Fire Extinguisher?

Consult the professionals at Vanguard Fire and Security. Our experience with fire safety industrial applications means we can help you choose the most effective fire extinguishers for your team, and train them how to effectively use them, too. Reach out to our team for personalized advice for equipment, installation, training, and more.

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