Water Fire Extinguishers Guide – All You Need to Know

Water fire extinguishers are a fundamental component of fire safety equipment. They are designed to tackle specific types of fires effectively and are recognised for their simplicity, efficiency, and eco-friendliness.

We explain everything you need to know about water fire extinguishers, from their primary uses to how they operate. It ensures you’re well-prepared for emergencies.

Quick links:

What fires are water extinguishers used for?

Water fire extinguishers are primarily used to combat Class A fires involving solid materials, typically organic in nature, such as wood, paper, cloth, trash, and plastics.

They are ideal for environments where these materials are in abundance. They work by effectively cooling the fire and reducing the risk of re-ignition.

Water Fire Extinguishers

Exclusions (what they should not be used for)

Understanding that water fire extinguishers are unsuitable for all fire types is critical; this extinguisher type should not be used on:

  • Class B fires – involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel, or oils, as water can spread the fire.
  • Class C fires – involving gases.
  • Class D fires – involving metals.
  • Class F fires – involving cooking oils and fats as water can cause the burning oil to splatter and spread.

How to identify them

In the UK, water fire extinguishers are easily identifiable by their bright red label.

However, it’s always important to carefully read the instructions and labels before use.

Water fire extinguisher label

Common water extinguisher sizes

We supply these extinguishers in the following sizes


Fire Rating

BSI Kitemark





Fire Rating


BSI Kitemark






Fire Rating


BSI Kitemark





How they work

Water fire extinguishers work by expelling water onto a fire, significantly reducing the temperature of the burning material to below its ignition point. The water also helps to soak the materials around the fire, preventing the fire from spreading.

Pros and cons


  • Many are environmentally friendly, as they only use water, although some use an additive.
  • Easy to use and maintain.
  • Effective on Class A fires, cooling the fire and preventing re-ignition.


  • Only suitable for one fire type
  • This extinguisher can cause damage to electrical equipment and documents.

Fire extinguisher guide

Keep your people safe with us

Learn about the fire extinguishers variants and how they help extinguish the various fire types.

Common uses, what businesses typically use them

Water fire extinguishers are commonly used in environments with a high presence of organic materials, such as:

  • Offices
  • Schools, Colleges and Universities
  • Retail and commercial buildings
  • Domestic residences
  • Public buildings like libraries, museums etc.
  • Historical buildings
  • Warehouses and storage facilities storing non-flammable materials
  • Airbnb and holiday rentals

Typical use cases for water fire extinguishers

Water Fire Extinguishers

Typical use cases for water
fire extinguishers

water extinguisher mobile 1
water extinguisher mobile 2
water extinguisher mobile 3
water extinguisher mobile 4

How to use a water extinguisher

  1. Pull the pin: Break the tamper seal.
  2. Aim low: Direct the hose or nozzle at the base of the fire, maintaining a safe distance.
  3. Squeeze the handle: This releases the water.
  4. Sweep side to side: Move the stream or hose in a sweeping motion across the base of the fire until it is extinguished.

Always ensure your escape route is behind you, and never use water on electrical fires or fires involving flammable liquids and gases.

Water fire extinguishers are indispensable tools for combating Class A fires. Understanding their capabilities and limitations is crucial for ensuring the safety of individuals using them. After use, it’s vital to have the extinguisher refilled and serviced by a professional to ensure it’s ready for any future emergency.

Talk to us about your water extinguisher needs and your wider fire safety requirements

Talk to IPS Fire and Safety about your fire safety responsibilities. From an initial fire risk assessment to team fire safety training and the supply and fitting of fire extinguishers, we’re here to help you keep your people safe and meet your legal fire safety requirements.

Our Fire Safety services





Total client protection since 2004

At IPS, your security is our priority. You need dependable protection 24/7, 365 days a year, and for that reason, our engineers are always available. You can depend on us to ensure you are always protected.


We’re fully independent, providing unbiased solutions tailored just for you.


Decades of industry experience to deliver state-of-the-art security and fire protection.


Your safety is our top priority. We’re committed to exceeding your expectations.


From risk assessments to 24/7 monitoring, we are your one-stop service provider.

We're trusted by some fantastic organisations

client biffa
client rspca
client wagamama
client ccg
nyetimber wines logo ips
client surrey police
University of Brighton
client group 1 automotive

Contact us for a free quote

Or call the team on 0333 444 5 999

Our Priority is You

We pride ourselves on the impeccable service we provide our customers. From the first conversation to ongoing support for your fire, security and safety needs, you'll wonder why you left it so long to contact us.

Nationwide coverage

Highly-trained engineers

Free no-obligation quotes

Brilliant after-sales support

Available 24/7, 365 days a year

Register today to 'Total Security' and receive our helpful monthly industry news and insights

  • ✔️ Access to helpful fire and security insights
  • ✔️Monthly industry news
  • ✔️Security tips and tricks by our experts

You have Successfully Subscribed!