So there’s a new product in the fire safety market – the brand new P50 fire extinguisher. It claims to be service-free, environmentally friendly and more cost effective than the traditional version. So is it the new James Bond of fire extinguishers?
The P50 certainly looks the part. With a sturdy red plastic body and head and valves made from brass and stainless steel, the P50 is almost indestructible. The inner 3-layered PA cylinder containing the firefighting agent doesn’t corrode or interact in any way with the chemicals. This is then tightly wrapped in Kevlar – a fibre stronger than steel – to take the pressure of the extinguisher.
The traditional stored pressure extinguisher is made from painted steel, with an inner lining that is at risk of corroding with the contents. They often get dented, can burst if the contents freeze and the inner protective lining can detach. For these reasons alone the lifespan of a traditional extinguisher can be much shorter than the P50.
So what about the fires each can tackle? The P50 is available as foam or powder, with the foam covering A and B class fires, and the powder covering A, B and C class fires. The foam version has also passed safety standards for use on live electrical equipment.
With traditional extinguishers, there’s water covering class A fires, foam which tackles A and B class fires, powder which tackles A, B, C and E class fires and CO2 extinguishers to cover B, C and E fires. On top of that there’s also a wet chemical extinguisher for F type fires.
So while the P50 is only available for A, B and C class fires, it does also cover E class fires meaning you don’t need Co2 extinguishers in many areas. Another advantage of the P50 is that they have substantially higher ratings than traditional extinguishers. With more than double the A rating the number of extinguishers needed in offices for example is drastically reduced.
Overall the P50 sounds great! So what’s the catch? Cost? Yes, the P50 does cost more. Around 2-3 times as much as a traditional extinguisher. However, the P50 has minimal servicing requirements, and it’s so simple to inspect / service that you can do it yourself. For 10 whole years! Take the cost of a traditional extinguisher, add on the annual service cost for 10 years and then the five-yearly refill charge and you’re already out of pocket. And that’s just 10 years. At this point the P50 is refurbished and is then good for another 10 years. The cost savings over a 20 year period can be more than 50%.
The P50 lasts longer than a traditional extinguisher. The number of extinguishers required is reduced. There are cost savings to be made by switching to the P50. All in all it looks like the P50 is the way to go when choosing fire extinguisher!
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