Portable non-aerosol fire extinguishers contain chemicals such as water, wet-chemical, foam or powder that can be discharged in a rapid stream to extinguish a small fire. Portable fire extinguishers can be rechargeable or non-rechargeable and will put out different types of fires, such as cooking oil or electrical fires.
Serious burns can occur if the fire extinguisher fails to operate or perform satisfactorily when there is a fire. Also, incorrect labelling can lead to the use of a fire extinguisher containing incorrect ingredients that can inflame a fire, causing serious burns.
The mandatory standard for portable non-aerosol fire extinguishers came into effect on 31 October 1978 and was last amended 25 August 2004. It covers cylinder construction, performance test requirements and identification colours.