Different Classifications of Fire Extinguishers: Everything You Need To Know

Different Classifications of Fire Extinguishers: Everything You Need To Know


Fire extinguishers are an essential fire safety device required for every government or private property, commercial building, residential building, and even restaurants. Fire accidents are often caused due to various types of factors such as oil, flammable gas, electricity, or any other environmental factors. Only one kind of fire extinguisher cannot be effective against all these different types of fires. Therefore, fires are classified by the type of fuel that feeds them, and these classifications help determine what kind of fire extinguishing agents will be effective for putting out the fires. It is essential to know which class of fire extinguisher to use for different types of fires to ensure your commercial building is equipped with the right fire extinguisher.
The following are various types of fire extinguishers and when to use them:
Class A Fire ExtinguisherClass A fire extinguishers are used to extinguish fires caused by ordinary solid combustibles, including paper, wood, clothes, etc., classified as class A fire. Class A fire requires the heat-absorbing effects of water. Therefore, Class A fire extinguisher consists of pressurized water to be used on Class A fire only. These are labeled as a triangle containing the letter “A.”Class B Fire Extinguisher
Class B fire extinguishers are used to extinguish fires caused due to flammable liquids such as alcohol, petroleum, gasoline, grease, etc., classified as class B fire. Class B fire needs the flames to be completely smothered for extinguishing. A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher classified as a Class B fire extinguisher is effective on a Class B fire. It sprays CO2 to smother the fire eliminating its oxygen supply and dispelling the heat as CO2 discharge is cold. These are labeled as a square containing the letter “B” to indicate it is suitable for Class B fires.
Class C Fire Extinguisher
Class C fire extinguishers are used to extinguish fires caused due to electrical equipment. This type of fire is classified as class C fire which requires electrically non-conductive extinguishing agents to extinguish the fire. Monoammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate are generally used in class C Fire extinguishers due to their non-conductive properties. These are labeled as a circle containing the letter “C.”
Class D Fire Extinguisher
Class D fire extinguishers are suitable for fires caused due to combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, lithium, zirconium, etc. This type of fire is classified as Class D fire, which usually occurs in industrial buildings, manufacturing facilities, or laboratories. Class D fire extinguishers use powdered graphite, copper-based or granular sodium chloride as the extinguishing agent that effectively separates the metal from oxygen and does not respond to burning metals. These are labeled as a five-point star containing the letter “D.”
Class K Fire Extinguisher
Class K fire extinguishers are used for extinguishing fires in commercial kitchens such as restaurants caused by cooking oils, cooking equipment, or grease. These are fueled by flammable liquids, spread rapidly, and are not easy to extinguish with class B fire extinguishers made for fires caused due to flammable liquids such as petrol or diesel. These are classified as class K fires, which require a unique extinguishing agent capable of quickly eliminating the class K fire. A class K fire extinguisher consists of a wet mist of chemicals extinguishing agents that create a foam blanket to block the oxygen supply of the fire. These are labeled by the letter “K.”
There are also multi-utility fire extinguishers classified as types A, ABC, BC, or K available as per your facilities’ unique requirements. If you want to know more about portable Fire Extinguishers or need fire extinguisher inspection or maintenance services, contact our experts at William Hird & Co. today!

March 1, 2021


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