Home Safety Tip: Do You Have The Right Fire Extinguisher?

Oxygen, heat, fuel make up the three sides of the fire triangle. Without one, the fire will not continue to burn. The main principle behind firefighting is to take away one of these elements.  Different types of fire extinguishers remove one of these elements out of the equation.

Because there are different materials that provide heat fuel for a fire, there are different fire extinguishers that are made for each type of fire. Fire extinguishers may  contain water, foam, chemicals, powders, or carbon dioxide. It is important to use the correct fire extinguisher. The wrong one may cause a bigger problem. For instance, using a water based fire extinguisher for an electrical fire could result in an electrical hazard.

Fire Class Symbols

Classes of fire extinguishers:

  • Class A extinguishers are used on fires involving ordinary combustibles, such as wood, cloth, paper.
  • Class B extinguishers are used on fires involving liquids, greases, gases.
  • Class C extinguishers are used on fires involving energized electrical equipment.
  • Class D extinguishers are used on fires involving metals such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, potassium.
  • Class K extinguishers are used on cooking oils fats.

Some fire extinguishers hle multiple classes of fires.  It is not uncommon to see multiple purpose  ABC fire extinguishers, which are filled with a dry chemical. Your fire extinguisher’s class should be visible on the canister. Not only are there letter gradings, but there are usually pictograms that show the purpose, too.

Pictograms as well as numbers show the purpose of the fire extinguisher
Symbols that you may see on your fire extinguishers.

Check back with us for more information about fire extinguishers other  home safety tips at HB Building Design’s Home Report.