Are You Using a Fire Extinguisher Properly?

You Might Be Using the Wrong Fire Extinguisher!

Why Your Home Fire Extinguisher Might Be Adding Fuel to the Fire

Fire extinguishers are certainly not a new technology.  The first recorded use of a fire extinguisher is said to have been in 1723, created by a popular chemist in England.  We’re going on 300 years of having fire extinguishers handy.  Yet, many people don’t understand the technologies used in the modern-day fire extinguisher.

Our friends at Gateway Fire Supplies are here to help.  In this post, I’m going to cover the various classes of fire extinguishers.  Bear in mind that these classes are not to be taken lightly.  Using the wrong fire extinguisher can potentially add fuel to the fire.

Keep in mind these Fire Extinguisher Classes when a fire erupts
Keep in mind these Fire Extinguisher Classes when a fire erupts
A Class Fire Extinguisher Logo
A Class Fire Extinguisher Logo

Class A: Fire Involving General Materials; Wood, Cloth, Plastics, Rubber, Trash

Class A fire extinguishers are the most popular fire extinguishers on the market.  They’re the cheapest and widely available.  From a grocery store to a chain pharmacy, if you go to buy a fire extinguisher at either place, it’s more than likely going to be type A.  It makes sense.  Class A covers the widest range of fires.  Class A fire extinguishers also fight the most common fires.  Maybe an ember from a candle wick ignites a trash can or you drop a match on the carpet, these accidents are the most common.  Therefore, most homeowners and small businesses have a Class A fire extinguisher.

Class A fire extinguishers work via the use of dry chemicals or water.  Technically, a garden hose is a Class A fire extinguisher.  Most of the chemicals or liquids found in a Class A fire extinguisher will only fuel grease or kitchen fires.  Additionally, the might not work for electrical fires.

B Class Fire Extinguisher Logo
B Class Fire Extinguisher Logo

Class B: Fire Involving Combustible Liquids (Minus Grease and Cooking Oils)

Chemical fires are surprisingly common.  Cars, boats, and even grills are the main culprits of Class B fires.  Most Class A fire extinguishers are also Class B extinguishers.  ABC fire extinguishers are very common.

Class B fires are extinguished by inhibiting chemical reactions. Often times, water works, however, this is one fire that fire extinguishers work best.

C Class Fire Extinguisher Logo
C Class Fire Extinguisher Logo

Class C: Fire Involving Electrical Circuits or Outlets

Far less common than a Class A or B fire, they still pose a threat to homeowners and small business owners.  Luckily, Class C fires are usually extinguished by the same fire extinguishers the fight Class A and B fires.

Class C fires are typically the result of a faulty circuit, overheating computer or electronic device, or short circuit.  They often happen in hard to reach and dry areas.  It’s important that you waste no time in responding to a Class C fire and avoid the use of water or any other conductive substance.

Class D Fire Extinguisher Logo
Class D Fire Extinguisher Logo

Class D: Fire Involving Combustible Metals

Class D fires include fires that result from combustible metals like magnesium, potassium, and sodium alloys.  Likely the least common fire for homeowners and small business owners, they require special fire extinguishers.  Class D fire extinguishers are often hard to find.  Here’s one from Gateway Fire Supplies.

Class K Fire Extinguisher Logo
Class K Fire Extinguisher Logo

Class K: Fires Involving Cooking Oils, Grease, or Animal Fats

A very common and very dangerous fire, Class K fires are often referred to as kitchen or grease fires.  When a fire is the result of grease, cooking oils, or animal fats (like bacon grease), that’s a Class K fire.  They cannot be extinguished using water as water will sink to the bottom of the oil.  The water will heat up and evaporate.  The evaporation of the water forces the oil up.  The hot oil will often spread the fire or burn those around it.

Class K fire extinguishers are required in restaurants and some businesses.  Additionally, most homeowners do not have Class K fire extinguishers.  Conventional ABC fire extinguishers rarely work for Class K fires.  Consider purchasing a Class K fire extinguisher if you cook often.  Consider this Class K fire extinguisher from Gateway Fire Supplies.

I’d like to thank our friends at Gateway Fire Supplies.  I honestly wasn’t aware of these fire extinguisher classes.  We’re all aware of what social media sites to use for a certain purpose.  We use Twitter for quick information while Facebook for longer and more detailed posts.  Yet, most people have no idea that their home fire extinguisher might intensify a kitchen fire.

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