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A Guide to the Five Types of Fire Extinguishers

October 29, 2014
Fire Extinguisher
One of the most important safety areas that every homeowner needs to cover is fire safety. As well as having smoke detectors placed throughout the home, it is crucial for homeowners to place fire extinguishers in strategic locations around the home. Here is a look at the five primary types of fire extinguishers that are available.

Class A Fire Extinguishers

These fire extinguishers are designed to put out fires that burn ordinary materials. These include fires burning wood, paper, cardboard and other organic materials. Class A fire extinguishers are also designed to put out most fires that involve burning plastic as well. You can tell a Class A fire extinguisher by its symbol of a green triangle.

Class B Fire Extinguishers

A Class B fire extinguisher is a very handy type to have in your kitchen. Class B fire extinguishers are designed to put out fires that are burning flammable liquids like grease, oil, gasoline and kerosene. A Class B uses chemicals instead of water to put out fires. This is because water will only spread a fire that is burning flammable liquids like oil. Class B fire extinguisher are marked with a red square symbol to easily identify it.

Class C Fire Extinguishers

A Class C fire is one that is burning in an electrical device or inside electrical wiring. When this happens, the worst thing that you can do is to throw water on it. This could be deadly due to the risk of shock that happens when water contacts electricity. Class C fire extinguishers have been specifically designed to put out fires where electricity comes into play. If you want a fire extinguisher that puts out Class C fires, then look for one marked with a blue circle symbol.

Class D Fire Extinguishers

This is a type of fire extinguisher that is not needed in most homes. Class D fires are ones that burn with combustible metals. This includes things like sodium, magnesium titanium and phosphorus. Class D fire extinguishers are identified by a yellow decagon.

Class K Fire Extinguishers

If you do a lot of cooking in your home, then you may want to get a Class K extinguisher for your kitchen. Like Class B fire extinguishers, Class K fire extinguishers are designed to put out fires burning combustible liquids. The difference is that Class K fire extinguishers are designed to handle fires that burn hotter, which means that they are usually reserved for professional kitchens where open flames and oil fires are a nightly occurrence.

Now that you know the different types of fire extinguishers, you are ready to outfit your home with them. Most homeowners will benefit greatly from getting fire extinguishers that can handle multiple types of fires. Fire extinguishers that can handle Class A, B, C and D fires are the best bet for most homes.