Why are there different fire extinguisher types?



What are the different types for? We often speak to people who think that all fire extinguishers are the same. This is not true. There are in fact 6 different types of fire extinguishers, each with a different role. They are named Class A, B, C, D, E and F. The purpose of this article is to share with you a brief explanation of each of the different types of extinguishers and what they are most likely to be used for.

Class A Fire Extinguisher – These fire extinguishers are predominantly ​ used on wood and paper fires but can be used on some fabrics, plastics and rubber fires. They can be water extinguishers but also use a chemical called monoammonium phosphate which is able to smother fires.

Class B Fire Extinguisher – If you have a fire that is caused by a flamm ​ able liquid you don’t want to use a water based Class A fire extinguisher as this can actually just spread the fire. A foam-based, Class B fire extinguisher is what you want in this situation.

Class C Fire Extinguisher – Class C fires are those fires caused by flam ​ mable gases, for example LPG, Butane or Propane. You need an extinguisher that can help try to avoid explosions.

Class D Fire Extinguisher – Class D fires are not common, most often ​ being seen in scientific laboratories. They are caused by combustible metals, for example sodium, potassium, magnesium and aluminium shavings.

Class E Fire Extinguisher – ​Class E fire extinguishers are easy to remember. E is for Electrical. A class E fire is an electrical fire. You need to be extremely careful if it’s possible that you have an electrical fire. Do NOT use a water based fire extinguisher if it’s possible that there are electrical fires.

Class F Fire Extinguisher – ​Oil and at based product fires are considered Class F fires. These are obviously common in kitchens – so more common at home or hospitality premises.

If you have to use a fire extinguisher the first thing you need to do is remove the safety pin. You then point the nozzle towards the base of the fire and squeeze the handle in order to discharge the extinguisher. Always aim at the base of the extinguisher but swing the nozzle from side to side


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