Fire Extinguisher Classifications Explained
If you are considering a fire extinguisher for your home or business, it's important to know which class you need. Not all fire extinguishers are the same. If you use the wrong one during a fire, then it might not put the fire out or could make the fire worse. You need to have fire extinguishers that cover the most likely fires to happen in your building. Here is an explanation of fire extinguisher ratings and what they are best used for.
Class A fire extinguishers only handle wood, fabric, and paper fires. They will also work well against some plastics. Class A extinguishers are not effective against electrical or chemical issues. They use water mist, foam, or chemicals to put out the fire.
Class B extinguishers are designed for flammable liquids such as diesel oil or gasoline. However, they will not work against cooking oil and grease. Often, these extinguishers use a dry chemical to suppress the flames, but they can come with a foam suppressant as well.
Class C is mainly used for electrical fires caused by something that is energized like a plugged-in appliance. However, it only works if electricity is an active component. Once that component is removed, then the fire requires another extinguisher to put it out. Class C extinguishers come in powdered chemical and carbon dioxide forms.
Class D extinguishers are not commonly used in most homes or businesses unless your business is a factory. This extinguisher type combats metal fires like burning aluminum, sodium, or titanium. It smothers these fires with a dry chemical specially designed to work with these metals.
Class K (also known as class F) is especially helpful for kitchens. Its primary design is to snuff out cooking grease and oil-related fires. However, do not confuse it with class B extinguishers and industrial or automotive grease. This extinguisher only uses wet chemicals to extinguish the fire.
Many homes and businesses do well with multipurpose or combination extinguishers. The most common combinations are class ABC and class BC. ABC extinguishers tackle most fires except for cooking fires and metal fires. Class BC is ideal for automotive uses as it works with oil and electrical issues.
If you want to thoroughly cover all types of fire in your home or business, then you may need to buy more than one class. Be aware that fire extinguishers don't have an unlimited life. They must be refilled or replaced at certain intervals. A fire extinguisher company can help you equip and manage your fire extinguishers. Contact a company like County Fire Inc. to learn more about fire extinguisher classes.