There are six different types or classes of fire extinguishers: ABC Dry Chemical, Carbon Dioxide, Class D, Class K , Halotron 1, Water, each of which extinguishes specific types of fire. Newer fire extinguishers use a picture/labeling system to designate which types of fires they are to be used on. Older fire extinguishers are labeled with colored geometrical shapes with letter designations.
ABC Dry Chemical
This type of extinguisher utilizes a dry chemical agent that suppresses Class A, B and C fires. It can be used to extinguish common combustibles, flammable liquids and electrical equipment fires. ABC extinguishers are great for home, office, flammable liquid storage, boiler room, chemical facility and warehouse applications.
This extinguisher is a high pressure vessel filled with either 5 or 10 pounds of liquid CO2 which dispenses as a white cloud that smothers the fire by eliminating its oxygen. It is a clean, non-contaminating odorless gas and is safe for use on clothing, equipment, valuable documents or food. CO2 extinguishers are particularly useful for computer rooms, flammable liquid storage areas and hospital operating room fires.
Class D extinguishers contain a sodium chloride based dry chemical extinguishing agent. Heat from the fire coats the metal, excluding air and dissipating the heat from the burning metals. This type of extinguisher is designed for use in areas where combustible metals are present.
This extinguisher contains a potassium-based liquid, which is specifically designed for grease fires common in kitchens. The special design does not splash grease fires, but cools and smothers them instead. These extinguishers are for exclusive use in areas where “combustible cooking equipment” is present.
Halatron fire extinguishers are an environmentally acceptable Halon-1211 alternative, designed to meet any special hazard need where Halon 1211 was traditionally used. This extinguisher offers the best discharge range for outdoor applications. They are ideal for uses in office computer areas, data storage, telecommunications and high tech clean rooms.
Water extinguishers utilize a cooling and soaking stream that is very effective on Class A fires. They are perfect for home or office use for paper, cloth, wood, trash and other common combustible fires.
Where Do I Put My Extinguisher?
Typically, in most occupancies a 2A:10BC extinguisher should be located in a visible and accessible location. Travel distant should not exceed 75 feet and a maximum square foot coverage of 3000 square feet.
Special occupancies require special extinguisher and different travel distance. If you would like further information regarding use and placement of your fire extinguisher, contact our Offices.
Fire Extinguisher Classification / Ratings
Class A – Extinguishers will put out fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood and paper. The numerical rating for this class of fire extinguisher refers to the amount of water the fire extinguisher holds and the amount of fire it will extinguish.
Class B – Extinguishers should be used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, oil, etc. The numerical rating for this class of fire extinguisher states the approximate number of square feet of a flammable liquid fire that a non-expert person can expect to extinguish.
Class C – Extinguishers are suitable for use on electrically energized fires. This class of fire extinguishers does not have a numerical rating. The presence of the letter C indicates that the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.
Class D – Extinguishers are designed for use on flammable metals and are often specific for the type of metal in question. There is no picture designator for Class D extinguishers. These extinguishers generally have no rating nor are they given a multi-purpose rating for use on other types of fires.
Many extinguishers available today can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more than one designator, e.g. A-B, B-C, or A-B-C. Make sure that if you have a multi-purpose extinguisher it is properly labeled.