It’s important to help employees understand that with proper training and education, fire extinguishers can save lives and
property. Automatic Fire Control recommends to our clients that they hold fire safety trainings, teaching employees how to
use a fire extinguisher, when to use one, and the limits of different fire extinguishers.
Fire Extinguisher Classes
There are 5 classes of fires, and each fire extinguisher is specifically designed to put out a certain class or classes of fires.
Class A - cloth, wood, paper, etc... anything that will turn to Ash. Put out by air pressured water or dry chemical extinguishers. Labeled with a Capital A in a triangle and/or a picture of burning trash.
Class B - Flammable liquids like oil, grease, gasoline, kerosene, etc... liquids that will BLEVE. BLEVE, a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, is an explosion caused by the rupture of a vessel containing a pressurized liquid that has reached temperatures above its boiling point. Never use water on a class B fire as it may spread the fire and cause injury. Instead, use dry chemical or carbon dioxide extinguishers, which are labeled with a capital B inside a square and/or a picture of a burning gas can.
Class C - Electrical fires, such as electrical equipment, and outlets. Think of items using an electrical Current. Use dry chemical or carbon dioxide extinguishers. Labeled with a capital C inside a circle and/or a picture of a burning plug.
Class D - combustible metal fires such as Magnesium, Titanium, Potassium, Sodium and others. Usually used in laboratories and industrial areas where these metals are found. These metals react violently with water and air. They are labeled with a capital D and/or a D inside a star.
Class K - vegetable oils used in restaurant cooking. These extinguishers were made to deal with very hot oil burning fires in restaurant settings. They are labeled with a capital K and/or a picture of a burning fry pan.
Most houses and public buildings have ABC, or “Multipurpose Dry Chemical Extinguishers” because they are safe to use on class A, B and C fires. It takes fuel, heat and oxygen make a fire, and removing any one part of the triangle will put the fire out.
Fire extinguishers also have numbers that tell the size of the fire the extinguisher can handle. For example 2:A tells how much water or extinguishing agent it holds; or 10:B tells approximately how many square feet of a liquid fire the extinguisher will put out. The larger the numbers the bigger the fire it can put out. Never use a fire extinguisher on a fire that you don’t know the make-up of. Most extinguishes will only last 8 - 10 seconds.
Maintenance of fire extinguishers is essential to all businesses, and is required by city and national codes.