Safety Safety Safety
A Fire Extinguisher is designed to be used on small, and very localized fires and those fires you believe you will have a good chance of quickly extinguishing. If you are unsure - your personal safety and the safety of others near you (in the building) are of primary importance - higher than that of attempting to extinguish the fire. Call 911 or your local emergency fire department number before you attempt to "fight" the fire.
Everyone knows they should have several fire extinguishers in their homes. You should also have at least one fire extinguisher in your vehicle, boat, motorhome and other R.V.s. (To see how a propane tank is supposed to work in a fire, slide the video button to 2:15 seconds)
Fire Extinguisher Types / Classes
1. Class A (fire leaves an ash)
This class is used for your common, organic type of burning material. These would include; paper products, cloth, wood, tires and many plastics.
2. Class B (fire may bubble and boil)
These are used on flammable and/or combustible liquids. These would include gasoline fires, oil, or most liquid products derived from petroleum. (these items will bubble and boil)
3. Class C (current - electrical)
This class is used on electrical fires. Your house wiring, toaster, overheated electric motor are just a few examples. The agent for extinguishing a Class C fire must be non-conductive due to the electrical current that is potentially present. This is why water should never be used as water is an excellent conductor and a shock hazard to to people exists.
4. Class D
You would typically find this type of fire extinguisher in a chemical plant or laboratory. These extinguishers are for very specific types of fires that involve metals that are combustible. Examples of some metals are; magnesium, potassium, sodium and titanium.
5. Class K (cooking fires such as deep fryers - especially in commercial applications)
In Europe and Australia these are called Class F
The Class K type fire extinguisher is a potassium based system which if used correctly, has very positive results with cooking oil type of fires. These extinguishers usually have a longer wand so the operator does not have to get as close to the very hot cooking oil fire. Also of note, the instructions on the fire extinguisher will tell you to use the whole extinguisher. Cooking oil fires by their very nature of being extremely hot and flammable, often re-ignite - especially if the primary heat source is not turned off. This would be the flow of cooking gas or electricity. A Class K fire could re-ignite even a few minutes after you may think it is fully extinguished. Watch and monitor these type of situations very closely.
Fire Extinguishers can come in a variety of sizes and colors. ... and the colors generally indicate something special about the type and use of the extinguisher. Read all labels on the packaging and on the extinguisher itself.
PAGE 2 How A Fire Extinguisher Works
PAGE 3 When and How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
"If In Doubt