Do you know about the different types of fires?

You don’t put a frying pan fire out the same way you put out a wood fire. A fire in a paint store is not fought the same way as a fire in a metals factory. The reason for this is simple: there are different types of fires that require different types of extinguishing agents.


Types of Fire by Category


Fires are divided into five categories according to what is burning:

  • Class A fire: solid materials (wood, paper, cloth, plastic, etc.)
  • Class B fires: flammable liquids (gasoline, oil, solvent, paint, varnish, alcohol, etc.)
  • Class C fires: live electrical appliances (television, electric stove, electrical panel, radio, etc.)
  • Class D fires: combustible metals (aluminum, magnesium, sodium, potassium ...)
  • Class K fires: oils or greases used in commercial cooking appliances used by restaurants, for example


To Each Fire Its Own Extinguishing Agent!


Each type of fire can only be extinguished using the right extinguishing agent. Water, powder, foam and CO2 are the main extinguishing agents.

  • Water cools, disperses and stifles fire. Water is used for Type A fires.
  • Powder inhibits flames, preventing them from spreading. There are multi-purpose powder fire extinguishers for Class A, B and C fires on the market.
  • Foam is only for firefighters, who use it primarily for class B fires.
  • CO2 is a gaseous extinguishing agent that stifles and isolates fire. It is used for Class B and C fires.


Only firefighters can extinguish Class D fires. For Class K fires, there are fire extinguishers that contain a wet chemical solution especially designed to extinguish flames produced by cooking oil or grease fires.


Did you know?

Every fire extinguisher lists the class of fire it can extinguish on the label.


The Pass Technique: How to Use a Fire Extinguisher


First of all, evacuate the area and call 9-1-1. Only fight small fires using a portable fire extinguisher. Never put yourself in danger. Stand at a distance of at least three meters from the fire and use the PASS technique:

P - Pull the pin, which is there to prevent accidental discharge.

A - Aim low at the base of the fire. This is the where the fuel source is.

S - Squeeze the lever above the handle. Release to stop the flow. (Some extinguishers have a button instead of a lever.)

S - Sweep from side to side. Move toward the fire, aiming low at its base. Sweep until all flames are extinguished.


Now you know which fire extinguisher to use in a fire, and how to use it. At Guard-X, our experts can help you determine the best fire extinguisher to protect you at home, at work and anywhere else. Call us today!

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