Not all fires are created equal. In fact, there are 5 main classifications of fires, identified primarily by their fuel source. It’s important to understand these 5 different types of fires in order to know how to put them out. It’s also vital to have the right equipment to put them out.
In the following paragraphs, we discuss the 5 classes of fire and how to extinguish them:
Class A Fires
Class A fires are defined as “ordinary combustibles.” These types of fires use common materials such as wood, fabric, paper, trash, and plastics as their fuel source. Class A fires make up for a large percentage of accidental fires, and are commonly put out with water or monoammonium phosphate extinguishers.
Class B Fires
A Class B fire uses a flammable liquid as its fuel such as kerosine, gasoline, petroleum based oils and paints, or flammable gases like butane or propane. Class B fires are a common hazard in industries working with fuels and lubricants, and can be put out by removing the oxygen by smothering the fire.
Class C Fires
A Class C fire uses electrical components or energized equipment like motors, appliances, and electronic transformers as its fuel source. Large-scale electrical fires are common in the energy industry or other industries that use heavy electrically-powered equipment. However, smaller-scale electrical fires can occur in any building due to common fire hazards like bad wiring or an overloaded surge protector. In order to extinguish such fires, it is recommended that you turn off the power at its source and use non-conductive chemicals to extinguish the fire.
Class D Fires
A Class D fire uses combustible metals such as titanium, magnesium, aluminum, and potassium as its fuel source, and are generally a hazard in laboratory environments and some production industries. To extinguish a Class D fire, it’s recommended to use a dry powder agent that smothers the fire while absorbing the heat the fire requires to burn.
Class K Fires
A Class K fire is essentially a cooking fire involving combustion from oils, greases, and other liquids used in food preparation. Class K fires often occur in restaurants and other food service industries, and can be very destructive. It is recommended that you use wet chemical fire extinguishers to put out Class K fires.
The Importance of Using The Right Extinguisher
As you can see, each type of fire uses a different method of extinguishing the fire. It is very important to have the right fire extinguishers for the right job, so by being aware of the five classes of fires you can purchase the right safety equipment that will be effective should an accident or emergency occur.
It’s always a good idea to talk to an expert about your specific situation in order to have the best chance of mitigating injury or property damage should a fire occur at your facility. Contact Fire Fighter Sales & Service Co. to speak with a local expert about how we can help you protect your business, your assets, and your people from harm.