Types of Fire Extinguishers

types of fire hydrantsWhere do you keep your fire extinguisher? If your answer is, “I don’t have one,” we have a problem. Fire can engulf a room in the blink of an eye, and a quality fire extinguisher may be the only thing that stands between you and utter destruction – or worse. Before you shop around, though, it’s important to know what you’re actually purchasing. There are several types of fire extinguisher on the market, each of which is labeled for a specific type of outbreak. Let’s take a look at some of the most common varieties:

Class A (Indicated by a Green Triangle)

Class A extinguishers are water-based, and are designed for everyday combustible materials like paper, cardboard and wood. It’s the simplest type of fire extinguisher available, and it’s useful for most typical household fires.

Class B (Indicated by a Red Square)

Class B extinguishers are designated for fires involving flammable liquids, like gasoline, oil, and grease. Fires resulting from flammable liquids must be extinguished with a highly specialized chemical composition, as water alone will only spread them.

Class C (Indicated by a Blue Circle)

Class C extinguishers are specifically made for electrical equipment that’s sensitive to water. Examples include wiring, appliances, electrical outlets and circuit breakers.  Everyone should have a Class C extinguisher or equivalent in the home.

Class D (Indicated by a Yellow Decagon)

Class D extinguishers are less commonly found in homes, and more often found in chemical labs. They’re used on combustible metals like magnesium, potassium and sodium. Unless you work in such an environment, you probably won’t need this type of fire extinguisher.

Class K (Indicated by a Blue Hexagon)

Class K extinguishers are designed for fires involving cooking oils. As a result, you’ll typically find them in professional kitchens. If you work as a chef, or if you just pride yourself a household culinary enthusiast, you may want to consider investing in a Class K fire extinguisher.

Multi-class Fire Extinguishers

Some fire extinguishers are actually designated for multiple classes, which makes them suitable for a wider range of fires. Common examples include ABC fire extinguishers, which handle fires stemming from common combustible materials, flammable liquids, and electrical equipment. Multiclass models are usually the best choice for homeowners, as they negate the need for purchasing multiple fire extinguishers.

fire extinguisher tipsTips for Using Fire Extinguishers

  • First and foremost, you should only attempt to extinguish a fire if it’s small and not spreading.
  • Do not attempt to extinguish a fire unless you have a safe exit behind you. If a fire should spread, you don’t want to block your only exit.
  • Read the instructions and familiarize yourself with how to use your fire extinguisher as soon as you make your purchase. You won’t have time to read instructions when an actual fire breaks out.
  • Finally (and we can’t stress this enough), do not use a fire extinguisher to fight fires for which it is not designated. For instance, don’t use a Class A extinguisher to put out a fire involving flammable liquids.

Don’t Be Without a Fire Extinguisher

No home or business is fireproof, and if you don’t have a fire extinguisher on hand, you’re already playing with fire (okay, no more fire puns). Home Security Store carries a wide selection of fire extinguishers and fire extinguisher theft stoppers, which are ideal for homes and businesses. If nothing else, a quality fire extinguisher will afford you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’re prepared. Whether you purchase yours from Home Security Store or somewhere else, the important thing is that you not be without one. 

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