With so many fire extinguishers to choose from, selecting the right fire extinguishers for your business can be confusing. There are numerous building codes to consider and other regulations regarding how many fire extinguishers are needed and how often these fire extinguishers need to be serviced.
Fire extinguishers are divided into four categories, and have different fire retardant capabilities based on different types of fires. Each fire extinguisher has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can extinguish. The higher the number, the more fire-fighting power the fire extinguishers have.
It’s important to ensure you have the proper type of fire extinguishers. To assist you, listed below are the most common types of fire extinguishers used.
Class A fire extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The numerical rating on these types of extinguishers indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.
Class B fire extinguishers are for fires involving flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for class B fire extinguishers indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish.
Class C fire extinguishers are for fires involving electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires – the risk of electrical shock is far too great! Class C extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The C classification means the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.
Class D fire extinguishers are commonly found in a chemical laboratory. Class D fire extinguishers are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types of extinguishers have no numerical rating, nor are they given a multi-purpose rating. They are designed for class D fires only.
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