Learn the Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
Maybe you’ve never used one. Maybe you’ve never seen one or owned one (which, in that case, you should). Whatever the case, fire extinguishers are crucial to understand in terms of safely preparing for the unexpected.
At SERVPRO® Central Oklahoma City, we hope to educate you so you feel confident and prepared to fight any fire before it causes too much damage. With this in mind, you should know the basic types of fire extinguishers.
There are five types — A, B, C, D and K (or F) and each class signals the type of fire the extinguisher can be used to put out.
These are typically used to put out fires on ordinary combustible materials such as paper, rubber, wood, cloth and plastics. Class A extinguishers are usually found in homes or businesses and use water (red label), dry powder (blue label), foam (cream label) or wet chemicals (yellow label) to absorb the heat or coat the fire.
These extinguishers are used on fires that originate from flammable liquids and gases such as oil, fuel, solvents, lacquers or alcohols. They can be found in homes or businesses as well and can use dry powder, foam and carbon dioxide (black label) to put out the fire.
These are used against electrical fires from wires, panels or circuit breakers and can be found in homes and businesses. They release material like dry powder to stop the conduction of electricity so the fire cannot continue to ignite.
These extinguishers are used on combustible metals such as magnesium, sodium, aluminium, titanium, potassium and zirconium. They are typically found in factories and use dry powder to put out the fire.
Class K (or F)
These extinguishers are reserved for commercial use such as in restaurant kitchens. They are effective on fires that were caused by cooking fats, greases or oils and use a process called saponification which releases an alkaline agent foam to trap vapors and put the fire out. Inside these are wet chemicals (yellow label).
How to use a fire extinguisher
All of this information is pretty useless unless you know how to use a fire extinguisher, which is why this little acronym PASS should help you remember how to put out a fire.
Pull the pin in the extinguisher to break the seal.
Aim the extinguisher low with the nozzle pointing toward the bottom of the fire.
Squeeze the extinguisher’s handle to release whatever agent is inside.
Sweep the nozzle from side to side, still pointing it toward the base of the fire until it is fully extinguished.
If the fire continues to re-ignite, repeat the last three steps until the fire is completely out. Remember to keep your distance, act swiftly and always stay safe in the event of a fire.