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  • Writer's pictureInstitute Staff

Choosing The Proper Fire Extinguisher

Fire safety is a critical aspect of emergency preparedness, and having a fire extinguisher readily available in your home and business can save lives and minimize damage in the event of a fire. The Institute for Childhood Preparedness offers a comprehensive course on fire safety and prevention. In this article, we'll cover the essential information you need to know to ensure you have the right fire extinguisher and know how to use it in case of a fire.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

There are several types of fire extinguishers, each designed to combat specific types of fires. It's crucial to choose the right fire extinguisher based on the types of fires that are most likely to occur in your home or business. The five most common types of fire extinguishers are:

  • Class A: This type of fire extinguisher is suitable for ordinary combustible materials, such as paper, wood, and cloth.

  • Class B: This type of fire extinguisher is used for fires involving flammable liquids, such as gasoline and oil.

  • Class C: This type of fire extinguisher is used for electrical fires, such as those involving appliances and wiring.

  • Class D: This type of fire extinguisher is used for fires involving combustible metals, such as magnesium and titanium.

  • Class K: This type of fire extinguisher is used for fires involving cooking oils and fats in commercial kitchens.

The most common type of fire extinguisher is an extinguisher that is rated for A-B-C fires. Every fire extinguisher should list the classes of fires on the label.

The photo above is a dry chemical fire extinguisher. It is rated for Class A-B-C fires and is one of the most common extinguishers on the market.

Choosing the Right Size

The size of the fire extinguisher you need depends on many factors - including the size of the room, or building, and the contents of the room or building and the overall fire load.

It's recommended to have multiple fire extinguishers in different areas of your home for easy access in case of a fire.

As we mentioned above, the most common fire extinguisher is the ABC fire extinguisher. This means that the extinguisher can be used in a Class A, B, or C fires. In addition to seeing A, B, and C on the extinguisher, you may also notice some rating numbers, an example would be 10A:120B:C. Let's examine these numbers a bit.

The Class A size rating, 10A in the example above, represents the equivalent to gallons of water. Each number represents 1 ¼ gallons of water. For instance, 2A means the extinguisher