Why Do Some Fires Require Specific Extinguishers?

Posted by Vincent Rodriguez on Feb 24, 2016

Despite the vast improvements in fire safety codes and procedures in recent decades, fires still manage to devastate homes and businesses on a regular basis. Fires cause millions of dollars of property damage and cost thousands of lives every year. A good fire extinguisher is crucial to have on hand in your home or in your place of work, as it will give you a much higher chance of saving yourself, your loved ones, and your property from getting harmed by fire. However, there are different kinds of fire extinguishers, and knowing which kind is right for the job is extremely important.

Different Fires Require Different Methods

Though fire may all look the same, the fact of the matter is that not every material will burn in the same way. Generally speaking, fires are classified into several different types, based on the type of material that is burning: class A fires, which include combustible materials like wood, paper, trash, plastics, and fabric; class B fires, which include flammable liquids like gasoline or propane; class C fires, which include electrical equipment; class D fires, which include metals like potassium, sodium, aluminum, and magnesium; and class K fires, which include cooking oils. Each type of material will burn differently, and will require a different type of extinguishing agent to deal with most efficiently.

The Wrong Extinguisher Can Make Things Worse

If you have an electrical fire, it’s extremely important that you not use a water or foam based extinguisher, as this can lead to an even more dangerous shock hazard. Likewise, carbon dioxide extinguishers won’t work on wood or fabric, and using one would only waste time and allow the fire to spread further.

At ABCO Fire & Safety Inc, we take fire safety seriously. That’s why we offer a full range of fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems ready to protect your home or business from the effects of a dangerous fire. Contact us today for a free site analysis!