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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

4 Essentials to Know About Fire Extinguishers

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

Image of Fire Extinguishers Fire extinguishers

Fire safety is essential for both commercial and residential properties. It’s important to have safety measures in place for both types of properties, and a great place to start is having the right fire extinguisher at the ready, especially if you’re worried about fire damage remediation.

The first step to properly using a fire extinguisher is to understand it. Let’s begin by going over the different classes and types of fire extinguishers, then discuss when and when not to use them.

Fire Extinguisher Classes

There are five types of fire extinguisher classes. Each class represents the type of fire the extinguisher is capable of putting out. If you have a fire extinguisher, you need to know which classes your fire extinguisher can put out, especially if you want to avoid fire damage.

  • Class A: Class A means a fire was started with typical combustible materials. These types of materials include wood, paper, and cloth.
  • Class B: Fires in Class B are started with combustible or flammable liquids. These liquids include paints and gasoline.
  • Class C: When energized electrical equipment is the source of a fire, it is categorized as a Class C fire. Short circuits in power transmission cables are common sources for this type of fire.
  • Class D: When metals start a fire, the fire is considered Class D. Metals such as lithium, sodium, and potassium are common Class D fire sources.
  • Class K: The last class of fires, Class K, means any fire that was started in a kitchen.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Just like there are different classes of fires, there are different types of fire extinguishers. Many residential and commercial properties use a basic fire extinguisher, which is often sufficient for the environment. But sometimes a more specialized extinguisher is required for places like laboratories or warehouses.

Water and Foam

Water and foam fire extinguishers use water to eliminate the heat of a fire and the foam to remove any oxygen. This is a basic fire extinguisher and should only be used for Class A fires.

Carbon Dioxide

A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher replaces the oxygen in a fire with carbon dioxide. When the gas is released from the pressurized container, it releases cold, which helps to decrease the heat of the fire. These types of fire extinguishers should only be used for Class B and C fires.

Dry Chemical

Dry chemical fire extinguishers target the chemical reaction of a fire. This is the most common type of extinguisher and can be used on Class A, B, and C fires if it is a multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher. If it is an ordinary dry chemical extinguisher, it can be used only on Class B and C fires.

Wet Chemical

Wet chemical extinguishers not only remove the heat of a fire but put up a barrier between the oxygen in the fire and the fuel. This prevents the fire from re-igniting. Wet chemical fire extinguishers should only be used for Class K fires, such as those started with oils.

Clean Agent

This type of fire extinguisher uses halon agents to extinguish a fire. By using halocarbon agents, it can interrupt the chemical reaction taking place in a fire. Clean agent extinguishers can be used on Class B and C fires.

Dry Powder

The dry powder in this extinguisher acts as an agent to separate oxygen from a fire’s fuel. While this type is similar to dry chemical extinguishers, it should only be used for Class D fires.

Water Mist

This simple extinguisher targets the heat of a fire to eliminate it. Water mist extinguishers work on Class A and C fires.

Cartridge-Operated Dry Chemical

This is another fire extinguisher that interrupts the chemical reaction taking place in a fire, which in turn creates a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen. It can be used on Class A, B, and C fires.

When to Use Fire Extinguishers

It may seem obvious to use a fire extinguisher in the event of a fire, but before using one, you should take a few fire safety precautions to keep everyone in the building safe.

Check to Make Sure the Fire is Contained

You don’t want to use a fire extinguisher on an uncontained fire. This can put you and those around you at risk.

Do Not Use an Extinguisher If the Room is Filled with Smoke

If the fire is contained, the next step is to check for smoke. If the room is filled with smoke, don’t pull out the extinguisher.

Evacuate the Building

During any fire, the number one concern should be for those in the building. Before putting out the fire with an extinguisher, make sure everyone has evacuated the building.

Once you have made sure the fire is contained, the room isn’t filled with smoke, and everyone has been evacuated, you can use the proper fire extinguisher to put on the fire in the building. Be sure to alert the fire department as well.

How to Use Fire Extinguishers

While using a fire extinguisher isn’t hard to do, you should know how to use one in case of a fire. To put out a fire with an extinguisher, there are four basic steps you need to follow.

1.   Pull the Pin on the Fire Extinguisher

By pulling this, the lock on the extinguisher will be released. You will then be able to spray the fire extinguishing agent.

2.   Aim the Fire Extinguisher at the Base

Aim for the base of the fire. This will help you prevent the fire from blowing and spreading around the building.

3.   Squeeze the Lever on the Fire Extinguisher

Once you aim at the base of the fire, squeeze the lever to release an extinguishing agent.

4.   Move the Fire Extinguisher Nozzle Side to Side

As you’re squeezing the lever, sweep the nozzle from side to side until you have the fire doused. Continue this until the fire is out.


If you need help determining which fire extinguisher is right for your residential or commercial property, feel free to reach out to SERVPRO of Cedar City Fillmore. We can also help you with fire damage remediation and fire restoration. Contact us for fire restoration services today.

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