Basic Types of Fire Extinguishers
- Fire extinguishers are rated in classes A through D. Class A extinguishers are used to put out ordinary combustibles this includes wood and paper. Class B extinguishers can put out flammable liquids including gas and grease. Class C extinguishers should be used on electrical fires. Finally, Class D extinguishers put out flammable metals. Most fire extinguishers produced today can be used on multiple classes of fires. There will be either lettering telling which class of fires it can put out. Newer extinguishers use pictures to depict the type of fire they are capable of extinguishing.
- Dry chemical extinguishers are multi-purpose and use an extinguishing agent propelled by non-flammable gas. The National Fire Protection Association recommends this type of fire extinguishers for home use. The range of these extinguishers vary based on size.
- Halon extinguishers work by using a gas capable of interrupting the chemical reaction that takes place in a fire. It is recommended to use this type of extinguisher on electronic equipment, as it does not leave behind any residue. They have a limit of 4 to 6 feet and initial application should be made at the base of a fire.
- Water extinguishers contain water that is propelled by non-flammable gas. It is recommended to use this type of extinguisher only on ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper.
- Carbon dioxide extinguishers are most capable of putting out liquid and electrical fires. They have a range of 3 to 8 feet since the gases disperse quickly. The extinguisher stores carbon dioxide as a compressed liquid. As the gases expand, it cools the air putting out the fire. It is recommended to continue use of these extinguishers even after it appears the fire has been put out.
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend using the acronym P.A.S.S. to operate a fire extinguisher. It breaks down as such: P- Pull the pin,A- Aim at the base of the fire, S- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly and S- Sweep from side to side