What are the different types of extinguishers? How do I know which one to buy?

Fire can be divided into 6 classes:

Class A:     Solids such as paper, wood, plastic, etc.
Class B:     Flammable liquids such as paraffin, petrol, oil, etc.
Class C:     Flammable gases such as propane, butane, methane, etc.
Class D:     Metals such as aluminium, magnesium, titanium, etc.
Class E:     Fires involving electrical appliances
Class F:     Cooking oil & fat, etc.

There are four main types of extinguishers:

  • Dry powder – Often termed the ‘multi-purpose’ extinguisher, as it can be used on Classes A, B & C.
  • Co2 – Carbon Dioxide is ideal for fires involving electrical appliances.
  • Foam – Used for Classes A & B.  Foam spray extinguishers are not recommended for fires involving electricity, but are safer than water if inadvertently sprayed onto live electrical apparatus.
  • Water – Used for Class A. Not suitable for Class B (Liquid) fires, or where electricity is involved.



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