Because no one wants to be left unprepared when it comes to a fire, you should always have a fire extinguisher handy. However, when it comes to selecting a fire extinguisher for your Edmonton home or business, many would be surprised to learn there is no “one size fits all.” There are actually several different types of fire extinguishers to choose from and it’s important to ensure you select the right one for your specific needs. To that end, Amptec Fire & Security is here to help you distinguish the differences between some of the most common fire extinguishers available on the market because we’re committed to the protection of what’s most important to you: your life, your possessions, your property and your livelihood.
Class A-K Fires and Fire Extinguishers
In order to fight fire with fire (so to speak), you should first understand the different classes of fires so you can buy the right equipment:
A Class A fire involves the burning of commonly found materials, such as paper, cardboard, plastics, wood, etc. Class A fire extinguishers are assigned numeric ratings indicating how much water they can hold and the amount of fire one can expect to extinguish. Class A fire extinguishers are denoted with a green triangle symbol.
A Class B fire typically involves flammable or combustible liquids, which may include gasoline, kerosene, grease, oil or organic solvents. Class B fire extinguishers are usually given numeric ratings indicating how many square feet of fire they’re capable of extinguishing. Class B fire extinguishers are denoted with a red square symbol.
A Class C fire usually involves electrical equipment, including appliances, wiring, switches, panel boxes, hot plates, etc. A Class C fire is dangerous to put out with water because of the risks associated with electrical shock. Class C fire extinguishers are non-conductive and are denoted with a blue circle symbol.
A Class D fire will likely involve a combustible metal, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium or sodium, which might have a violent reaction with water, air or another chemical. Therefore, Class D fire extinguishers are typically used in a chemical laboratory setting because they’re used to fight Class D fires only. This type of fire extinguisher is denoted with a yellow decagon symbol.
A Class K fire happens in the kitchen, usually involving cooking oils, trans-fats or fats in appliances. Therefore, Class K fire extinguishers are usually found in restaurants and cafeteria settings. This type of fire extinguisher is usually denoted with a black hexagon symbol.
It’s important to note that many fires will be a combination of several of those fire types. That’s why many fire extinguishers come with an ABC rating. Please note: Water extinguishers should be used with Class A fires only for your protection!
Other Types of Extinguishers
Dry chemical extinguishers are available in BC (standard and filled with sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate) and ABC (multi-purpose and filled with monoammonium phosphate) ratings. Dry chemical extinguishers usually leave behind sticky or corrosive residue and are recommended for use on aircraft or electronics. Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are sometimes used to fight Class B and C fires, while metal/sand extinguishers are usually used for Class D fires.
Regardless of which type of fire extinguisher you need, it’s imperative to have it regularly inspected to ensure that it’s functioning properly. Always check to see that its pressure level isn’t too high or too low and that its various components aren’t blocked. In addition, be sure to check for dents, leaks, rust or additional signs of wear-and-tear that may prevent its effectiveness. When it comes to fire extinguishers in Edmonton, Amptec Fire & Security offers a wide variety. If you’re still unsure which type of fire extinguisher you need, please call us for more details. We’d be more than happy to help!