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What kind of extinguisher to use?

There are different types of fire extinguishers for different types of fires.

Types of Fires

Types of Extinguishers

Class A
Ordinary Combustibles:
wood, paper, rubber, fabrics and many plastics

Class A 
Class B
 Flammable Liquids & Gases:
gasoline, oils, paint, lacquer and tar

Class A:B

Class C
 Fires Involving Live Electrical Equipment

Class A:B:C 
Class D
 Combustible Metals or Combustible Metal Alloys
(NO picture symbol)

Class A:C

Class K
Fires in Cooking Appliances that Involve Combustible Cooking Media:
vegetable or animal oils and fats
Class B:C

   Class D

   Class A:K

Fire extinguishers are further divided into handheld and cart-mounted, also called wheeled extinguishers. Handheld extinguishers weigh from 0.5 to 14 kilograms (1 to 30 pounds), and are hence easily portable by hand. Cart-mounted units typically weigh 23+ kilograms (50+ pounds). These wheeled models are most commonly found at construction sites, airport runways, heliports, as well as docks and marinas

ABC Multi-purpose Stored Pressure Dry Chemical Extinguishers – Class A fires by melting at approximately 350°F and coats surface to which it is applied. It smothers and breaks the chain reaction of Class B fires and will not conduct electricity back to the operator.

Class D Fire Extinguishers - commonly found in a chemical laboratory. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. ie. Laptop.

Additional models contain a copper extinguishing agent, specifically designed for the US NAVY to fight lithium and lithium alloy fires. These types of extinguishers are designed for class D fires only.

Metal fires represent a unique hazard because people are often not aware of the characteristics of these fires and are not properly prepared to fight them. Therefore, even a small metal fire can spread and become a larger fire in the surrounding ordinary combustible materials.

Carbon Dioxide Stored Pressure Extinguishers – Carbon Dioxide is discharged as a white cloud of “snow” which smothers a fire by eliminating oxygen. It is effective for Class B flammable liquids and is electrically non-conductive. Carbon Dioxide is a clean, non-contaminating, odourless gas, for computer rooms, expensive electronics equipment with little or no clean-up

Clean Agent - Electrical fires are fires involving potentially energized electrical equipment, ie computer rooms ( This sort of fire may be caused by, for example, short-circuiting machinery or overloaded electrical cables. These Electrical fires may be fought in the same way as an ordinary combustible fire, but water, foam, and other conductive agents are not to be used. While the fire is, or could possibly be electrically energized, it can be fought with any extinguishing agent rated for electrical fire. Carbon dioxide and dry chemical powder extinguishers are especially suited to extinguishing this sort of fire. Once electricity is shut off to the equipment involved, it will generally become an ordinary combustible fire. computer rooms, special hazards, little or no-clean up

Water Mist Stored Pressure "C" Rated Water Extinguishers- the best extinguishers for protection of hospital environments, valuable books and documents, telecommunication facilities and “clean room” manufacturing facilities.

Wet-Chem Stored Pressure Class "K" Kitchen Extinguishers - WET CHEMICAL extinguishers are the best restaurant kitchen appliance hand portable fire extinguishers you can purchase. The recent trend to more efficient cooking appliances and use of unsaturated cooking oils dictates the use of a hand portable fire extinguisher with greater fire fighting capacity and cooling effect to combat these very hot and difficult fires. They supplement existing cooking equipment automatic system protection for an extra margin of safety.

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 10-2002, states you must have a K CLASS rated Portable Fire in addition to your Kitchen Fire Supression system The 6 Liter, K CLASS Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher must be within a 30 foot travel distance from the farthest appliance, be mounted in a clearly visible and accessible location, and a placard identifying the use of the extinguisher shall be conspicuously placed near each portable fire extinguisher in the cooking area.

High Performance Extinguishers - the ultimate choice in fire extinguishers for high hazard, frequent use and extreme environment applications, like gas stations, flammable liquids

These fires follow the same basic fire tetrahedron (heat, fuel, oxygen, chemical reaction) as ordinary combustible fires, except that the fuel in question is a flammable liquid such as gasoline, or gas such as natural gas. A solid stream of water should never be used to extinguish this type because it can cause the fuel to scatter, spreading the flames. The most effective way to extinguish a liquid or gas fueled fire is by inhibiting the chemical chain reaction of the fire, which is done by dry chemical and halon extinguishing agents, although smothering with CO2 or, for liquids, foam is also effective. Some newer clean agents designed to replace halon work by cooling the liquid below its flash point, but these have limited effectiveness.

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