Fire Extinguishers

A fire extinguisher is probably the single most important safety item in the home, garage or workshop. All extinguishers are classified by the type and size of fire they can put out. Use the table below to help you determine what type extinguisher you need. It is highly recommended to purchase a dry chemical "ABC" type extinguisher so you never have to think about the type of fire you're using it on.

     TYPE A   "Type A" is effective against trash, wood, paper and other common material fires. Fires of this type can be put out by heat-absorbing liquids such as water (which lowers the temperature of the combustible material below the point where it will give off flamable gases), or smothered by dry chemicals.
     TYPE B   "Type B" is effective against flammable liquid and grease fires. Fires of this kind must be put out by smothering or disrupting the conbustion chain by preventing the continued release of combustible vapors. Extinguishers of this type include dry chemical, carbon dioxide or foam.
     TYPE C   "Type C" is effective against "live" electrical fires. This type of extinguisher works like the Type B, but uses extinguishing materials that are non-conductive to electricity to prevent shocks to the user. Extinguishers of this type include dry chemical, carbon dioxide and Halon.

NOTE: The size of the fire an extinguisher will put out is indicated by the number in front of the Type, i.e. "10B". A Class 1A extinguisher will put out a stack of 50 burning sticks that are 20 inches long. A Class 1B will put out an area of burning naptha that's 2.5 sq. feet in size. Any number other than a 1 simply indicates that the extinguisher would put out a fire that much larger. For example an extinguisher with a Class 10A rating will put out a fire 10 times bigger than one rated Class 1A.