What Are the Different Classes of Fire Extinguishers?

Whether you’re a homeowner or business owner, you should always have a fire extinguisher on hand to put out flames in an emergency—but it’s important to note that not all fire extinguishers are created equal, and choosing the wrong one might not help you in a fire.

This post will teach you how to shop for a fire extinguisher based on its class and size.

Fire extinguisher classes

You’ll notice that each fire extinguisher is labeled with a letter (or a series of letters). Here’s what each letter means on a fire extinguisher:

  • Class A: These extinguishers are designed to put out flames from ordinary combustibles like wood and paper. If you have a woodburning fireplace in your home, a Class A extinguisher is a must.
  • Class B: Class B models are used to put out flammable liquids like grease, gas and oil. Since putting water on grease fires only makes them spread, you’ll always want to keep a Class B extinguisher in your kitchen.
  • Class C: These models are only suitable for fires caused by live electrical equipment, such as an electrical panel or faulty wiring. A Class C extinguisher is handy to keep in a garage or workshop.
  • Class D: Did you know that metals like magnesium, titanium and sodium are combustible? It’s true, and only Class D extinguishers can put these flames out. Using water or any other extinguisher will only cause the fire to spread.
  • Multipurpose fire extinguishers: It’s a little inconvenient to own several different fire extinguishers to put out any type of fire that could start. Thankfully, there are multipurpose models on the market. These are labeled with more than one class, including A-B, B-C or A-B-C. We recommend that all homeowners have an A-B-C fire extinguisher available nearby at all times.

What size fire extinguisher do you need?

In addition to fire extinguisher classes, you’ll also need to consider its size before purchasing your extinguisher. While a bigger unit can handle a larger flame, it won’t be useful if you can’t pick it up. We recommend getting a unit that’s small enough for every member of your household to pick up and carry.

Do you need a new fire extinguisher if yours is partially used?

Ideally, you’ll catch a fire before it gets out of control and be able to extinguish it without using all of the contents inside the canister. Assuming that’s the case, there’s no need to dispose of your current model. Fire extinguisher dealers can recharge most models, saving you the hassle of having to buy a new one.

Schedule your inspection today

Regardless of the class you have, your fire extinguisher should be inspected every year to ensure it’s still up to the job of putting out a flame. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a fire extinguisher inspection, hire our team at Carpet Capital Fire Protection Inc. We’ll send someone out right away to inspect your extinguisher and recharge or replace it if needed.