Six Fire Extinguisher Classes and Their Uses

Fire extinguishers are not all the same, because not all fires are the same. How you extinguish a fire depends on its source and what continues to fuel it. If you use the wrong suppressant, you may spread the fire or make the situation even more dangerous. To ensure you equip your business with the correct fire extinguisher class, here are the classes of different fire extinguishers in Lawrenceville, GA and when you need them:

  • Carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide extinguishers are designed for electrical fires. They work by smothering the fire so it no longer receives oxygen, its primary fuel source. Since these extinguishers can be dangerous to people, they should never be used in small spaces that lack proper ventilation.
  • ABC: There are extinguishers that are made specifically for class A, B and C fires, but the most popular extinguisher in office buildings and schools is designed for all three. Using a monoammonium phosphate (dry chemical), these extinguishers put out fires caused by gases, flammable liquids and solid matter like wood, paper or textiles. However, the chemicals are corrosive and need to be removed from surfaces as soon as the fire is suppressed.
  • Water and water mist: Water extinguishers are made for class B fires (flammable liquids) and water mist for classes A (wood, paper and fabric) and C (gases). They do not contain corrosive chemicals and are commonly found in libraries. If you preserve documents, art or other valuable objects and do not need chemical suppression, water and water mist extinguishers are likely your best choice.
  • Class K: Once you get beyond classes A, B, C and electrical, you start to see more specialized extinguishers. Class K is designed for commercial kitchens. Made to suppress fires caused by grease and oils, every restaurant in the country is required to keep a class K extinguisher close at hand. Using a blend of potassium citrate and potassium acetate, class K extinguishers use a mist spray to prevent splashback of grease and oil. They work by creating a barrier between the heat source and oxygen supply so the fire cannot reignite.
  • Purple K: Despite the “K”, this extinguisher is not designed for kitchen fires. It uses a chemical compound that is limited to class B and C fires, especially those caused by tar, solvents, alcohol, petroleum grease or flammable gases. You will likely find these in industrial settings that use flammable liquids for manufacturing.
  • Haltron: This option extinguishes class A, B and C fires in places that cannot use water or monoammonium phosphate. The fire suppressant is powdered, and as it evaporates, it becomes a harmless liquid that does not cling. You will find these extinguishers in spots that need to avoid water and cannot risk corrosion, usually clean rooms, offices and server rooms.

AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc. wants your business to install the correct fire extinguisher class for your industry in Lawrenceville, GA. Contact us today to learn more about the classes of different fire extinguishers and schedule a fire prevention consultation.

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