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Types of Fires & How to Extinguish Them

Not all fires that occur in commercial properties are the same. Because of their varying causes and natures, it is essential that you are aware of the right extinguishing agents that should be used for each class of fire.

For instance, an electrical fire should be put out with a specific extinguisher type, while some other types of fire extinguishers are more effective on other fire classes, such as cooking fires or fires caused by metals. Regardless of the kind of equipment you have in your commercial property, they should have the right fire extinguisher certification and meet all the key fire protection standards in Orange County.

Read on to learn more about classes of fire and how they can be extinguished.

What are the 5 types of fire?What types of fires are not extinguished by water?

There are five main types of fire according to the NFPA 10 standard. The fire classes in the United States include:

  • Class A: This class is used for fires that originate from ordinary solid combustibles, such as paper, wood, rubber, cloth, and different types of plastic.
  • Class B: Fires caused by flammable liquids (petroleum grease, alcohol, gasoline, oils, solvents, tars) belong to Class B. This class also includes flammable gases like butane and propane.
  • Class C: Electrically energized fires, such as those caused by faulty wiring or appliances, belong to Class C. Fires from this class should never be extinguished with water.
  • Class D: This class includes fires caused by combustible metals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, zirconium, titanium, lithium, etc.
  • Class K: fires that originate from cooking greases and oils (vegetable fats, animal fats), are classified as type K fires.

Some of these classes of fire can be put out with more than one extinguishing agent. Similarly, some fire extinguishers are designed to tackle several types of fire, such as the ABC dry chemical extinguisher. Exactly which extinguishing agents you will need for your commercial building will depend on the different fire hazards that are present in your line of work.

What types of fires are not extinguished by water?

While water is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about putting out fires, there are, in fact, several types of fires that should never be extinguished with water. These include:

Class B (and Class K fires)

Extinguishing fires that involve ignitable gases or liquids (Class B and Class K fires) with water may do more harm than good. This is because pouring water on a cooking oil or petroleum grease may spread the fire and create a splashing effect rather than put it out. Instead, powder, foam, or CO2 extinguishers should be used, according to FEMA.

Class C fires

Fires caused by old or faulty wiring, damaged electrical cords, and other types of electrical fires should never be extinguished with water, although turning off the power may turn a Class C fire into a Class A fire. Instead of using foam or water extinguishers, use dry powder or CO2 to put out the fire.

Class D fires

Fires caused by ignited metals may become worse when exposed to water or air. Because of this, a special type of fire extinguisher should be used in order to control and extinguish a Class D fire. Typically, these types of fires are put out using only dry powder extinguishers.

What are the 5 types of fire?We offer in-depth fire extinguisher certification across Orange County

As a business owner, you should never stop learning about fire protection and all the different ways you can protect yourself, your employees, and your property. For instance, you should know when not to try to put out a fire on your own, as well as learn how to comply with the latest fire codes in your area.

If you need help protecting your commercial property against fire hazards, contact Red Truck Fire & Safety today. Our expert team can guide you through all the different types of fire protection equipment as well as advise you on all the OSHA regulations. Call us today!

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