Home safety: A basic guide to the different classes of fire extinguishers

by Michelle Gavio 01/14/2024

A homeowner's guide to the different classes of fire extinguishers featured image

A fire extinguisher is an essential safety tool to have at home. However, many homeowners are unaware of the different types of fire extinguishers and how they work. Here is a quick guide to the various classes of fire extinguishers based on the types of fire they can handle:

Class A fires

Class A fires are those that occur with regular materials like cloth, wood, paper, rubber and types of plastic.

Class B fires

Class B fires are fires from flammable or combustible liquids such as oil, solvents, alcohols and oil-based paints.

Class C fires

A class C fire is a fire started by or involving energized electrical equipment.

Class D fires

Fires involving combustible metals like sodium, lithium, potassium and magnesium are considered class D fires.

Class K fires

Class K fires are similar to class B fires, but specifically involve combustible cooking media like animal fats and oils.

With all the classes of fire and corresponding extinguishing materials, how do you know which type of fire extinguisher is best for your home? Luckily, there is a standard type of extinguisher known as an ABC extinguisher. These can be used on class A, B and C fires, which are the most common fires to occur at home.

An ABC fire extinguisher is appropriate for use in home kitchen fires involving flammable liquids, even though cooking oil fires have their own class. This is because fire extinguishers specifically meant for class K fires are meant for use in commercial or industrial settings rather than home kitchens.

A homeowner's guide to the different classes of fire extinguishers infographic

Even though you aren't likely to encounter certain classes of fire in the home, the more you know about fire extinguisher types, the better prepared you can be in case of an emergency.

About the Author

Michelle Gavio

Michelle Gavio, your number one source for Marlton Real Estate, and surrounding towns.