Being well versed in the use of Fire Extinguishers is an essential skill that everyone must possess.

Types of Fire

Not all fires are the same and recognizing the kind of fire you are against is the number one step in combatting it. Fire needs oxygen, heat, fuel and chemical reaction to exist. The goal is to remove one of the four elements to extinguish the fire.

Fires are classified into five classes:

Class A: This is comprised of conventional inflammable materials, such as paper, cloth, wood, plastics, trash, and wood.

Class B: This involves combustible liquids, such as gasoline, paint and petroleum oil and flammable gases, namely, butane and propane.

Class C: This includes powered electrical items, for example, appliances, transformers, and motors.

Class D: This is composed of ignitable metals, such as aluminum, sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Class K: This encompasses greases such as animal or vegetable fats and cooking oils.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

It may come as a surprise that it can be dangerous to use specific types of fire extinguishing agents on the wrong kind of fire.

Water and Foam: These extinguishers put out the fire by elimination the heating element from the fire triangle, while foam agents separate the oxygen. These extinguishers are for Class A fires only.

Carbon Dioxide: These extinguishers put out the fire by eliminating oxygen element of the fire triangle, while also removing heat with a cold discharge. Carbon Dioxide Fire extinguishers should be used on Class B, Class A, and Class C fires.

Dry Chemical: These extinguishers eradicate the fires by discontinuing the chemical reaction of the fire triangle and should be used on Class A, Class B, and Class A fires.

Wet Chemical: This agent puts out fires by eliminating heat of the fire triangle and impedes re-ignition by forming a barrier between fuel components and oxygen. These are best suited for Class K.

Clean Agent: These Halogenates extinguishers consist of Halon agents along with the newer and less ozone depleting halocarbon agents, and put out the fire by impeding the chemical reaction of the fire triangle.

Dry powder: These agents obstruct the fire by removing the heat and oxygen elements from the triangle. Dry powder extinguishers are for Class D fires.

Water Mist: These fire agents are a recent development, which removes heat element from the fire and are designed for Class A fires.

Cartridge Operated Dry Chemical: These fire agents interject by discontinuing the chemical reaction of the triangle. It is used on Class A, B and C fires.

The ability to protect yourself and others against fire hazards comes from knowledge. Located on Mufford Crescent in Langley BC, Phoenix Fire Prevention works with the goal of making people’s home, workplace and events safer.

They are ready to equip you with hands-on training to use the right type of fire extinguisher in the event of danger. You may visit them online at or call them at (604) 534-6079.


All credit goes to Phoenix Fire Prevention