What Type of Fire Extinguisher Do I Need?

Before we get to the kinds of fire extinguishers required for different disasters, we need to understand the various types of fire.

The type of fire extinguisher you need depends on the type of fire you need to put out:

  • Class A Fires – fires caused by combustibles like wood, metal, cloth, paper, rubber, and plastics. 
  • Class B Fires – fires caused by flammable liquids like gasoline and grease.
  • Class C Fires – energized electrical fires. 
  • Class D Fires – fires caused by electric appliances
  • Class K Fires – fires caused by cooking oil, animal oils, vegetable oils

All of these classes require different kinds of fire extinguishers to put them out.

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Is Best For Lithium Batteries?

A Class D fire extinguisher is your best bet when dealing with Lithium-ion battery fires. Class D fire extinguishers are required for combustible metals such as lithium, magnesium and potassium, which need a non-reactive medium to extinguish them.

Lithium batteries have a failure rate of less than one million and are generally very safe to use –but of course, accidents can and do happen. 

Water is ineffective when it comes to large Lithium fires like that of an electric vehicle fire. Lithium is highly reactive with water, and adding water can make the fire worse. Water mixed with a copper metal is a good option, but it’s costly and hard to access. 

Type Of Fire Extinguisher

Stick to Class D fire extinguishers when it comes to Lithium fires.

Note: Do not use Class D fire extinguishers to put out other fires, and make sure regular extinguishers are always available. 

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Works Best For a Kitchen Fire?

Kitchen fires are termed Class K fires, for which you should use a Class B extinguisher or ABC extinguisher. Class K fires occur with flammable cooking media like vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats. 

There are two kinds of Class B fire extinguishers for kitchen use.

  • Dry powder fire-extinguisher, which is labeled blue
  • CO2 fire extinguisher, which is labeled black

The Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher works instantly. The only downside is that the residue will get into all the nooks and crannies of the kitchen and appliances. Depending on the fire range, that could mean a lot of cleaning up afterward, and you most likely will not be able to use your kitchen for a while.

What Fire Extinguisher Type Works In a Garage?

An ABC fire extinguisher or Class B fire extinguisher work best for the variety of flammable materials and combustible liquids involved in a garage fire.

Garage fires often happen because of combustible gases like ethanol, propane, and gasoline. These gases are easy to extinguish once you get to the source but spread incredibly fast. 

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Do I Need For My Barn?

Barns should use the ABC or the multipurpose fire extinguisher.

Barns are highly susceptible to catching fires because they contain all sorts of combustible materials – hay, organic matter, wood, textiles, and more. 

A Class ABC fire extinguisher can put out three classes of fires:

  • Class A fires – fires caused by trash, wood, and paper
  • Class B fires – fires caused by liquids and gases.
  • Class C fires – fires caused by electrical equipment

What Fire Extinguisher Type Is Best For Car Fires?

ABC fire extinguishers generally work best for car fires.

Vehicle fires are of two kinds, depending on the vehicle type.

Class B fires – very high-risk highly fatal fires that can spread very fast if not contained.

Class C fires – these usually happen in electric cars or hybrid cars, which involve energized electrical components. 

The kinds of fire extinguishers that are best for car fires are:

  • Dry chemical fire extinguishers
  • Clean agent fire extinguishers
  • Halogenated extinguishers

Dry chemical fire extinguishers and clean agent fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish fires caused by chemical and electronic sources. The halogenated extinguisher uses a mix of gases that collectively put out Class B and C fires.  

Avoid water, foam, and CO2 extinguishers for car fires.

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Is Required For an Office?

Office fires involve a multitude of sources – wood, paint, electrical equipment, and more. Therefore an ABC fire extinguisher is generally best.

Breaking this down more by different fire types:

  • Air pressurized water fire extinguisher (APW) is for fires caused by wood or fabrics.
  • Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher is for fires caused by combustible liquids.
  • Dry Chemical Fire Extinguishers or ABC fire extinguishers are for extinguishing fires of A, B, and C Classes
  • Foam Fire Extinguishers are for extinguishing fires by flammable gases and liquids and wood and fabrics. 

What Fire Extinguisher Type Is Best For a Laboratory?

It’s important to use specific kinds of fire extinguishers suitable for specific types of laboratory fires:

  • ABC Fire Extinguisher – this can put out multiple classes of fire initiated from wood, fabric, electrical resources and 
  • Water Mist Fire Extinguisher – this can extinguish fires of A, B, C, and K kinds of fires, without leaving any residue or discharge.
  • C02 Fire Extinguisheronly for electrical risks because CO2 may react with other elements in the laboratory and further increase the fire
  • Metal Fire Extinguisher – these add a layer of non-reactive metals over the inflammable substances.

Laboratories are full of dangerous and flammable chemicals; these chemicals are hazardous enough to cause damage to the entire building. 

What Fire Extinguisher Type Works For a Gasoline Fire?

The fires caused by gasoline are classed as Class B fires, and the best fire extinguishers to put them out are:

  • CO2 fire extinguishers 
  • Dry Chemical or ABC fire extinguishers 

Both of these fire extinguishers use compressed gases to stop gasoline fires from spreading.

Remember: The best way to stop a gasoline fire is to cut off the fuel supply. If you can’t do that then you’ll need to put it out with a fire extinguisher. Be careful though! Stand back from these fires as they can get very hot and ignite so fast that they resemble an explosion.

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Works Best For an Alcohol or Ethanol Fire?

Alcohol and Ethanol fires require special alcohol-resistant foam to put them out. These types of fire extinguishers work:

  • CO2 fire extinguishers
  • Dry Chemical or ABC fire extinguishers
  • Halon based fire extinguishers
  • Any extinguisher marked as B, C, BC, or ABC.

Important: Do NOT use water on an alcohol-based fire! Water will make an alcohol fire much worse!

What Type of Fire Extinguisher is Required For a Xylene Fire?

The fire extinguishers needed for Xylene fires include: 

  • Water Spray Extinguisher
  • Alcohol Resistant Foam Extinguisher
  • Dry Chemical Extinguisher
  • Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher 

Xylene is a hazardous substance that’s flammable at room temperature. It’s found in paints, inks, adhesives, and thinning agents. 

What Type of Fire Extinguishers Work For Wood Fires?

The fires caused by solid flammable materials like wood, textiles, and paper are termed Class A fires. They’re best put out by Water Fire Extinguishers.

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Puts Out a Natural Gas Gire?

Natural gases are highly flammable; these involve propane, butane, acetylene. These fires are classified as Class C. Natural gas fires require these types of fire extinguishers to put out:

  • Dry Chemical Extinguisher
  • Alcohol Resistant Foam Extinguisher 

You should use these existing fire extinguishers after cutting the gas supply. Try not to use a liquid-based extinguisher, as they might cause the fire to spread further. 

What Fire Extinguisher Type Is Best For Welding?

The best way to put out a fire caused by welding is with the following extinguishers:

  • CO2 Extinguisher
  • Dry Powder or ABC Extinguisher 

Welding-related fires typically involve paper, fabric, woods, and electrical connections. In fact, there are a lot of electric fires in the areas where welding happens.  A CO2 extinguisher can help protect electrical connections.

Important: Do not use an extinguisher based on water around welding equipment or electrical connections.

What Fire Extinguisher Type Puts Out Plastic Fires?

Plastic fires are classed as Class A fires and can be extinguished by:

  • Water-Based Fire Extinguishers – these involve the water fire, water spray, and the water mist extinguishers
  • Wet Chemical Extinguishers 

Plastic fires are one of the messiest ones out there. Burning plastic causes large amounts of thick smoke and a revolting odor. When they melt, the solid heat may ignite other fires and cause the fire investigators to be confused about the source.

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Works Best For Grease Fires?

Grease fires (typically a kitchen fire) require these fire extinguisher types:

  • Dry Chemical or ABC Fire Extinguisher
  • CO2 fire extinguisher

After you put out the flames, turn off the heat source, add some salt or baking soda, and the fire usually simmers down. 

Note: Don’t use water to put out the fire! It also goes without saying, don’t touch the pot that’s on fire. 

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Do I Need For a Rocket Fuel Fire?

The extinguishing agent needed to put out a rocket fuel fire is called ethylene glycol.  A rocket fuel fire is extinguished by using an airtight sealed gas propellant cartridge with ethylene glycol. 

Rockets or missiles use an explosive, charge-based device. This device is initiated by electricity or heat, which can ignite electrical components and surrounding materials. If the rocket itself (not just the fuel) ignites and explodes, you are going to need an entire military fire brigade!

What Type of Fire Extinguishers Works For Electrical Fires?

Electric fires are the fires that are started by electrical equipment and are classed as Class C Fires. The following kinds of extinguishers put these out:

  • Dry Powder or ABC Extinguishers 
  • CO2 Extinguishers

Of course, neve use water extinguishers to put out an electrical fire.

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