Which fire extinguisher is right for you?
The first thing to understand is that there are different types of fires, and not all extinguishers are good for all uses.
If your concern is dealing with a fire where the items to be contained are
ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics, you should look for a Class ‘A’ extinguisher. They can contain water or foam.
For fires that involve combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, etc., a Class ‘B’ extinguisher should be used. These extinguishers contain chemicals or powder.
Class ‘C’ extinguishers are used to fight fires found in electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. The media used in these devices is a non-conductive agent (chemicals).
If you need to contain a fire in a chemical laboratory, where combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium are found, you need to look for a class ‘D’ extinguisher. They employ powder chemicals.
Lastly, for commercial kitchens, where grease, animal fats, or cooking oil, the one to choose is a Class ‘K’ extinguisher. These employ a wet chemical as a fire fighting element.
However, the most commonly found type of fire extinguishers used in residences, are the ones labeled ‘ABC’ which are multipurpose, and use a dry chemical extinguishing media.
Don’t forget to check your local codes for additional information.
Hopefully you’ll never have to use one of these extinguishers, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared. By the way, change your smoke alarm’s battery periodically, and make certain it is in good working condition.