Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

May 18, 2021 | From The CEO

One of the biggest nightmares for any is a fire consuming their homes or business. A fire would not only endanger your property but even the safety of your family. Consequently, extreme care and vigilance are needed to prevent any incident that may cause a fire. Preventive measures such as keeping flammable objects in a safe place and regularly inspecting house appliances and electric wirings are just a few ways that one can do in order to avoid a house fire. However, at the end of the day, you can only do so much. Sometimes, unfortunate accidents may happen which are beyond our control. 

The most important thing is that you are prepared when this problem arises. If a fire suddenly starts at your home or your business establishment, the greatest weapon that you can use against it is a fire extinguisher. With the right preventive measures and a suitable fire extinguisher — you can significantly decrease the chances of a fire spreading and destroying your properties. 

What is a fire extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher can be almost everywhere and it can be easily spotted because of its bright red color. In a lot of places, a fire extinguisher is required by law to be installed in public areas and commercial buildings as a safety measure against small fires. 

A fire extinguisher is active fire protection that is used during emergencies in order to put out small fires and prevent them from spreading any further. These portable fire extinguishers are extremely useful against contained small fires. 

But, do you know that there are different kinds of fire extinguishers against different types of fire? Knowing these distinct types of fire extinguishers is very important since using the wrong one might even increase the chances of the fire spreading in your home or in your place of business. 

Here is a quick guide to the different kinds of fire extinguishers available in the market 

What are the different kinds of fire extinguishers? 

A fire extinguisher comes in five different types and using the most suitable fire extinguisher is important in containing small fires. You can differentiate these types of fire extinguishers by checking the label which has a specific symbol on it.  In many residences and business establishments, multipurpose fire extinguishers capable of putting out three types of fires are usually installed in their premises. 

Five Types of Fire Extinguisher

There are five main kinds of fire extinguishers. They are differentiated from the type of fire that it is capable of containing. Knowing these types of fire extinguishers is essential since not all fires are the same. A fire can start from different sources which means that a specific type of extinguisher works better than others. So, knowing what is the best kind of fire extinguisher compatible with containing a specific type of fire may be life-saving information that you should know about. 


The first type of fire extinguisher is marked with an “A” symbol. This type is perfect for

containing fires that originated from ordinary combustibles like paper, wood, textiles, rubbers, and plastics. As you can see, ordinary combustibles are objects that you can usually find in homes. As such, this type of extinguisher is the most common type used in residential areas given that ordinary combustibles are usually the source of small fires at houses.  


The second type is an extinguisher with a “B” label on it. This kind is suitable for putting out a fire that originated from flammable liquids such as the following: gasoline, solvents, tar, petroleum greases, tars, oils, oil-based paints, solvents, and alcohol. However, you must NOT put out a fire that involves cooking oils and grease using this Class B extinguisher. Since a Class B fire extinguisher is not compatible to put out fires that come from cooking oils and greases that usually happens in kitchens. 


The third type is a Class C fire extinguisher. This is usually used to contain a fire which started from live electrical equipment like your house appliances and electric wirings. So, if the fire originated from: live wires, electric panels, computers, and circuit breakers in your houses then you must use this type of extinguisher to immediately contain it. 

Class C extinguisher is the most suitable type against electrical equipment since it contains non conductive properties. This type of extinguisher is becoming more and more necessary given that houses nowadays have a lot of electric appliances and gadgets that can easily cause an electric fire. 


The fourth type is a Class D extinguisher which is effective in containing fires from combustible metals like the following: magnesium, titanium, aluminum, zirconium, sodium, lithium, and potassium. This kind of extinguisher is suitable against Class D fires which usually happen in industrial or manufacturing factories due to the presence of combustible metals like metal shavings. So, if you have a business that constantly handles combustible metals then be sure to get a Class D extinguisher as a safety measure in case a fire suddenly starts. 


The fifth type is a Class K extinguisher that is suitable against fires that started from cooking oils,  vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats used in cooking appliances. This type of extinguisher is used in case of kitchen accidents — wherein a fire suddenly starts while you are cooking a meal with the use of vegetable or animal oils. Class K extinguishers are usually required in restaurants, catering businesses, food trucks, and cafeterias since they have commercial kitchens which use cooking oils and greases. So, if you have a food business that prepares a large quantity of food using cooking and vegetable oils, then you should make sure that your kitchen is equipped with this kind of extinguisher. 

It is important to note that if you have a kitchen hood suppression system then you must first use this before deploying the Class K extinguisher to put out the fire.


Nowadays, there are also multipurpose fire extinguishers available in the market which are capable of containing different types of fires. An example of this is a multipurpose dry chemical or ABC fire extinguisher which is suitable in containing Class A fires that originated from ordinary combustibles and is also suitable against Class B and C fires that originate from flammable liquids and electrical equipment, respectively. 

So, if you are planning to buy a fire extinguisher for your home or your business establishment make sure to take note of this important information as mentioned above and do more research. Since there are certain types of fire extinguishers that are more suitable to put out certain kinds of fires, using the wrong extinguisher might be dangerous for the user. Therefore, you must always check the label first to know the type of extinguisher that you have before using it.

When should you use a Fire Extinguisher?

If there is a small fire within your house or your place of business, you must first know where the fire started from. By doing this, you can immediately ascertain which type of fire extinguisher you can use in order to contain it. In fighting fires using a fire extinguisher, you must know that there are certain limitations to it.

First of all, you should only fight a fire using your extinguisher if the fire is small and contained. Make sure that you have escape routes and you are safe from toxic smoke while you are using it. Second, make sure that you are using the right fire extinguisher. Since using the wrong kind may even make things worse for you. 

If you have doubts on whether you can safely put out the fire using your fire extinguisher, then immediately leave the scene and call the fire department for help. At the end of the day, remember that the most important thing is your own safety. In emergency situations, you must follow your instincts to fight or flee. Do not endanger yourself in trying to contain the fire if you are not equipped to do so since a small fire can easily spread and block your escape route. 

Protect Your Home with Insurance 

Sometimes no matter how much precautions and safety measures we take —  natural disasters and house fires can still happen especially when one least expects it. These unexpected events can result in property damage which necessitates costly repairs. That is why, getting a good Home Insurance policy for your house is important to secure your family from unexpected losses. A home insurance policy does not only cover the expenses for the reconstruction and repair of your damaged home. But, it can also provide compensation for your personal household belongings destroyed by a calamity, fire, or other disasters. 

To know more about the different home insurance coverages available in the market. Contact Advantage Insurance Solutions today. Our professional insurance agents will provide you with the best home insurance options that will suit the needs of your family with our wide array of affordable insurance options.  

In conclusion

As they say, “it is better to be safe than sorry.” Preparing yourself by taking proper safety measures and buying the right equipment can save you and your loved ones in the future. A fire extinguisher is one of these types of equipment that you must have in order to protect yourself against fires. 

But before purchasing or using it,  you should know that there are different types of fire extinguishers compatible with specific kinds of fires. There are five main kinds of fire extinguishers which are classified from the type of fire that it is capable of containing.

To summarize, the first type is the Class A fire extinguisher which is compatible in containing small fires from ordinary combustibles. The second type is a Class B extinguisher which is suitable for fires originating from flammable liquids. The third type is a Class C extinguisher which is used to put out small fires from electrical equipment or electrically energized fires. The fourth type is a Class D extinguisher that is specifically utilized against small fires caused by combustible metals. Lastly, Class K extinguishers are for small fires that started from cooking oils, vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats usually used in the kitchen.