Types of Fire

There are five distinct types of fires, and each of these types has a different fire extinguisher because each type burns a different kind of fuel and has its own heat signature. The five types of fires are ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, electrical fires, flammable metals, and cooking oils.


Class A

The ordinary combustible fire (Class A) is the fire that burns wood and paper-type fuel. This is one of the most common fires as it’s the easiest to start in any location. These types of fires are often started accidentally with common household objects. While this type of fire is one of the most common, it is also one of the easiest to prevent. Simple fire prevention steps such as never leaving a candle unattended and making sure your flat iron is fully cooled prior to putting it away will keep you and your family safe from this type of fire. For these types of fires, water is a great extinguisher.


Class B

Class B fires involve flammable liquids or gases like gasoline and oil. Flammable liquids can burn at almost 1000°C, putting anything in the vicinity of the fire at risk of burning. It’s best to use a smothering technique when putting out these fires and remove the oxygen from the equation. Using a foam, dry chemical, or carbon dioxide fire extinguisher works best for this type of fire.


Class C

Electrical fires are Class C. These types of fires often occur when a wire in the wall is frayed or otherwise damaged. The heat from the electricity running through the wire causes the materials surrounding the wire to grow hot and catch on fire. To fight this type of fire, shut off the electricity and use a fire extinguisher with a nonconductive extinguishing agent.


Class D

Class D fires involve flammable metals like magnesium and titanium. This type of fire is most common in a chemical supply company or lab. The most dangerous part of this type of fire is that most people don’t know how to fight it and they can cause more damage during the extinguishing process. This type of fire can only be fought using a dry chemical suppression extinguisher that will suffocate the flame and absorb the heat.


Class K

Finally, Class K fires are cooking fires, most often involving cooking oils and fats.  Don’t use water as it will spread the oil and then spread the fire. Use a Class K fire extinguisher, which uses wet chemical agents to suppress and stop the fire. These extinguishing agents interact with the oil and turn it into soap.


In addition to choosing the right response to fires, make protective coatings a part of your building’s fire response plan. An intumescent coating like ShieldAll 6023-Fire Guard will slow the spread of fire and smoke, potentially providing more time for response personnel to take control of the fire.


Choose ShieldAll protective coatings—the best solution for strong foundations!

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