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Choosing the right fire extinguisher

When it comes to choosing the right fire extinguisher it is important to know the type of fire you are dealing with and which is the right fire extinguisher for the job. Choosing the wrong type of fire extinguisher can be very dangerous, make the fire worse and risk injuring those attempting to fight the fire.

Types of fires

  • Class A - fires fuelled by solids such as paper, wood and plastic
  • Class B - fires fuelled by flammable liquids such as paraffin, petrol and oil
  • Class C - fires fuelled by flammable gases such as propane, butane and methane
  • Class D - fires fuelled by metals such as aluminium, magnesium and titanium
  • Class E - fires involving electrical apparatus
  • Class F - fires fuelled by cooking oils and fats

Types of extinguishers

Type of extinguisherColourFire classification 
WaterRedClass AWater extinguishers are used on Class A fires. They are not suitable for fires fuelled by flammable liquids or where electricity is involved.
FoamCreamClass A and BFoam is a versatile fire extinguisher. Used for Class A and B fires.
CO2BlackClass B and ECO2 fire extinguishers are used for fires involving electrical apparatus. They have no post fire security which means that the fire could reignite.
Dry PowderBlueClass A, B and CDry powder extinguishers can be used on Class A, B and C fires. Dry powder is not recommended for use inside because it can obscure vision and damage goods and machinery.
Wet ChemicalYellowClass FWet chemical extinguishers are for fires involving cooking fats and oils. They are most suitable for use in restaurants and kitchens.