Fighting Fire with Fire: Extinguishing Fire the Right Way

Fire is an essential element in our lives. When used properly and safely, it gives us the warmth and comfort that we need. However, it is also one of the major causes of property damage, injuries, and sometimes deaths.

You may know a thing or two about fire already, but you can never go wrong with bonus information. If you do encounter this hazard, it will be useful to know how to put it out properly.

The Different Types of Fire

There are different classifications of fire based on what fuels them. Each of the fire types, namely Class A, B, C, D, and K, requires a different method to be extinguished. If you try to put one out incorrectly, it could only make the situation worse. Using water to extinguish Class B or C fires, for example, will not do you any good.

If you find yourself with a broken fire extinguisher, it is best to immediately call for the services of fire fighters equipped with Davey pumps to prevent the blaze from escalating further. Here’s a short guide to help you identify the five types of fire and the right ways to extinguish them.

  • Class A – This is the most common kind of fire ignited intentionally (or unintentionally) when cooking, lighting a bonfire or candle, or a stray spark. The materials involve mainly paper, wood, trash, and plastic. This is the easiest one to put out using a foam fire extinguisher or water.
  • Class B – This type of fire involves ignitable gases and liquids, mainly petroleum grease, paint, gasoline, and alcohol. They may be ignited when flammable gases or liquids are stored. Do not use water in extinguishing Class B fires, as it may spread them even more. Fires like this are extinguished using carbon dioxide or powder extinguishers that cut off the oxygen source.
  • Class C (D in Australia) – This involves electrical components and equipment ignited by old wirings, frayed cords, or broken appliances, making them common starters of house fires. If this type of fire hits your home, the first thing that you should do is to disconnect the appliance from the source (if safe) and extinguish using a dry powder or carbon dioxide extinguisher. It is possible that this type can turn into a Class A. But still, like type B, do not use a foam extinguisher or water.
  • Class D – Fires ignited by metals, primarily alkali, are rare, particularly in households. They are extinguished using only dry powder extinguishers, as water can cause explosions.
  • Class K or F – Sometimes mistaken for type B, Class K or F fires occur primarily in the kitchen. The cause? Cooking oil. This ignites when a pan has been left alone for a while. Turn off the heat and remove it from the heat source. Like some fire types, cooking fires are not put out with water. Using a wet chemical extinguisher is the way to go.

When in Doubt

Extinguishing fireAccording to Homeland Security, a flame can turn into a major fire within 30 seconds. If you are unsure about how to extinguish a fire safely, evacuate the area and alert other people. Use the stairs when necessary. If your clothes are on fire, it is advised to cover your face prior to rolling around until the flames die out.

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