General Fire Extinguisher

General Fire Extinguisher

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General Fire Extinguisher

Understanding Fire Extinguisher Classes – What Do They Mean?

No matter what the location, fire safety is extremely important.  If you are at your home or at your place of work, you want to ensure that your loved ones or co-workers are safe from any accident that may happen in that location.  The Fire extinguisher class is what will determine which extinguisher is best for the type of materials that may combust.  If you are in a lab or hospital, the requirements and suggestions may be different than if you are in the workplace like an office or if you are at home.


Labs and hospitals may have requirements depending on the substances that they contain.  Hospitals will definitely need two different extinguishers, one which is for general use for fires involving organic materials like paper and plastic.  This is the Class A appliance.  It is the most common of the extinguishers purchased for businesses and homes.


The other is due to the high amount of electricity that hospitals are using.  Only certain types of extinguisher can help you put out any electrical fire without the risk of being electrocuted. In the US these are known as class C, but in the UK there is no separate class for electrical fires.  If you are in a lab the Class D extinguisher can provide you with the defense you need against any combustible chemicals and metals that may be used.


In your home, you can pretty much bet that the Class A extinguisher is a good idea for anything that may accidentally occur.  If you are interested in including a fire appliance for electric based fires, then you will want to get the Class C extinguisher as well and keep it next to your breaker box or circuit area.  Appliances like the Class B extinguisher can put out fire involving car fluids, gasoline, and other combustible liquids that are extremely useful in the garage area.  The Class F extinguisher (K in US) is a good idea for any professional kitchen area or people that use their kitchens frequently, as they fight fires that involve cooking oils or fats.


Your workplace should also be protected with a Class A fire appliance for any general fires that may start on the premises.  You should make sure that all employees are trained, and that if you are the employee, you can operate the fire extinguisher with no complications.  It may be necessary for you to use it one day.  You can also invest in a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher for us on electrical fires.  Your workplace should be properly equipped with the proper extinguishers to ensure the safety of everyone involved.


Fire extinguishers are not just important, but necessary to create a safe space whether you are in your lab, home, or business.  The right class of fire extinguisher can make you feel safe and ensure that others feel safe as well.  For more information on which fire extinguishers may be needed or required for your establishment or home, you will want to consult the fire department in your local area or a professional fire safety consultant.  They can better help you determine which of these extinguishers is best.



About the Author

Read more about each different fire extinguisher class on the author's website, which also includes a free guide on how to carry out your own fire risk assessment. K Garrow has managed large public buildings for the last twenty years and has extensive experience of workplace safety issues.  His website offers free advice on a range of subjects, including fire extinguisher servicing.

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