Different Types of Fire Extinguishers & Their Uses

Fire extinguishers are so commonplace throughout public spaces and buildings, most of us barely notice them anymore. However, in an emergency situation, one being in its correct place could make all the difference. There are five main different types of fire extinguishers. Each one is used to tackle a different type of fire – so, first, let’s look at those.

Different Classes of Fire

  • Class A fires are those caused by combustible materials, i.e. wood, paper, fabric, etc.
  • Class B fires are caused by flammable liquids, such as petrol or spirits.
  • Class C fires are those involving flammable gases, like propane or butane.
  • Class D fires pertain to flammable metals; magnesium, potassium, etc.
  • Electrical fires are caused, as the name would suggest, by electrical equipment (computers, televisions, etc).
  • Class F fires typically happen in the kitchen, and involve cooking oils.

To understand the different types of fire extinguishers and where they should be used, it’s important to first note all of the above. Next, let’s look at what fire extinguishers are used for in different situations:

Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

  • Water fire extinguishers are marked with a red label, and should be used only on Class A fires.
  • Foam fire extinguishers have a cream label; these can be used on Class A and Class B fires.
  • Dry powder fire extinguishers are labelled in blue, for use on Class A, B, C, D and E fires.
  • CO2 fire extinguishers have a black label, and are only to be used on Class B and Electrical fires.
  • Wet chemical fire extinguishers have a bright yellow label, and should be used only on Class A and Class F

Our job as fire risk assessors is to identify which of the above situations your property is most likely to face. After which, we’ll advise you on the appropriate equipment and, importantly, where to place it.

Class A extinguishers are the most widely used in residential buildings, whilst the others are more commonplace in hospitality or other business settings. In any case, it’s crucial to ensure your residents or building inhabitants and employees understand where they are in an emergency, moreover how to use them if required.

Sound like a lot to remember? Feel free to download and keep this handy table we put together for the purpose.



For more information on the different types of fire extinguishers and their uses, get in touchtoday.