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Community Development > Fire Marshal > Fire Extinguishers >

Classification of Fires & Size of Extinguisher

Classes of Fire
Class A fires involve ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, rubber, cloth, most plastics, etc. Almost everything in your home is considered a Class A combustible.
Class B fires involve combustible and flammable liquids and gases, such as gasoline, kerosene, grease, tar, acetone, fingernail polish, some household cleaning products, etc. Some plastics are considered Class B because they melt first, then burn just like a flammable liquid.
Class C fires involve anything with energized electricity. Once the electrical power is taken away, the fire goes back to being a Class A or B fire.
Some extinguishers are multi-purpose which means they can be used for more than one class of fire. The extinguishers provided in most buildings are classified for A, B, and C fires.

What size is my extinguisher?
Extinguishers are also rated according to the amount of fire that can be extinguished by an untrained layperson. The minimum rating for most occupancies is 2-A:10-B:C. The 2-A means the extinguisher will extinguish as much fire as a 2-1/2 gallon water extinguisher on ordinary combustibles (about as much as a trash can would hold). The 10-B relates to the amount of fire involving flammable liquids, usually ten square feet. The C means the extinguisher's agent is non-conductive. The rating is found where the Underwriters Laboratory© mark is located, usually on the back or side label, along with the type of extinguisher (i.e., Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher).

Classification of Fires and Size of Extinguishers Maintenance of Fire Extinguishers
Operation of Fire Extinguishers Should you fight the fire?
Last Updated:  September 23, 2014
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