Classes of Fires
Not all fires are created equal. The classes of fire not unlike the classes of water, are determined by source of the ignition. Most homeowners are unlikely to experience more than one class of fire, while some businesses may be susceptible to various classes. Understanding the different classifications of fires allows for effective extinguishing and restoration.
Class A fires are the ordinary everyday house fires. Usually caused by wood, paper, plastic or fabric, these fires are easily extinguished by water or monoammonium phosphate. Monoammonium phosphate is found in common fire extinguishers that are kept in homes or offices.
Any flammable liquid or gas like gasoline, propane, or kerosene are at the center of Class B fires. Businesses or homes that have these highly volatile items are at a higher risk of fire. Any other objects that pose a threat of heat or pressure set off combustion.
Major appliances, transformers, or fuse boxes are all sources of Class C fires. Fires that are caused by any object with electricity as it’s fuel source are within this category. In homes electrical fires can be damaged cords or underserviced appliances. Businesses with heavy electrically operated equipment are susceptible to Class C fires. Unplugging or cutting off the electrical supply, when safe of course, is the first step to diminishing this fire. Extinguishers with carbon dioxide are ideal.
Class D fires consist of burning metals. Specific metals are flammable including uranium, potassium, magnesium and more common titanium or aluminum. These metals can take shape in a powder, flake, or chips that are placed under extreme heat. The attributes of these materials typically make for a quickly spread fire. These fires are also not easily smothered and take dry powders before they are put out.
Class K fires are usually cooking fires, started by a liquid like oil or grease. These fires are much more common and put out with wet chemical fire extinguishers.
As a business or home owner, knowing the potential classes of fire that can occur based on environment is important. Staying prepared with the correct fire extinguisher is imperative in the event that a fire arises.