There are various types of fires that can be classified based on the materials that burn and the way in which the fire can be fought. The most common classification of fires is based on fire classes. These are indicated by the letters A, B, C, D and F. Each of these fire classes represents a specific type of fire and requires a different approach to extinguish the fire.
Fire class A
Fires that start in solids such as wood, paper, textiles, plastics and rubber are classified as fire class A.
Examples of fire class A materials:
- Insulation material
Fire class B
Fires that start in liquids such as gasoline, oil, paint, and solvents are classified as class B fires. This type of fire cannot be extinguished with water because water disperses the liquid, allowing the fire to spread as well. A foam extinguisher or powder extinguisher is required to extinguish these fires.
Examples of fire class B materials:
Fire class C:
Fires that start in gases such as propane, butane and natural gas are classified as fire class C. In the event of a gas fire, it is very important that the gas supply is shut off as quickly as possible since there is still a risk of ignition after extinguishing. This type of fire cannot be extinguished with water or foam. The most suitable fire extinguisher for fire class C fires is a powder extinguisher. The powder smothers the fire, taking away the oxygen needed to sustain the fire.
Examples of materials fire class C:
- Natural gas
- Natural gas
- ABC powder extinguisher (BC powder extinguisher)
Fire class D
Examples of materials fire class D:
Fires that start in metal such as magnesium, aluminum and potassium are classified as fire class D. These fires are very intense and cannot be extinguished with water or foam. Special powder extinguishing agent must be used to extinguish these fires.
- D powder extinguisher (Powder extinguisher for metal fires)
Fire class F
Fires that start in cooking oil or fat are classified as class F fires. This type of fire is dangerous because the flames can be high and a lot of smoke can be released. To extinguish this fire, the fire must be smothered with a lid or fire blanket. Water should not be used, as water can splash the grease and spread the fire.
Examples of materials fire class F:
- Cooking oil
- frying fat
- Animal fat
- Vegetable oil
- Water flares