Can All Fires Be Put Out?

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Fires can be classified in five sầu different ways. Mariana8094/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Most of us probably don"t think much about the distinction between different types of fires, but knowing the difference could be life-saving.

Fires can be classified in five different ways depending on the agent that fuels them: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class K.

Each type of fire involves different flammable materials and requires a special approach. In fact, trying lớn fight a btia laze with the wrong method might make the situation worse.

In most cases, knowing which type of fire extinguisher khổng lồ use is crucial. Fortunately, using one can be pretty simple — the Fire Equipment Manufacturers" Association suggests remembering the acronym "PASS": Pull the pin, alặng the nozzle from a safe difference, squeeze the handle slowly, & sweep the nozzle from side lớn side until the fire is out. When using an extinguisher, you"ll want to lớn ayên low at the base of the fire.

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That being said, if you keep a fire extinguisher in your home or place of work, you"ll want khổng lồ kiểm tra its gauge monthly & be sure it is in working condition, Atlanta fire chief Dennis L. Rubin told Real Simple. You"ll also want lớn kiểm tra the extinguisher for damages and get it inspected if necessary. The worst time to find out your fire extinguisher"s pressure is too low is when you need it the most.

Most importantly, you"ll want lớn use the proper extinguisher when putting out a fire.


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Bonfires are typically a Class A intentional fire. iStock

Class A fires are the most common type of fire and the kind that most of us are familiar with. They involve sầu solid combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, trash, or plastic.

You might start Class A fires intentionally when lighting a match or starting a bonfire. An unintentional Class A fire could result from knocking over a candle, a stray spark from a fireplace, or a lightning strike on a tree.

Luckily, Class A fires are the easiest type khổng lồ extinguish. The Fire Equipment Manufacturer"s Association recommended using a water or foam fire extinguisher on Class A fires. You can also use water lớn douse the fire, as it can remove sầu the fire"s heat supply.


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Water should not be used lớn exterminate these fires. iStoông xã

According lớn the US Fire Administration, Class B fires involve sầu ignitable liquids or gases lượt thích petroleum grease, alcohol, paint, propane, or gasoline. But, this classification typically does not include fires involving cooking oils or grease.

According to Strike First, these types of fires might occur anywhere flammable liquids or gases are stored or used.

It"s very important not to use a water extinguisher on a Class B fire — the stream of water might spread the flaming material rather than extinguish it.

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Class B fires should be extinguished using foam, powder, or carbon dioxide extinguishers, according to lớn the Fire Equipment Manufacturer"s Association. These types of extinguishers work by cutting off a fire"s oxyren supply.


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These fires are oftentimes deemed "energized electrical fires." Flickr/ewitch

Class C fires, referred khổng lồ as Class E in nước Australia, involve electrical equipment. This type of fire might be started by old wiring in walls, frayed electrical cords, worn-out breaker boxes, or faulty appliances.

Electrical fires are very common in both homes & industrial settings. According to Strike First, the first thing you should try khổng lồ bởi if an electrical fire starts is khổng lồ disconnect the appliance or tòa tháp from its power source only if it is safe to vày so.

If possible, you should try lớn extinguish the flames using a carbon dioxide or dry powder fire extinguisher. If và when the power source is disconnected, the fire can become a different class of fire, typically Class A.

Do not try to put out an electrical fire with a water or foam extinguisher, as both of those materials can conduct electriđô thị and potentially make the situation more dangerous.

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These fires commonly occur in industrial settings. iStoông xã

It takes high levels of heat khổng lồ ignite most metals, which makes Class D fires pretty rare outside of laboratories and industrial settings. According to lớn University of Massachusetts Boston"s Office of Environmental Health & Safety, Class D fires are oftentimes caused by alkali metals such as potassium, magnesium, aluminum, and sodium, as these can ignite when exposed lớn air or water.

Although you"re unlikely khổng lồ face a Class D btia laze in your home, the Fire Equipment Manufacturer"s Association advised extinguishing these types of fires with a dry powder extinguisher only.

Dry powder extinguishers work on metal fires by separating the fuel from oxyren or removing the heat element of the bLaser, but foam or water extinguishers can potentially increase the intensity of the flames và cause dangerous explosions, according to lớn Imperial Systems.


These typically occur while cooking. Robert Couse-Baker/flickr

Although they are sometimes lumped in with Class B fires, the US Fire Administration considers blazes involving cooking oils khổng lồ be in their own category, typically referred to lớn as Class K or Class F in the UK.

Because of the high flash point of cooking oils and fats, Class K fires often start when a pan is left unattended for too long on a stove sầu. If possible, you"ll want to lớn turn off the heat on your cooking appliance & remove the fire from the heat source as soon as possible.

Just as you shouldn"t use water lớn try và extinguish a Class B fire, dousing a cooking oil fire with liquid is likely khổng lồ create a dangerous splatter effect & spread the flames.

Instead, you should extinguish a Class K fire with a wet chemical extinguisher, according lớn the New York City Fire Department. These are mandatory in many commercial kitchens & are a good investment if you vì chưng any amount of cooking at trang chính.


When it's time khổng lồ use an extinguisher, pull the pin. Shutterstoông chồng

If you have any doubt at all about your ability lớn quickly và safely extinguish a fire, you should immediately evacuate. According lớn the Department of Homel& Security, it can take just 30 seconds for a small flame to lớn turn inlớn a major blaze.

In the event of a fire, the Red Cross recommended leaving the area or building as quickly as possible after yelling khổng lồ alert anyone nearby. Always use stairs rather than elevators, stay low to the ground, và use the back of your hand to feel if closed doors are warm to lớn the touch, as you should never open doors that vì not feel cool. call 911 or your local emergency number as soon as it is safe lớn vì chưng so.

If your clothes catch on fire, the Red Cross suggests you drop to the ground và cover your face before rolling baông chồng and forth until the flames go out.