Pine Mountain Georgia Fire Department
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Pine Mountain Georgia Fire Department Safety

A Little About Fire Extinguishers

Pine Mountain firefighters show a group of children, and some adults, how to use a fire extinguisher during a recent program conducted at F.D. Roosevelt State Park. (Photo courtesy of Chelsey Edgar)

Everyone should have a fire extinguisher in their home, but selecting the proper type and size can be confusing. But it really is not.

Fire extinguishers are divided into four categories: A, B, C, and D, with each category based on different types of fires. Fire extinguishers also have a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle -- the higher the number, the more fire-fighting power.

Here is a quick guide to help you choose the right type of extinguisher.

 Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The numerical rating on these types of extinguishers indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.

Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for class B extinguishers indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish. Using water on a Class B fire can make the situation much worse!

Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish Class C fires!

Class D fire extinguishers are commonly found in a chemical laboratory. They might also be found in automotive shops and other industrial locations. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types of extinguishers also have no numerical rating, nor are they given a multi-purpose rating - they are designed for class D fires only.

 The Pine Mountain Fire Department recommends the purchase of ABC type fire extinguishers. The allows the fire extinguisher to be used on Class A, Class B, and Class C type fires.


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