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Which Fire Extinguisher is Best?

With so many different types of fire extinguishers from which to choose, selecting the right one for your property (residential or commercial) can be a bit intimidating. It is essential for everyone to have at least one fire extinguisher in their home or business. It is also equally important to make sure that you have the right type of fire extinguisher, as there are varied types of extinguishers suited for fighting different types of fires.

There are two types of fire extinguishers: stored pressure and cartridge-operated. Stored pressure extinguishers are the most common type, as cartridge-operated fire extinguishers are primarily used in areas where they are utilized more frequently, such as industrial facilities.

In the United States, fire extinguishers are divided into five different classes, based on different types of fires. Each fire extinguisher has a rating which serves as a guide one on the amount of fire it can handle. The higher the rating, the more fighting power the fire extinguisher has. Here are some tips that will help you choose the right extinguisher.

Class A fires require extinguishers are used for ordinary flammable materials such as wood, paper, trash, cardboard and most plastics. The numerical rating that is found on this type of extinguisher indicates the amount of water that it holds and the amount of fire that it can put out.

Class B fires involves flammable liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, oil and grease. The numerical rating on this type of fire extinguisher indicates the number of square feet of fire it can extinguish.

Class C fires involve electrical equipment. This includes wiring, outlets, appliances, and circuit breakers. It is important to never put out a Class C fire with water, as this puts you at serious risk for electrical shock. This type of extinguisher does not have a numerical rating.

Class D fire extinguishers are for fires that involve combustible metals such as magnesium, potassium, sodium, and titanium. This type of extinguisher has no numerical rating and is most commonly found in chemical laboratories, the aircraft industry, and auto body shops.

Class K fire extinguishers are used for putting out fires that involve cooking oils or fats typically found in kitchen appliances. These are ideal in restaurant and cafeteria kitchens.

The best option for a home, vehicle, RV, boat, office or hallway would be an ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher. This is a multi-purpose extinguisher that can be used to fight Class A, B, or C fires.

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are more commonly used to fight Class B and C fires and are found in hospitals, mechanics and factories.

Halon fire extinguishers are recommended for delicate materials such as computers, tapes, film, electrical equipment and the like. They come in different sizes and can fight Class B and Class C fires. The larger sized extinguishers can fight Class A fires, as well.