#65 Portable Fire Extinguishers

Just as there is a right tool for every job, there is a right extinguisher for every fire.  The class of an extinguisher, identified on its nameplate, corresponds to the class or classes of fire extinguisher controls.  On most construction jobs, we are concerned with Class A, B and C fires.  In most cases, a multi-purpose Class ABC extinguisher, which contains dry, powdered chemical under pressure is best.

CLASS A FIRES involve wood, paper, trash and other materials that have glowing embers when they burn.

For Class A fires, use a Class A or Class ABC extinguisher.  Always remember that a Class A extinguisher contains water and should be used only on a Class A fire.  Used on gasoline, for example, the fire extinguisher can actually spread the fire; used on electrical fires, it can cause you to be electrocuted.

CLASS B FIRES:  Fires involving flammable liquids and gases such as gasoline, solvents, paint thinners, grease, LPG and acetylene.  Use Class B or Class ABC extinguishers.

CLASS C FIRES:  These are fires caused by energized electrical equipment.  Use Class C or Class ABC fire extinguishers.

  • Use the fire extinguisher whose class corresponds to the class of fire.
  • Never use a Class A extinguisher which contains water or foam on a Class B or C fire.
  • Know where fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.
  • Keep the area around the fire extinguisher clear for easy access and keep them visible.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher with you when plumbing, welding or cutting.
  • Never remove service and date tags from fire extinguishers.
  • Report defective fire extinguishers to your supervisor so they can be inspected or replaced.
  • When inspecting fire extinguishers, look for cracked hoses, plugged nozzles and corrosion and damage that may have been caused by abuse or equipment running into the extinguishers.

Do not use extinguishers for purposes other than fighting fires.