The Correct Fire Extinguisher

You need to choose the correct fire extinguisher. A fire extinguisher should be "listed" and "labeled" by an independent testing laboratory such as FM (Factory Mutual) or UL (Underwriters Laboratory). All extinguishers that are in the area must be capable of putting out a small fire.


There are several different general sizes to choose from. A 2.5-pound extinguisher will work for only 10 seconds. A 5-pound extinguisher will last for 10-15 seconds and a 10-pound extinguisher will go out in about 30-seconds.

The Different Classes of Fire Extinguishers

   Class A: Ordinary Combustibles

The Type A label is seen in a triangle on the extinguisher. The Type A extinguishers are use for Ashes involving wood, clothes, paper and rubber. "A" type extinguishers have a green triangle on the guage.

   Class B: Flammable Liquids

The Type B label is seen in a square on the fire extinguisher. The Type B extinguisher is for Barrels. Also this type is used for gasoline and propane.

   Class C: Electrical Equipment

The Type C label is seen in a circle on the extinguisher. The Type C extinguishers are used for Currents. This involves combustibles on fire due to contacting live equipment. The "C" inside a blue circle may be symbolized.

   Class D: Metal Fires

The Type D label is in a star on the extinguisher. The Type D means Don't Get Involved. This extinguisher is used for metal fires such as magnesium, titanium and sodium. These types of fire are very dangerous and seldom handled by the general public.

At times people have tried to use fire extinguishers that surprisingly did not work. This is something that can be highly prevented. Moisture and the wrong temperatures can create an extinguisher to be useless.

Once a year you must shake the extinguisher. Also after usage rechargable models need to be recharged. If powder creates inside the extinguisher it will not discharge. Shaking it will help stop the powder from caking.


Pictograms, which are pictures for each type of extinguisher, shows the type of fire that the fire extinguisher can be used with. Examples of the pictograms are as follows:

A. Type A extinguisher has a pictogram showing burning wood.
B. Type C extinguisher has a pictogram showing an electrical cord and outlet.

These pictograms are also used to show what not to use. For example, a Type A extinguisher will show a pictogram of an electrical cord and outlet with a big slash through it. In other words, don't use it on an electrical fire.

Do Not React When A Fire Occurs. You Must ACT. The person must check out the situation and only fight the fire if it appears that it can be stopped. This must be done safely. If more than one fire extinguisher is needed the best choice usually is to leave the area. It is best not to use a fire extinguisher on flames that are waist high or higher. So reguardless we must call the firedepartment and Remember that the life is more important than the property.

Installing Fire Extinguishers

Where you install the fire extinguishers is a very important consideration for proper fire protection and the lives of your family members. Quite often, a fire extinguisher is improperly located and is not easily accessible or do not work properly. The basic protection for any home would be to install one fire extinguisher on every floor in your home. Fire fighters and fire safety companies suggest that you install 2 fire extinguishers on each floor of your home. They also suggest that you install a fire extinguisher in every room that poses a potential fire hazard. Those rooms are your kitchen, garage, and workshop. You should mount the fire extinguishers on the wall 3 1/2 to 5 feet above the floor. The location should be near an exit or an escape route from the room.

Finally Using A Fire Extinguisher:

   1. PULL THE PIN: This will let you depress the hand lever which releases the extinguishing agent.
   2. AIM: Point the nozzel at the base of the fire.
   3. SQUEEZE THE HANDLE: This will release the extinguishing agent.
   4. MOVE FROM SIDE TO SIDE: Continue the movement while aiming at the base of the fire until the fire is out. If the fire appears to be out continue using the extinguisher for at least one extra minute.