Fire Extinguishers

Type A fires

Type A - Trash, Wood, Paper

Type B - Flammable Liquids

Type B - Flammable Liquids

Type C - Electical Fires

Type C - Electical Fires

Information about fire extinguishers

A fire extinguisher is your best defense against fires that have just begun to burn - IF you are properly trained and feel comfortable using them. Fire extinguishers can:

  • give you enough time to escape from a burning structure.
  • put out fires completely if used properly.

Not using the correct type of extinguisher can make the fire spread. It is crucial to know the type of fire you are trying to put out before you attempt to use an extinguisher. If you have any doubt - GET OUT. Pull any fire alarms (if applicable) on the way out. Call 9-1-1 from a safe location!

Proper locations for fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers should be located in rooms that the family gets the most use out of. They should always be in plain sight and easily accessible. Do not conceal them behind curtains, under tables, in a closet, or on the ground. At least one extinguisher should be kept on each floor of your household. They should also be kept in basements and garages.

  • Extinguishers should be on walls no higher than five feet from the floor and near the exit and hazard areas
  • Determine the hazard areas in your home, office, or other commonly used dwelling.

Fire extinguisher guidelines

Only attempt to extinguish fires when they are small - no larger than a small trash can! Time is valuable. Keep time on your side by knowing what's what and where to find it. Remember, fire can double in size approximately every sixty seconds.

  • Call the fire department, by dialing 911, from a safe location.
  • Fire extinguishers should be maintained and ready for use at all times.
  • Pressure gauges and carbon dioxide containers should be checked monthly. If your extinguisher does not have a pressure gauge be sure to get one that does
  • All containers should be checked on a regular basis by all family members. Make it apart of everyday life.
  • Proper training, conducted by trained professionals is the key to correct use of an extinguisher

Keep detailed records.

Always keep track of usage and service of your fire extinguisher. Records can also be helpful after a fire incident. Insurance companies may ask questions about extinguishers and their history. Keep your fire extinguisher serviced and maintained properly.

Know the proper signs and symbols of fire extinguishers.

Research the best kind of fire extinguisher(s) you might need for your home or office. Most fire extinguishers have universal symbols and/or pictograph systems. This helps classify which extinguisher fights a certain kind of fire.

Different types of fires use different types of extinguishers

Buying an extinguisher can be confusing. Each contains substances that extinguish different classes of fires. Some are multi-purpose extinguishers that can be used for more than one kind of fire:

fire extinguisher and labels

  • Type A Fire Extinguisher- for fires that need a substance like water to cool burning materials down below ignition level. (Burning paper, cloth, wood, rubber, and plastics.)
  • Type BC Extinguisher- contains chemicals that fight: (1) Class B fires (flammable liquids, gases and greases), and (2) Class C fires (energized electrical equipment, electrical fire and burning wires.)
    The BC extinguisher never contains water because water conducts electricity and spreads burning oils or solvents.
  • Type ABC Extinguisher- multi-purpose extinguishers that fight all three types of fires.

REMEMBER the basics of using extinguishers. Make sure you place yourself in a position to safely exit the area if you need to get out fast! Have the fire in front of you and your back to an exit so you can back out - DO NOT turn your back on a fire! Remember to NEVER go past a burning fire to retrieve an extinguisher. You may end up trapping yourself!


The safety pin at the top the extinguisher.


The nozzle, horn, or hose at the base of the flames.


Or press the handle.


From side to side at the base of the fire until it goes out.