Just as different types of firefighters exist in the world, so do different types of fires. For each type of blaze, firefighters utilize various resources to diminish it promptly and entirely. Extinguishers are some of the most essential fire suppression tools; the creation of a range of extinguishers has resulted from experts uncovering the roots of the contrasting types of fire throughout history. Discover the different types of fires and extinguishing methods that firefighters regularly encounter.
Class A fires utilize flammable materials as their fuel source. Things such as paper, wood, fabric, and trash are common fuel sources in Class A fires. You can put out Class A fires with either water or extinguishers that contain monoammonium phosphate.
Firefighters classify Class B fires as those that use flammable liquid or gas as a fuel source. Spaces that deal with flammable liquids such as acetone and petroleum are highly susceptible to Class B fires when workers avoid preventative safety measures.
The best approach to extinguishing a Class B fire is to remove oxygen. Firefighters commonly employ powder and foam extinguishers to suffocate these types of fires.
Rounding off our list of different types of fires and extinguishing methods are Class C fires. These involve dangerously energized electrical equipment. Motors, electronic transformers, and electric appliances are common culprits of these fires. To stop a Class C fire, firefighters must first cut the power and then use nonconductive chemicals to deplete the blaze.
Using Different Fire Extinguishers
Most extinguisher types are designed similarly, making them each easier to use when necessary. Firefighters often employ the PASS technique, which we’ll flesh out below:
- P: Pull the pin, breaking the tamper seal.
- A: Aim the extinguisher’s nozzle at the base of the fire.
- S: Squeeze the extinguisher’s handle to emit the extinguishing agent.
- S: Sweep the nozzle back and forth, smothering the base of the fire with the extinguishing agent.
Should the fire reignite, repeat steps Aim through Sweep. No matter what type of extinguisher you end up needing, you should always ensure it’s in good standing with the expiration date. An expired extinguisher is not likely to work effectively in a time of need.