There are 6 types (classes) of fire, namely:
- Class A: These are fires involving flammable solids, e.g. wood, cloth, rubber, paper, and some types of plastics. An example of this type of fire would be a campsite fire.
- Class B: These are fires involving flammable liquids or liquefiable solids, e.g. petrol, oil, paint and also some waxes & plastics, but not cooking fats or oils.
- Class C: These are fires involving flammable gases, e.g. natural gas, hydrogen, propane, butane.
- Class D: These are fires involving combustible metals, e.g. sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
- Class E: These are fires involving any of the materials found in Class A and B fires, but including electrical appliances, wiring, or other electrically energized objects in the vicinity of the fire, with a resultant electrical shock risk if a conductive agent is used to control the fire.
Technically, Class E doesn’t exists, however this is used for convenience here.
- Class F: These are fires involving cooking fats and oils. The high temperature of these types of fats and oil when on fire far exceeds that of other flammable liquids which means that normal fire extinguishers should not be used.
Knowing the types of fires help you have a better understanding of the type of fire extinguishers to use. It will be disastrous to use a wrong type of fire extinguisher for the fire, eg a water based fire extinguisher for Class E fire which are electrical in nature.