classifications of fire
The short answer? 6. There are just 6 classifications of fire. The slightly longer answer, and one which explains exactly what these classifications are and how to fight against them, looks like this: 1. Class A: Solids Class A fires are those that involve solid materials. This means any fire fueled by everyday items like paper and fabric to larger items like furniture and structural elements of a building. Described as “ordinary combustibles”, these materials are the most common fuels for fire. When it comes to fighting a Class A fire, a water extinguisher is the only type of extinguisher that should be used. Of course, if the source of the fire is located near to electrical equipment this should be avoided as tackling the flames would be unsafe. The best piece of advice on how to prevent Class A fires is to keep a tidy home or workspace. By keeping any combustibles in safely sealed containers and effectively removing rubbish, property owners can reduce the risk of a fire starting. 2. Class B: Liquids The second class of fires, Class B, refers to any blaze which is fuelled by either liquids or chemicals. Examples of these liquids include solvent based products, paints, cleaning solutions and adhesives. Whilst Class B fires are less common than Class A fires, they account for a far greater number of fatalities each year. In order to prevent these fires, it’s essential to carry out a thorough assessment of your environment and safely store any liquids which could potentially fuel a fire. Keeping them in clearly labelled containers which signal their hazardous nature will also limit the chances of them causing a fire. When it comes to extinguishing a Class B fire, it is foam and powder extinguishers which provide the most effective solution. 3. Class C: Gases Class C fires describe those which involve gases. Everything from LPG to natural gas can be responsible for igniting a blaze and should be treated with considerable caution. Indeed, to safeguard against this class of fire, ensure that all such gases are stored in the correct fashion and handled with due care and attention by trained professionals. The safest way to combat a Class C fire is to completely remove the gas supply. If an extinguisher is necessary to use once the gas supply has been cut off, a powder extinguisher is the only one which should be used. 4. Class D: Metals Commonly overlooked as a combustible material, certain metals like sodium can easily ignite and serve as good conductors to extend the reach of a blaze. Softening and even melting when reaching extremely high temperatures, metal columns can present a particularly alarming problem whenever a large building structure catches fire. Whilst smaller metal fires can often be smothered, larger fires of this nature present something of a challenge. Acting as an accelerant, water should be totally avoided. Instead, a dry powder extinguisher with a special powder should be used. These specialist powders are formulated to take on fires that involve combustible metals like lithium, magnesium, sodium and aluminium. 5. Electrical Fires: Formerly Class E Not classed in the same way as other classifications, electrical fires refer to any blaze ignited by electrical equipment. Demanding an incredibly sensitive response, this type of fire should never be tackled with water or conductor that could prove to be fatal. To avoid falling victim to a fire of this nature, property owners should carry out a lengthy examination of all installations to ensure that they are operating properly and are unlikely to experience a fault that could lead to a fire. In the event that an electrical fire does break out, the appropriate action to take is to first switch off the power, then apply a carbon dioxide or dry powder to any remaining flames. These extinguishers can also be used if the electrical supply is of a low voltage. 6. Class F: Cooking Fats and Oils The final classification of fires is that relating to cooking fats and oils. Created through spillages which come into contact with heat sources, this type of fire poses the same degree of severity as every other classification of fire. The most efficient way to avoid this kind of fire is to make sure that food and frying equipment is monitored during use. Should a small Class F fire breakout, a fire blanket should be sufficient to take care of it. If it is slightly larger, the only extinguisher that should be used is the wet chemical model. Armed with all of this knowledge, you should now be in a good position to put preventative measures in place and prepare yourself for any eventuality. This article was produced in partnership with Franchise Supermarket, a platform which provides franchisees everything they need to know to begin franchising with Jackson Fire & Security.