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Classes of Fire and Proper Types of Extinguishers

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human life and property from fire. The NFPA has designated classes of fire based on the type of material that is fueling the fire.

In order to properly extinguish a fire, you must be familiar with the three MOST common classes of fires, which are based on fuel type:
  • Class A - Ordinary combustibles including wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics
  • Class B - Flammable liquids (burn at room temperature) and combustible liquids (need heat to ignite) including gasoline, kerosene, and oil
  • Class C - electrical fires
The MOST common types of extinguishers used in healthcare systems are:
  • Pressurized dry chemical (ABC or BC)
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Note: Water-filled fire extinguishers may NOT be appropriate for use in some areas of a healthcare facility due to the presence of class B and C ignition sources.