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Fires are classified into different types based on the materials that are involved. Each type of fire requires a specific method in order to extinguish it safely and effectively:

1. Class A Fires

Materials Involved: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and plastics.

Extinguishing Methods:

  • Water: Cools the burning material below its ignition temperature.
  • Foam: Creates a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen.
  • Dry Chemical Extinguishers: Interrupt the chemical reaction of the fire.

To put out a Class A fire, follow these steps:

  1. Assess the Situation:
    • Ensure your safety and that of others.
    • Determine the size and intensity of the fire.
    • If the fire is large or out of control, evacuate immediately and call emergency services.
  2. Use Appropriate Firefighting Equipment:
    • Water Extinguisher: This is the most common and effective method for Class A fires.
      • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
      • Squeeze the handle to release the water.
      • Sweep the nozzle from side to side, covering the entire area of the fire.
    • Foam Extinguisher: Useful for Class A fires and provides a cooling effect.
      • Follow the same steps as for a water extinguisher.
    • Dry Chemical Extinguisher: Suitable for multiple types of fires, including Class A.
      • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
      • Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
      • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
  3. Smother the Fire:
    • If the fire is small, you can use a fire blanket to smother it.
    • Carefully place the blanket over the fire, covering it completely to cut off the oxygen supply.
  4. Clear the Area:
    • Remove any flammable materials from the vicinity of the fire.
    • Ensure there are no hidden embers that could reignite the fire.
  5. Monitor the Area:
    • Once the fire is extinguished, keep an eye on the area for any signs of re-ignition.
    • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the scene.
  6. Call for Professional Help:
    • Even if you manage to extinguish the fire, it’s a good idea to call the fire department to inspect the area and ensure there are no remaining hazards.

2. Class B Fires

Materials Involved: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint, lacquer, and flammable gases.

Extinguishing Methods:

  • Foam Extinguishers: Smother the fire and prevent re-ignition.
  • Dry Chemical Extinguisher: Effective for both liquid and gas fires. The powder works by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire.
    • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the handle to release the powder.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguisher: Ideal for liquid fires as it displaces the oxygen and cools the fuel.
    • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the handle to release the CO2.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Do Not Use Water:

  • Never use water on a Class B fire as it can cause the burning liquid to spread, making the fire worse.

Turn Off the Source:

  • If it is safe to do so, turn off the source of the fuel to stop the flow of the flammable liquid or gas.

3. Class C Fires

Materials Involved: Electrical equipment such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers, and outlets. 

Extinguishing Methods:

  • CO2 Extinguishers: Displace oxygen and cool the equipment.
  • Dry Chemical Extinguishers: Non-conductive agents interrupt the chemical reaction.
  • Turning off the Power: Once the power is off, the fire can be treated as a Class A or B fire.

4. Class D Fires

Materials Involved: Combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, potassium, and sodium.

Extinguishing Methods:

  • Specialized Dry Powder Extinguishers: These powders absorb heat and smother the fire.

5. Class K Fires

Materials Involved: Cooking oils and fats in commercial kitchens. 

Extinguishing Methods:

  • Wet Chemical Extinguishers: These contain agents that cool and create a foam blanket to prevent re-ignition.
  • Fire Blankets: Can be used to smother small Class K fires.

General Safety Tips:

  • Do Not Use Water on Class B, C, or D Fires: Water can spread flammable liquids, conduct electricity, and react dangerously with some metals.
  • Know Your Extinguisher: Ensure you have the appropriate type of fire extinguisher for your environment and know how to use it.
  • Evacuate and Call for Help: If a fire is too large to handle, evacuate immediately and call emergency services.

Understanding the type of fire and using the correct method to extinguish it can prevent injury and property damage. Reach out to Tobin Restoration today if you have experienced any type of fire damage to ensure your home is safe!