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Fire Extinguisher Type - What Are The Differences?

Many people think that a fire is just a fire, and no matter what extinguisher they use it will put the fire out, but this is not the case. There are 5 different type of fire extinguishers all suitable for use on different types of fires.

For Example: Using a Water Fire Extinguisher on an electrical fire could cause harm to the user of the extinguisher as water and electricity do not mix to well. The electrical current can travely through the stream of water and cause injury to the user.

It is vital that the correct type of extinguisher is used on the correct type of fire. using the wrong type could cause more damage than good.

Fire Extinguisher Colour Codes:

UK Complaint fire extinguishers manufactured to BS-EN3 must follow a strict design guideline.

They will have a RED body with a Coloured section indicating the type of extinguisher.

The below image shows the different types of extinguishers and their BS EN3 Colour Codes:

Know Your Fire Extinguisher Colour Code

What Type of Extinguisher Do I Require?

Different extinguishers are required for different properties and fire risks.

Your property should be assessed and the types of fire risk should be highlighted. You will then be able to decide on the type of extinguisher you require.

Below is a table that highlights the various different types of fire and the extinguishers that can be used on the various types.

Fire Type / Class

Description of Fire

Fire Extinguisher(s) That can be used on this type

Class A Fires Class A Fires involve Ordinary Combustibles. Which include: Wood, Paper, Cloth, Trasg & other ordinary Materials Water Extinguishers
AFFF Foam Extinguishers
ABC Powder Fire Extinguishers
Wet Chemical Extinguishers
Class B Fires Class B Fires involve Flammable Liquids. Which Include: Gasoline, Oil, Paint & other flammable liquids. Carbon Dioxide (C02) Extinguishers
AFFF Foam Extinguishers
ABC Powder Extinguishers
Class C Fires Class C Fires Involve Flammable Gasses. Which Include: Propane, Butane, Methane & other flammable gasses. ABC Powder Extinguishers
Class D Class D Fires Involve Metals. Which Include: Aluminium, Magnesium & Titanium. Specialist Powder Fire Extinguishers
Class F Fires Class F Fires Involve Cooking Oil & Fat Wet Chemical Extinguishers
Class A Fires Fire Caused by an electrical issue. Normally caused by Short Circuting machinery or overloaded electrical cables. Carbon Dioxide (C02) Extinguishers
Powder Extinguishers

Please Note:

The information within our resources pages is copyrighted to SAFE I.S. Ltd. It is designed to give you a basic knowledge but you are responsible to check the relevant British Standards and guidelines for updates.