A fire extinguisher could be the first line of defense in case of a fire. However, it’s important to understand how fire extinguishers are classified in order to choose the correct model. There is a wide range of residential, marine, commercial, and automotive fire extinguishers. The classifications are categorized by A-B-C or a combination of the three.
Class A - Fire extinguishers with a Class A rating are effective against fires involving paper, wood, textiles, and plastics. The primary chemicals used to fight these fires is mono ammonium phosphate or water.
Class B - Fire extinguishers with a Class B rating are effective against flammable liquid fires. These can be fires where cooking liquids, oil, gasoline, kerosene, or paint have become ignited. Two commonly used chemicals are effective in fighting these types of fires. Mono ammonium phosphate effectively smothers the fire, while sodium bicarbonate induces a chemical reaction which extinguishes the fire.
Class C - Fire extinguishers with a Class C rating are suitable for fires in “live” electrical equipment. Both mono ammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate are commonly used to fight this type of fire because of their nonconductive properties.
When purchasing an extinguisher for your home, a popular type is a 2A:10B:C model. This extinguisher is a combination of all three classes explained above and will usually be effective against most small fires in your home or office.
Remember to ONLY attempt to extinguish a fire yourself if you're comfortable doing so. If the fire is too big, GET OUT and STAY OUT and call 911!
The Willmar Fire Department does not repair, recharge, refill or dispose of fire extinguishers. We recommend using a vendor that specializes in these services.