Do You Know Your ABC's?
Depending on the agent that fuels them, fires can typically be classified into one of five different categories. Each type of fire involves different flammable materials and requires a special approach. Therefore, it is important to understand the five classes of fires and how to properly extinguish them without causing further damage.
Involving solid combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, trash, or plastic, Class A fires are the most common types of fire. In addition to being the most common fire, Class A fires are also the easiest to extinguish. It is recommended to use a water or foam fire extinguisher, or water to douse the fire.
Class B fires involve flammable liquids like oil, alcohol, or gasoline. More specifically, liquids or gasses like petroleum grease, alcohol, paint, propane, or gasoline; not cooking oils or grease. When faced with a Class B fire, it is very important not to use a water extinguisher as the stream of water might spread the material rather than extinguish it. Instead, use a foam, powder, or carbon dioxide extinguisher to cut off a fire’s oxygen supply.
Class C fires require a source of electricity. Therefore, they may be started by old wiring, worn-out breaker boxes, frayed electrical cords, or faulty appliances. Common in both households and industrial settings, it is important to, first, disconnect the appliance or item from its power source as long as it is safe to do so. Then, if possible, extinguish the flames using a carbon dioxide or dry powder fire extinguisher. Do not use water or foam to put out an electrical fire, as both materials can conduct electricity and potentially make the situation more dangerous.
Most rare among each class of fire, Class D fires can happen when metal ignites. This typically requires high levels of heat and is most common when alkali metals are exposed to air or water. Although you are unlikely to encounter a Class D blaze in your home, it is advised that such fires be extinguished with a dry powder extinguisher only.
Termed as Class K fires, this classification is comprised of fires involving cooking oils such as vegetable oil or animal fats. The high flashpoints of cooking oils and fats make Class K fires most likely to start when a pan is left unattended on a stove. If possible, it is important to turn off the heat on any cooking appliances and remove them from the heat source. Then, similarly to how Class B fires are treated, avoid using water to extinguish the fire. Instead, opt for a wet chemical extinguisher.
Regardless of the classification or the extent of its damage, SERVPRO of Gilbert, Chandler South, Ahwatukee and South Tempe is fully equipped to clean and restore your home or property should it be affected by fire; “like it never even happened.” Call us at (480) 558-7620 or visit our website for more information.