The universal standard extinguisher (good on most small fires you might encounter) for the last 10 to 20 years is the “ABC”, or multi-purpose extinguisher. It can be used on a Class A, B, or C fire.
- Class A is ordinary combustible materials such as wood, cloth, paper, etc.
- Class B means flammable liquids such as oil, gasoline, kerosene, etc.
- Class C refers to the presence of energized electrical circuits (e.g. an electric motor, electrical wiring, etc.)
However, there are several other kinds of extinguishers available which are only effective when used on the kind of fire for which they were intended. These include:
- Pressurized water - Class A only
- Carbon dioxide - Class B and C only
- “B-C” Dry chemical - Class B and C only
- “K” for cooking and kitchen areas
- “D” dry chemical - for self-spontaneous igniting/burning fires; usually these involve combustible metals such as magnesium, zirconium, potassium, and sodium