Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher

Portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property when a small, contained fire breaks out in your home or business. But different types of fire extinguishers fight different types of fire – and using the wrong one may make the fire worse. Would you know which to use? The following information can help you be better prepared in case of a fire.

Use the Right Fire Extinguisher for the Fire

There are five classes of fire that could break out, each involving a different material. Determine what type of fire extinguisher you own ahead of time by looking for the symbol on the label and matching it to one of the descriptions below. Many homes and businesses use multipurpose fire extinguishers that are good for three classes of fires – A, B and C. If you already own a fire extinguisher, check the label to see what class of fire it is good for. Be on the lookout for these standard symbols. If you see a red slash through a picture, it means that the extinguisher should not be used on that class of fire.  

Different types of fire extinguishers

Fight or Flee

Once you know what type of fire extinguisher to use, you will need to understand when to use it. You may only have moments to use it properly since small fires can grow into large ones in a matter of seconds. If you are not sure whether it is safe to fight the fire, you should leave the scene, call 911 and let the fire department control it.

*Fire extinguishers should be used by trained adults.

Pan on fire

How to Help Prevent Household Fires

Learn about the common causes >

How and When to Use a Fire Extinguisher

If fire erupts, swift action is critical.

Learn what to do >

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