How Fires Are Classified

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Class A - Wood, paper, cloth, trash, plastics
  • Solid combustible materials that are not metals.

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Class B - Flammable liquids: gasoline, oil, grease, acetone

  • Any non-metal in a liquid state, on fire.

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Class C - Electrical: energized electrical equipment

  • As long as it's "plugged in," it would be considered a class C fire.

Class D - Metals: potassium, sodium, aluminum, magnesium

  • Unless you work in a laboratory or in an industry that uses these materials, it is unlikely you'll have to deal with a Class D fire. It takes special extinguishing agents (Metal-X, foam) to fight such a fire. Most fire extinguishers will have a pictograph label telling you which fuels the extinguisher is designed to fight. For example, a simple water extinguisher might have a label like the one shown in the left hand column, indicating that it should only be used on Class A fuels.

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