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Every home should have fire extinguishers designed for each type of fire



fire extinguishers
Photo by Antranias

Robyn Lea
State Farm Agent

Your home should be a safe haven and to keep it safe there are some essential safety items you should have. One of the most essential items is the right kind of fire extinguisher. In 2019 there were over 1.2 million fires and 3,000 deaths from fire.

The right fire extinguisher may save lives and help prevent damage to your home, but all fire extinguishers aren’t the same. Knowing the difference between different types of fire extinguishers will help you choose the right one for your home.

There are several types of extinguishers to choose from and each has various uses. The common types of home fire extinguishers include:

  • Class A fire extinguisher: Typically this type is used for ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, cloth and some plastics. It works by coating the fire with water or a dry chemical.
  • Class B fire extinguisher: This type can be used for flammable liquids such as gasoline, grease and oil.
  • Class C fire extinguisher. This type of extinguisher works on electrical, lightning or energized fires from live wires, panels and circuit breakers.
  • Class A-B-C fire extinguisher. The A-B-C extinguisher will do the work of a Class A, B or C fire extinguisher. It is the most versatile of all the home options and is usually sold at most home improvement stores.
  • Element fire extinguisher. This is a small handheld fire extinguisher that is highly portable and can be kept in a car or carried when needed. It is typically used for fighting fires on the molecular level. Its gas chemically interrupts the chain of combustion effectively extinguishing a fire without making any mess and without removing surrounding oxygen.
  • Class D and K fire extinguisher: These types of extinguishers are usually found in commercial settings. Class D fire extinguisher works on flammable metals and Class K fire extinguisher is used for oil fires in cooking appliances.

To produce a fire, there must be oxygen, heat, fuel and a chemical reaction. In a typical home fire, the fuel will either be grease or oil from the kitchen or combustible material from around the house such as cloth, paper or wood. Because of the amount of fuel a typical home has in the form of wood or paper, it’s best to try and stop a fire when it’s small. In 2019, fires caused almost $15 billion in damage and injured over 16,000 people.

Because home fires can have different fuels or chemical reactions, it is best to have a multipurpose fire extinguisher. You should place one in your kitchen and every level of your home and learn how to use it.

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