ESC not only installs and services fire detection systems of all kinds as well as automatic fire suppression systems for commercial kitchens, manufacturing, and other purposes, but we also provide a manual means where you can fight a fire where and when it begins–fire extinguishers.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) of Quincy, Mass., “A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the #1 priority for residents is to get out safely” (

A long time ago, the fire protection industry recognized the need to classify extinguishers according to the many kinds of burning materials encountered in a fire. For example, Class A, water-type fire extinguishers cannot be used on the electrical fires because the extinguisher operator could be seriously injured by the conduction of electricity by the stream of water from their extinguisher. Instead, a Class C fire extinguisher will work best. Another example, a raging fire in a manufacturing plant with flammable metals, such as magnesium, should be fought with a Class D fire extinguisher (see chart below).

Classes of Fire

Knowing the type of fuel helps determine what kind of fire extinguisher to use and how to use it. There are five common classes of fires:

Class Fuel
A Ordinary combustibles such as paper, cloth, wood, rubber, and many plastics
B Flammable liquids (e.g., oils, gasoline) and combustible liquids (e.g., charcoal lighter fluid, kerosene)
C Energized electrical equipment (e.g., wiring, motors) – when the electricity is turned off, the fire becomes a Class A fire
D Combustible metals (e.g., aluminum, magnesium, titanium)
K Vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Additional Resources:

If you have any questions, please use the handy form below. I look forward to serving your fire extinguisher needs. –John Larkin, ESC Senior Partner.

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