Fire Extinguishers

Classes of Fires

There are four classes of fires:

Class A: Ordinary solid combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth and some plastics.
Class B: Flammable liquids such as alcohol, ether, oil, gasoline and grease, which are best extinguished by smothering.
Class C: Electrical equipment, appliances and wiring in which the use or a nonconductive extinguishing agent prevents injury from electrical shock. Don’t use water.
Class D: Certain flammable metallic substances such as sodium and potassium. These materials are normally not found in the Medical Center.


Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are classified as types A, ABC, BC or K. It is important to use the right type of extinguisher on the specific class of fire to avoid personal injury or damage to property. The wrong type of extinguisher could cause electrical shock, explosion, or spread the fire.

Portable extinguishers are useful for putting out small fires; however they are not effective against large, spreading fires. In these situations, doors should be closed to contain the fire.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Type A: Pressurized water to be used on Class A fire only. Do not use on Class B or C fires; may cause fire spread or electrical shock.
Type ABC: Dry chemical effective on all classes of fires
Type BC: Carbon dioxide to be used on chemical or electrical fires
Type K:  Used in kitchens on grease fires

ABC fire extinguishers are located throughout the Medical Centers in corridors. Specialty areas, such as the Operating Rooms and Kitchens have specific extinguishers.


To use a fire extinguisher, follow the acronym PASS

Pull - Pull the pin on the extinguisher
Aim - Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
Squeeze - Squeeze the trigger to release the product
Sweep - Sweep the nozzle from side to side (slowly)

To request fire extinguisher training for your department, please contact the Fire Safety Program.