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What Do The Letters Mean On Fire Extinguishers?

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Handheld fire extinguishers are made so that home owners can react quickly to small fires that may occur. They are lightweight and easily operated by almost anyone. They are painted red to increase visibility so that they can be easily located when the need arises. Many home fire extinguishers come with mounting wall brackets that can be hung on the wall of the house using an ordinary toolkit. The homeowner can then hang the fire extinguisher wherever they feel it makes the most sense.

The Rating System

Fire extinguishers that are sold for home use contain a variety of solutions designed to put out specific kinds of fires. Since the cause of the fire determines what would be the best solution to snuff it out, fire extinguishers are labeled with letter designations that indicate its rating, which is A, B, C, D or K. These ratings clarify the recommended use of that particular fire extinguisher. As such, it's best to store fire extinguishers in the house according to the type of fire most likely to break out in that room.

What the Letters Mean

An "A" Rating on a fire extinguisher indicates that it is suitable for use on fires caused by things like wood, paper and textiles, or plastic. This rating of fire extinguisher should be kept in rooms like the bedroom, living room, laundry room and craft room.

Fire extinguishers labeled "B" are effective against combusted liquids like grease, oil, gasoline and kerosene. As such, these fire extinguishers should be placed in areas such as the kitchen, outdoor grill area and garage.

"C" rated fire extinguishers work against fires caused by electrical reasons. This fire extinguisher would be suitable placed in the living room, game room and near the circuit breaker in the garage.

Fire extinguishers rated "D" are less useful for homeowners, as their designation indicates use on fires caused by combusted metal, such as dynamite. If you have a budding scientist in the house, though, a "D" rated fire extinguisher in their room could be a smart idea.

A "K" rating on a fire extinguisher designates its effective use against grease and oil fires, which are most likely to flare up in the kitchen. This designation is less common, since the fire extinguishers labeled "B" are also effective against grease fires.

Fire extinguishers are readily available at hardware stores. If you have any questions about their use, consult the manufacturer's instructions or your local fire department.

For more information, contact Tri County Fire Protection or a similar company.