Fire Extinguisher Labels
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How to decode fire extinguisher labels

Not all fires are equal. Different types of flames necessitate different forms of chemical extinguishing. Having clear labels to distinguish between extinguisher types is essential, since certain kinds of extinguishers can actually exacerbate the fire, creating an even more perilous situation. There are five different classes of fire extinguishers, each with a letter and geometric symbol assigned to it. Classes A and B also have numbers attached to them.

Class A extinguishers were created to put out fires composed of "ordinary combustible" materials, like paper, cardboard, and wood. Most bonfires and fires in a hearth are class A fires. A class A extinguisher can be easily identified by a green triangle around the letter A. This type of extinguisher also has a number attached to it, which indicates both the amount of water present and the amount of fire that it can put out.

Class B extinguishers are meant to put out fires from combustible liquid sources, like grease, gasoline, and oil. These extinguishers are found in places like mechanics' garages or oil rigs. Class B extinguishers are marked with a white letter B in a red square. Like those in class A, class B extinguishers have a number attached them, indicating the approximate number of square feet that the device can expect to extinguish.

Class C extinguishers are equipped to deal with electrical fires. Sparks from wires or outlets can trigger fires both in the home and in the workplace. It's a common misconception that all fires can be put out with water, but this is far too dangerous for a class C fire due to the heightened risk of electric shock. As a result, the letter C was very deliberately chosen to indicate that the contents of a fire extinguisher are non-conductive. Class C extinguishers do not have a number associated with them, but they are marked with a white C inside of a blue circle.

Class D extinguishers are isolated to areas with large amounts of chemicals, dealing almost exclusively with combustible metals. Like class C, these extinguishers do not have a number, but they are equipped with the geometric symbol of a yellow decagon.

Class K extinguishers are commonly used for kitchen fires, targeting cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats used in cooking appliances like deep fryers. These extinguishers lack a number, but they do have a black hexagon for their symbol.

Fire Extinguisher Tags
Fire extinguisher labels frequently contain abbreviations like "ABC," which indicate that the extinguisher can be used against fires of types A, B, and C.
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