Sometimes, I see fires on TV and it looks like they are bringing in specialized equipment to put out those fires. Are there situations where this equipment is needed more than others?
Yes! There are multiple types of fires and properly identifying the fire type is one of the biggest keys to putting them out.
The first type of fire is called a class A fire. Fire Watch Guards can help prevent this and other types of fires. Class A fires are among the easiest to put out. They usually involve solid materials such as wood, paper, plastic, or clothing. These materials are combustible and, sometimes, people start them intentionally when they light a match or start a bonfire. Sometimes, these fires can start unintentionally when they knock over a candle or if a stray spark flies from the fireplace. Usually, water or a foam fire extinguisher can put out these fires relatively quickly.
The second type of fire is called a Class B fire. This type of fire involves flammable liquids such as gas, alcohol, or oil. In general, a class B fire can show up any location where flammable liquids or gases might be stored. It is critical not to use water to put out these fires because the streak of liquid would only end up spreading the flammable material further. Instead, these fires need to be put out using foam or carbon dioxide extinguishers. These extinguishers usually work by severing the oxygen supply of the fire.
There are also Class C fires. These fires have been set using electricity. These fires could develop due to old wiring in walls, frayed cords, or even busted appliances. The fires show up in either homes or industrial settings. The first step in putting out these fires is to try to disconnect the item or appliance from the power source (if it is safe). Then, professionals should try to extinguish the flames using carbon dioxide or dry powder. Do not try to use water to put out these fires as water conducts electricity and will only make it worse.
Finally, Class D fires are exceedingly rare, but involve the ignition of metal. Metals take a tremendous amount of heat to light up, so they usually happen in industrial settings or labs. While it is unlikely for anyone to run into this type of fire outside of a professional setting, they should be extinguished with dry powder. Water and foam extinguishers could increase the intensity of the flames and contribute to explosions.
Use the right type of equipment to put out these fires.