Should I have a Fire Extinguisher? What type should I buy?

The answer is yes.  All homes should have at the least 1 Fire Extinguisher. Normally a A – B – C

The United States has 5 Classes of Fire Extinguisher A – B – C – D – K

Types of extinguishing agents

    1. Dry chemical – This is a powder based agent that extinguishes by separating the four parts of the fire tetrahedron. It prevents the chemical reactions involving heat, fuel, and oxygen and halts the production of fire sustaining “free-radicals”, thus extinguishing the fire.
    2. Foams – Applied to fuel fires as either an aspirated (mixed and expanded with air in a branch pipe) or non aspirated to form a frothy blanket or seal over the fuel, preventing oxygen reaching it. Unlike powder, foam can be used to progressively extinguish fires without flashback.
    3. Water – Cools burning material. Very effective against fires in furniture, fabrics, etc. (including deep seated fires), and can be safely used only in the absence of electricity.
    4. Clean agents and carbon dioxide – Agent displaces oxygen (CO2 or inert gases), removes heat from the combustion zone or inhibits chemical chain reaction. They are labelled clean agents because they do not leave any residue after discharge which is ideal for sensitive electronics and documents.
    5. Class D – There are several class D fire extinguisher agents available; some will handle multiple types of metals, others will not.

Maintenance – All need fire extinguisher maintenance of some sort. can be a simple as checking pressure gauge on the valve.

  • Water – annually (some states) or 5 years (NFPA 10, 2010 edition)
  • Wet chemical, and CO2 – every 5 years
  • Dry chemical and dry powder- every 6 years
  • Halon and clean agents – every 6 years.
  • Cartridge-operated dry chemical or dry powder – annually
  • Stored-pressure dry chemical mounted on vehicles – annually
  • Hydrostatic testing: Water, foam, wet chemical, and CO2, every 5 years. Dry chemical, dry powder, halon, and clean agents, every 12 years.

What type of fire extinguisher should I have?

Class A – Fire from wood, paper, cloth, plastics. This would work well next to a Fireplace or Firepit.

Class B – Fire from combustible gas or liquid. Propane, gasoline, ethanol or butane. This would work for a garage, shed or workshop where flammable gasses and liquids are stored.


Class D – Not normally used in a home. Found more in laboratories, businesses and factories.

Class K – Kitchen grease fires. Placed close to cooking areas in the Kitchen.

Class ABC – Can be used on Drys, Fuels and Electrical. This is The best choice for most home use. Have one in every room and on every floor.