What type of fire can be put out with water? In order to know the type of fire you can put out with water, it is important to know the different types of fires.
There are five types of fire and they’re classified according to what fuels them. Extinguishing a fire successfully depends on the fuel. A fire needs fuel, oxygen, and heat and to effectively extinguish a fire, you need to remove one of these elements. A life-saving knowledge is when you know the difference between fires and how to put them off.
So, what are the types of fires and what type of fire can be put out with water?
Fires are classified as Class A, B, C, D, and K and each type of fire involves a different flammable material and a special approach to extinguish it safely.
Trying to put out a fire with the wrong method can be dangerous and make the situation worse.
Table of Contents
Types of Fires
There are five main types of fires i.e. Class A fires, Class B fires, Class C fires, Class D fires, and Class K fires.
Class A Fires
Class A fires are the most common types of fire and ones you are most likely to be familiar with. Class A fires involve solid material like wood, plastic, paper, and clothing. They are caused unintentionally by accidents such as knocking over a candle to lightning striking a tree.
Fortunately, Class A fires are the easiest type of fires to put out and you can use water or foam extinguisher to put it out.
Class B Fires
This type of fire involves flammable liquids or gases like alcohol, petroleum grease, paint, propane, or gasoline. It is important to note that despite involving liquids this classification does not include fires involving cooking oils or grease.
Class B fires might happen anywhere ignitable liquids or gases are stored or used. It is very important not to use water to put out these types of fires as water can make the fire spread more thus making it worse.
Class B fires must be put out with powder, foam, or carbon dioxide extinguishers – these types of extinguishers will cut off the fire’s oxygen supply.
Class C Fires
These types of fires involve electricity and can be started by old wiring, frayed electrical cords, faulty appliances, or worn-out breaker boxes.
Class C fires are very common in homes and industrial settings. If you notice an electrical fire, you must try to disconnect the appliance if it’s safe to do so. Make sure you use a powder or carbon dioxide extinguisher to put these types of fires out.
Never you use water or foam as they are both electrical conductors and can make the situation even more dangerous.
When the power supply is cut off, Class C fires can become an entirely different type of fire possibly Class A because the electrical component has been removed.
Class D Fires
These types of fires are very rare and occur when metal ignites. Class D fires are rare because most metals need high temperatures to ignite but alkali metals like aluminum, potassium, and magnesium can ignite only when exposed to air or water.
Never use water on Class D fires but instead use a dry powder extinguisher. The powder extinguishers work on metal fires by dividing the fuel from oxygen or by removing the heat element of the blaze.
Class K Fires
Class K fires are fires that involve cooking liquids and fats and sometimes can be grouped together with Class B fires. Class K fires have high flash points and usually occur when pans are left unattended on a stove.
Just as you shouldn’t use water to extinguish a Class B fire, you shouldn’t use water to extinguish a Class K fire too because putting out a cooking oil fire with water is likely to create a dangerous splatter effect and spread the flames. Instead, use a wet chemical extinguisher.
What if I can’t extinguish a fire?
If you try to extinguish a fire but can’t you should evacuate immediately. According to research, it can take only thirty seconds for a small flame to turn into a major blaze.
In the event of a fire, it is advisable to leave the area or building as quickly as possible after yelling to alert nearby neighbors.
Always use the stairs rather than elevators, stay low to the ground, and use the back of your hand to feel if closed doors are warm to the touch, as you should never open doors that don’t feel cool.
Call your local emergency number as soon as it is safe to do so. Also, if your clothes are on fire, it’s best if you drop to the ground and cover your face before rolling back and forth until the flames go out.
What are the different types of fire extinguishers?
Just as there’re different types of fires, there are different types of fire extinguishers and they are:
- Class A extinguishers – which are used to put out common flammable materials like wood and paper.
- Class B extinguishers – which are used to put out fires caused by grease, oils, and gasoline.
- Class C extinguishers – which are used to extinguish electrical fires
- Class D extinguisher – which are for flammable metals.
The materials in these fire extinguishers that put the fires out are either water, foam, dry powder, or carbon dioxide.
Water extinguishers work by removing the heat element and spray water propelled by air onto the flames. Carbon dioxide extinguishers contain a mix of gaseous and liquid carbon dioxide stored at high pressure and when released, it smothers the oxygen, starving the fire.
Dry powder and foam extinguishers are either filled with powder or foam and are propelled by compressed nitrogen and smother the fire by depriving it of oxygen from the surrounding air.
People at home can buy multipurpose extinguishers that can put out common household fires while people who own industrial or commercial properties can buy extinguishers that can effectively put out any type of fire expected in that environment.
How to safely put out fires?
It is important to know how to put out fires should you encounter any of the different types of fires.
To put out a gas fire, never use water but you can use a blanket, this can smother the flames. You can also use a foam or powder extinguisher to put out a gas fire.
To put out a chemical fire, never use water as the water can spread the chemicals further but instead use foam or dry powder to extinguish the fire.
To put out a gasoline fire, you’ll need a foam or powder extinguisher. You can also use wet rags or sand if you can, to smother the fire but this will be effective if the amount of gasoline is small.
To put out an electrical fire, unplug the electrical appliance if it is safe to do so and then turn off the power if possible. Use a multipurpose extinguisher or use a blanket to smother the flames. Baking soda can also be used to smother the flames if it is used on small electrical fires. Never use water to extinguish an electrical fire.
To put out an alcohol fire, use a carbon dioxide extinguisher or cover it with something non-flammable and heat-resistant.
To put out an oven fire, close the oven door and turn it off. If flames still come out of the oven, you can use a multipurpose extinguisher or throw baking soda on the flames to smother it.
By getting to the conclusion, I’m sure you must have come across what type of fire can be put out with water. Class A fires are the only type of fire that can be put out with water because they involve solid materials like wood, plastic, paper, and clothing.
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