Friday,

6 Different Types of Fire and How to Put Them Out

According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), fire departments respond to an average of 346,800 home fires each year. While that number has constantly decreased since the 1970s, home fires still put families at risk.

While they all burn, fires don’t burn the same way. So, experts classified fires based on what causes them. 

Knowing the different types of fire allows you to put them out the right way. In this post, we’ll talk about the different types of fire, what causes them, and how you can put them out. 

Why Fire Classes Are Important

Fire classes describe the cause of the fire, how quickly it burns, and how dangerous it is. Hence, knowing the fire class will tell you how to put it out. 

Knowing the different types of fire also helps you pick the right fire extinguisher type to use. Fire extinguishers work differently, so you should know what fire classes each one puts out. 

Here’s a chart summarizing the different types of fire extinguishers and the fire classes they put out:

  Water Water Mist Wet Chemical Powder Foam Carbon Dioxide
Class A
Class B
Class C
Class D
Class F
Electrical


Different Types of Fire

Here are the different fire classes and how to put them out: 

Class A Fire

class a fire

Class A fires are the most common type of fire. Solid materials such as paper, wood, plastic, or clothing cause them. 

Technically, you start a Class A fire when lighting a match or starting a bonfire. In this case, the fire is intentional, so it won’t likely cause damage.

On the other hand, an accidental Class A fire includes knocking over a candle or leaving burning trash unattended. Unintentional Class A fires cause damage. 

How to Put Out a Class A Fire

Fortunately, you can put out Class A fires using most fire extinguishers: water, water mist, wet chemical, powder, and foam. Hence, class A fires are the easiest to put out. 

However, experts recommend using a water or foam fire extinguisher on a Class A fire. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher at home, you can use a fire spray or water to put out the fire.

Class B Fire

class b fire

Flammable liquids (e.g., alcohol, paint, petroleum grease) cause Class B fires. 

However, this type of fire doesn’t involve cooking oils or regular grease. There’s a different fire class for that, which we’ll talk about later. 

How to Put Out a Class B Fire

Water can spread flammable liquids, so you should never use a water extinguisher on a Class B fire. 

Instead, you should use water mist, foam, powder, or carbon dioxide fire extinguishers. They work by cutting off the fire's oxygen supply. However, experts mostly recommend using foam fire extinguishers because they cut off the oxygen supply and smother the flames. 

Class C Fire

class c fire

Flammable gases such as methane, butane, and propane cause Class C fires. 

A Class C fire starts when a combustible gas ignites or meets naked flame. So, you should take extra care when dealing with this type of fire because it might explode. 

How to Put Out a Class C Fire

Since gases can explode, you must first turn off the gas supply if possible. Then, use a powder fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Remember, this is the only type you should use because the others can make Class C fires worse.

Class D Fire

class d fire

Metals cause Class D fires. However, you need extremely high temperatures to ignite metals. Hence, Class D fires are the least of your worries at home. 

This fire class usually occurs in laboratories and factories dealing with metal. Alkali metals like magnesium, potassium, aluminum, and sodium frequently cause Class D fires.

How to Put Out a Class D Fire

You can only use dry powder extinguishers to put out Class D fires. They work by separating the fuel from oxygen or reducing heat. Foam or water extinguishers can increase the flames and lead to explosions, so you shouldn't use them on Class D fires. 

Class F Fire

class f fire

Common in both commercial and home kitchens, cooking oil, fat, or grease cause Class F fires. Also known as Class K fires, they can quickly spread, making them difficult to manage. 

In addition, Class K fires are one of the most dangerous types of fire. Water can worsen the situation, so you shouldn't pour it into a kitchen fire at all costs. 

How to Put Out a Class F Fire

You can only use wet chemical fire extinguishers to put out Class F fires. These extinguishers layer the oil and seal it. As a result, they quench the flames and prevent the fire from reigniting.

Electrical Fire

electrical fire

As the term implies, this fire type involves electrical equipment. Electrical fires start with old wiring, faulty appliances, frayed electrical cords, or old breakers.

Electrical fires frequently happen in homes and industrial buildings. You should never use water to put out an electrical fire because it conducts electricity.

How to Put Out an Electrical Fire

When an electrical fire starts at your home, turn off the power source if possible. Then, use a water mist, powder, or carbon dioxide extinguisher to put out the fire.

While many say that you can’t use a water mist extinguisher against an electrical fire, you actually can. The mist creates steam, which is safe to use on electrical equipment. 

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher to Put Out Different Types of Fire

pass method

Fire extinguishers have different instructions for use. However, you likely won't have time to read them when a fire breaks out.

In this case, you can use the general PASS method, which stands for pass, aim, squeeze, and sweep. 

The PASS Method

1. Pull

First, pull the pin from the fire extinguisher. The tamper seal will break once you remove the pin. 

2. Aim

Next, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Don’t aim it at the flames.

3. Squeeze

Slowly squeeze the handle until the fire extinguisher works. 

4. Sweep

Lastly, sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the fire. Continue doing this until you put out the fire. If the fire reignites, repeat steps two to four.

Hero Fire Spray

While fire extinguishers help, they can be expensive, heavy, and hard to store. The residue from the fire extinguisher may also be hard to clean up. 

Use a fire spray if you want a more affordable, lightweight, and convenient way to put out a fire in seconds.

Prepared Hero’s fire spray is an easy-to-use, NSF-certified alternative to fire extinguishers. 

Hero Fire Spray will help you deal with minor fire accidents and stop them before they turn into bigger disasters. 

Plus, Prepared Hero’s fire spray is biodegradable and non-toxic. Unlike a fire extinguisher, you can safely use it around your family and pets. They’re also eco-friendly, so you’re taking part in saving the environment.

Lastly, Prepared Hero’s fire spray is made in the US, so we guarantee its quality and can arrive at your doorstep fast. 

Here’s a table summarizing the differences between Prepared Hero’s fire spray and a regular fire extinguisher:

Prepared Hero’s Fire Spray  Regular Fire Extinguisher
Lightweight, easy to carry Heavy, hard to carry
Easy to store Needs more space for storage
100% biodegradable Mostly made of non-biodegradable materials
Non-toxic Toxic
Easy to clean Hard to clean
Safe for kids and pets Not safe for kids and pets

What to Do When You Can’t Extinguish a Fire

stop drop roll technique

The Department of Homeland Security states that a small flame can become a big fire in just 30 seconds.

So if you don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher or the fire’s too big to put out, leave your house or building as quickly as possible. At the same time, shout to inform people nearby about the fire.

If you live in a building with an elevator, don’t use it. Instead, use the stairs and stay low to the ground. 

You should also use the back of your hand to touch closed doors. If they feel warm, don’t open them. Next, call 911 or your local emergency number as soon as it’s safe. 

If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop, and roll.

1. Stop

Stop running when your clothes catch fire. Running will supply more oxygen to the fire and make your clothes burn faster. 

2. Drop

Drop to the floor and lie down. Doing so will stop the flames from moving up your body and burning your face and head. 

3. Roll

After lying down, put your hands over your face. Roll back and forth to put out the flames. If someone else is with you, they can use a fire blanket to put out the flames. 

Using an Emergency Fire Blanket

While the stop, drop, and roll technique helps, it doesn’t work all the time. But you can quickly save someone who caught on fire with a fire blanket. 

Since oxygen keeps the fire burning on your clothes, using a fire blanket is the easiest and most effective way to put out the fire.

Prepared Hero’s emergency fire blanket is a fast-acting, easy-to-use blanket that puts out a fire in seconds. 

Having a fire blanket keeps you and your family safe. Just pull the quick-release tabs and toss the blanket over the fire. Doing so prevents the fire from burning your loved one. 

If you want a fire blanket patterned after the American flag, check out our Hero Fire Blanket.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 most common types of fire?

The 4 most common types of fire are kitchen fires, electrical fires, heater fires, and smoke-related fires.

What are the 6 types of fire?

The 6 types of fire are:

  1. Class A (solid materials)
  2. Class B (flammable liquids)
  3. Class C (combustible gasses)
  4. Class D (flammable metals)
  5. Class F (cooking oil or grease)
  6. Electrical Fires

What are the 3 main sources of fire?

The 3 main sources of fire are fuel, oxygen, and heat. They’re also called the "fire triangle." Take any of these main sources away, and you’ll successfully put out a fire. 

What are the 5 main classes of fire?

The 5 main classes of fire are:

  1. Class A (solid materials)
  2. Class B (flammable liquids)
  3. Class C (combustible gasses)
  4. Class D (flammable metals)
  5. Class F (cooking oil or grease)

Conclusion

types of fire

Fires can injure and kill people. They can also destroy your house and damage your appliances. Hence, preventing fires is the best way to keep your family and home safe. 

A fire kit with an emergency fire blanket, fire spray, fire protection gloves, and a smoke mask helps you prevent fire.

But of course, you should also have a plan once a fire breaks out at your home. 

Part of this plan is knowing the type of fire you're dealing with. Print or bookmark this guide and start planning now. Stay safe!