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The 6 types of fire extinguisher & when to use them

Posted on under Tips

All Australian workplaces must comply with the fire safety standards set out in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, with many states having their own additional regulations around fire safety and emergency training. Yet, according to research, only 13% of people know what class of extinguisher to use on what kind of fire.

In the following we set out the 6 basic types of extinguisher installed in industrial and commercial premises in Australia and the class of fire they can be used on. It is important to understand that using the wrong type of extinguisher on a fire can be highly dangerous.

Class A extinguishers are used on fires that involve paper, fabrics and textiles, wood-based products, plastics and rubber-based products.

Class B extinguishers are used on fires that started as a result of flammable or combustible liquids, such as chemical-based cleaning products, electrical contact cleaner and lubricants.

Class C extinguishers are used on fires started by flammable gases and can potentially extinguish the fire before pressure builds.

Class D extinguishers are used for fires started by combustible metals, such as sodium, potassium, uranium, lithium, plutonium and calcium, and are often used in laboratories. The most common Class D fires involve magnesium and titanium.

Class E extinguishers are used to stop fires in electrically energised equipment, including fires in equipment that requires electricity or a circuit to operate.

Class F extinguishers (fire blankets) help to control fires caused by cooking oils and fat-based products, such as could occur in a commercial kitchen.

To meet Australian Standards and workplace OH&S regulations, you must have the correct portable extinguishers installed in your workplace and personnel who are trained in their use. This training must be refreshed every two years.

One way to protect your business and employees against the risk of electrical fire is to ensure you adhere to a regular test-tagging schedule, where the safety of any electrical equipment is assessed by qualified electricians. If you work in a ‘high-risk operating environment’, such as a kitchen, warehouse or factory, you need to have your equipment test-tagged every 12 months.


To book your electrical equipment safety test, call the experts at Caslec on 1300 659 273 today.


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