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Types of Fires

The classification of the fire relates to the fire’s fuel and what is burning, as follows:

  • CLASS A - Fires that involve ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, rubber, textiles, and many plastics.
  • CLASS B - Fires that involve flammable liquids such as grease, oil, paint, lacquers, some plastics, and gasoline.
  • CLASS C - Fires that involve energized electrical equipment such as appliances, televisions, radios, computer equipment, wiring, circuit breakers, or fuse boxes.

Multi-purpose "ABC" dry chemical extinguishers are supplied by the building to handle all classes of office fires. These chemical-based extinguishers can cause damage to electronic equipment. A fire in electronic equipment rooms will always require the use of an "ABC" rated fire extinguisher: "A" because there is likely to be paper nearby, "B" because there may be oil or grease involved, and "C" because it is electrical equipment.

Arrangements with the Management Office should be made to protect areas such as computer rooms, mailrooms, and duplicating and storage areas with fire rated enclosures and fire extinguishers. Depending on the size and value of these areas, additional smoke detectors or automatic extinguishing systems are recommended.

Portable Fire Extinguisher Operation

Portable fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or suppressing it until the Fire Department arrives; however, portable extinguishers have limitations. They are not designed to fight large or fast-spreading fires. Most portable extinguishers have a short range (6-10 feet) and completely discharge in a very short time (8-10 seconds). As a general rule, fire fighting should be left to the Fire Department, who should be called in the event of any building fire.

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