Many people think that when a small emergency fire breaks out, you can point any random fire extinguisher at it and solve the problem.  But different types of materials burn in different ways and therefore might need a special type of extinguisher.  Luckily, fire extinguisher suppliers like Gateway Fire Supplies provide information on the five different types of fires.

The first type of fire burns materials such as wood and paper.  These are called class A fires.  Most burning trash is also included in this category, as well as most plastics and rubber.

The second type of fire is class B, and it includes liquids.  Class B liquids that can catch fire are oils, tars, petroleum grease, solvents, and some paints.

Class C fires involve electricity.  If a power cable overheats or an appliance short circuits, you have a class C fire and need to make sure your extinguisher covers this type of problem.

Most A, B, and C class fires can be put out with the same type of extinguisher.  You will see find the extinguisher is labeled by class, such as a 5lb Buckeye ABC fire extinguisher.

Class D fires deal with metals.  You would think all metals are fire-proof but magnesium, sodium, and potassium are flammable.  Naturally, these types of fires are most likely to be found in an industrial setting.

Similar to class B fires, cooking liquids that catch fire are class K fires.  Vegetable oils, animal oils, and fats comprise class K fires.