Fire Safety Tips

Fire Extinguisher DemonstrationWhen to Leave the Area


  • Your path of escape is threatened
  • The extinguisher runs out of agent
  • The extinguisher proves to be ineffective
  • You will no longer be able to safely fight the fire

When Not to Fight a Fire

  • If the fire is spreading beyond the spot where it started
  • If you can't fight the fire with your back to an escape exit
  • If the fire can block your only escape

What To Do If Someone Catches On Fire

  • Stop where you are
  • Drop to the floor
  • Roll around on the floor

This will smother the flames. If another person catches on fire, smother flames by grabbing a blanket or rug and wrapping them up in it. Never run if you are on fire.

Fire Classifications

  • Class A: Ordinary combustibles or fibrous material such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and some plastics
  • Class B: Flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, paint, paint thinners, and propane
  • Class C: Energized electrical equipment such as appliances, switches, panel boxes, and power tools
  • Class D: Metals such as titanium, magnesium, and sodium (burn without the presence of oxygen)
  • Class K: Commercial cooking equipment that uses cooking oils or fats

Extinguishing FireTypes of Fire Extinguishers & How to Dispose of Them

Never throw fire extinguishers in the trash. Contact the City Solid Waste and Recycling Department to arrange for pickup of extinguishers.

  • ABC-rated multipurpose dry powder extinguishers are most common. These extinguishers are very light. Halon extinguishers look virtually identical to ABC multipurpose dry chemical extinguishers.
  • Water extinguishers are not often used in a commercial setting and are usually silver (chrome metal) and have a flat bottom.
  • Foam extinguishers look similar and the type without gauges have a handle inset in the flat bottom (you turn the extinguisher upside down to start it and use it).
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are generally red, or yellow around aircraft or on military sites, and are very heavy. Some CO2 extinguishers for aircraft hangers or special industrial use are so large as to require roll-around carts to move them. These are all high-pressure cylinders.
  • Class D fire extinguishers are often yellow and look similar to an ABC fire extinguisher.
  • Class K fire extinguishers are wet chemical extinguishers.

How to Extinguish Small Fires

To operate a fire extinguisher, first pull the pin. Then, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire and squeeze the handle. Sweep the nozzle side to side to extinguish along the base of a fire. Follow these guidelines to use the correct extinguisher for the classification of fire:

  • Class A: Extinguish ordinary combustibles by cooling the material below its ignition temperature and soaking the fibers to prevent re-ignition. Use pressurized water, foam or multi-purpose (ABC-rated) dry chemical extinguishers. Do not use carbon dioxide or ordinary (BC-rated) dry chemical extinguishers on Class A fires.
  • Class B: Extinguish flammable liquids, greases, or gases by removing the oxygen, preventing the vapors from reaching the ignition source, or by inhibiting the chemical chain reaction. Foam, carbon dioxide, ordinary (BC-rated) dry chemical, multi-purpose dry chemical, and halon extinguishers may be used to fight Class B fires.
  • Class C: Extinguish energized electrical equipment by using an extinguishing agent that is not capable of conducting electrical currents. Carbon dioxide, ordinary (BC-rated) dry chemical, multi-purpose dry chemical and halon fire extinguishers may be used to fight Class C fires. Do not use water extinguishers on energized electrical equipment.
  • Class D: Extinguish combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, potassium, and sodium with dry powder extinguishing agents specially designated for the material involved. In most cases, they absorb the heat from the material, cooling it below its ignition temperature.
  • Class K: Extinguish commercial cooking equipment with wet chemical extinguishing agents specially designated for the material involved.