How To Size Your Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is an essential piece of equipment for any business. It can help you put out a small fire before it becomes a significant disaster. But how do you know what size fire extinguisher to buy? This blog post will discuss the different factors that you need to consider when sizing your fire extinguisher.

5 Classes Of Fires And The Extinguishers

This section explains the different classes and the kinds of fires they’re suitable for:

  • A – Common combustibles include cloth, wood, paper, rubber, cardboard, and certain types of plastics.
  • B – Lighters and other flammable items are also present, so these fires need a foam barrier to be put out.
  • C – This can include everything from electrical equipment such as an electrical panel, wiring, and motors to simply the wires themselves.
  • D – All metals, including synthetics and alloys, that are combustible.
  • K – This chemical is used in commercial kitchens to combat fires involving cooking oils and animal fats.

Fire Extinguisher Size Ratings

You can measure the capacity of a fire extinguisher in gallons. A “Class A” fire involves combustibles, such as an office or factory. The rating determines how much water it can put out. For Class A fires, the rating is measured in integers from 1 to 40. Class B fires are measured in integers from 1 to 640. The higher the values, the larger the fire that can be put out.

Class A Size Ratings – Water Equivalency 

The Class A Size ratings on the extinguishers tell us how much water the extinguishing agent in the canister is equivalent to, which usually ranges from 1 to 40. The equivalent of 1 and 1/4 gallons of water gets a 1A rating, while a 2A rating implies that the extinguishing substance involves 2 and 3/4 gallons of water; and so on.

Class B Size Ratings – Range in Square Footage

On the other hand, Class B ratings tell us how big an area the fire extinguisher may cover, ranging from 1 to 160 square feet. A 20B rating indicates that you can extinguish a fire with up to 20 square feet of surface area, while a 100B rating suggests the capability of extinguishing a fire covering 100 square feet; and so on.

Size of the Room and Fuel Load

Do you have a modest-sized room with minimal combustible materials or a central warehouse or business location where the fuel load is more significant, and a fire has more area to spread? The difference between a 5-lb extinguisher and a 30-lb extinguisher depends on the room size and fuel load.

Capabilities of Employees

A large, high-capacity fire extinguisher is useless unless your staff is physically capable of lifting and operating it. If your extinguisher is too heavy or bulky, depending on the abilities of the average employee, you could be creating a hazardous situation. Most non-disabled individuals will probably have no trouble utilizing a 5-pound fire extinguisher as a general rule. However, using anything heavier than 5 pounds may become more complex for some people.

When purchasing a fire extinguisher for your home, business, apartment, restaurant, warehouse, or other location, it’s essential to think about the size of the unit. There are numerous variables to consider in each scenario, and we hope this post assists you in making your selections.

Need some help finding the right fire extinguisher? Contact Fire-Alert today to discuss your needs!