What is a Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher?

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Fire extinguisher
Fire extinguisher (Image: fire extinguisher image by Goran Bogicevic from Fotolia.com)

In the event of a fire, a fire extinguisher can provide the extra time needed for household members to escape to safety. A dry chemical fire extinguisher is a good choice for the home because it is a multipurpose extinguisher.

Fire Extinguisher Categories

Fire extinguishers are rated for different types of fires using standards created by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Class A fires are fueled by ordinary combustibles: materials made from paper, wood and some plastics. Class B fires are made up of combustible liquids: paint thinner, gasoline, flammable liquids, grease and oil. Class C fires originate with electrical equipment. Electrical outlets, circuit breakers and appliances.

Labels identify the type of fire rated for the extinguisher.
Labels identify the type of fire rated for the extinguisher. (Image: fire extinguisher image by Chris Roselli from Fotolia.com)

Dry Chemical Rating

Dry chemical fire extinguishers are rated for either Class ABC or Class BC fires making them an ideal choice for the home. Fire safety experts recommend a fire extinguisher be kept where fires are most likely to start, such as the kitchen and garage.

Fire Fighting Ingredients

The Class ABC rated dry chemical fire extinguisher contains ammonium phosphate. The Class BC dry chemical fire extinguisher contains sodium or potassium bicarbonate. These ingredients leave a non-flammable coating on the extinguished fire, reducing the possibility of the fire reigniting.

Use

The NFPA recommends using the PASS code to operate a fire extinguisher, regardless of type: Pull the pin. Aim low. Squeeze the lever. Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Warning

A dry chemical fire extinguisher is just one part of a fire safety plan. Every home should have smoke detectors, a fire escape plan and multipurpose fire extinguishers to insure everyone can escape a fire safely.

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