What are the Types of Fires and the Categories of Fire Extinguishers


The discovery and use of Fire is the considered the most important event in the history of ancient man, but fires are dangerous as well, and can result in a great loss of life and property. To be able to fight fires effectively, it is important for us to know that there are four different types of fires that need to be dealt with in different ways.

Similarly, different types of Fire Extinguishers are to be used against specific types of fires, and may not have any effect on fires that they are not meant to be used for.


The following are the different types of Fires:

  • Class ‘A’ Fires

These are fires involving combustible material such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber, or plastic, and require the heat absorbing effects of water, and water based solutions.


  • Class ‘B’ Fires

This type of fire involves flammable or combustible liquids greases, petroleum products and similar materials; for their extinction, a blanketing effect is essential.


  • Class ‘C’ Fires

These are fire which involves flammable gases, and substances under pressure including liquefied gasses. Here it is necessary to dilute the burning gasses at a very fast rate with an Inert Gas , Dry Chemical Powder or CO2.


  • Class ‘D’ Fires

These are fires involving combustible metals such as Sodium, Magnesium, Zinc, or Potassium. These burning metals react with water and water containing agents. These fires require special media to extinguish them such as Carbon Dioxide, and special Dry Chemical Powder.


The utilities of commonly used fire extinguishers are given below:

Sr. No.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Class of Fire





1 Water (Gas Cartridge) S NS NS NS
2 Water (stored pressure) S NS NS NS
3 Mechanical Foam U S NS NS
4 Dry chemical powder Gas cartridge) U S S NS*
5 Dry chemical powder (metal type) S S S NS
6 Carbon di-oxide U S S NS
7 Halon U S S NS


Key Explanation
S Suitable
NS Not suitable
U Can be used in case of emergency but not much effective
* Special dry powder can be used


Fixed fire fighting equipments

The Fire Alarm system consists of smoke/heat detectors, hooters, manual call points, and a Fire Monitor Panel.


Smoke/Heat Detectors: Smoke/Heat detectors are a sensitive instrument used in detecting the initial stages of a fire. It raises an alarm as soon as it comes into contact with smoke/ heat. These detectors should be installed in each room and corridor. They should be fitted in the false ceiling, facing downward.


Hooters: A hooter creates a loud warning sound to alert members of the staff in the premises as well as neighbours about a fire. Hooters should be installed at the main entrance to the premises and in each zone. They should be fitted at the top of the walls. Manual Call Point : A manual call point enables anyone who detects a fire to raise the alarm in case the smoke/heat detectors do not activate the hooter. Anyone who detects a fire should break the glass at the manual control point. This causes the alarm button to come outward and the hooter to turn on. Manual control points should be installed in each zone in the premises. They should be fitted on the wall close to the exit in each zone.


Fire Monitor Panel: The fire monitor panel shows the broad location of any fire in the premises. It also helps in testing the electronic fire equipment installed at the site. It should be installed close to the main Security Guard post or at a point where it can be seen by most of the members of the staff.


Types of Fire Safety Equipment

Types of Fire Safety Equipment


By educating yourself about different fires and equipment you can stay prepared in times of any fire emergency.



 This information has been obtained from the website of the Maharashtra Fire Services – www.mahafireservice.gov.in