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Type / Rating Mean on Fire Extinguisher

What Symbols Mean on Side of Fire Extinguishers


How to Know What Letters / Type / Rating Mean on Fire Extinguisherthumbnail
Know What Letters / Type / Rating Mean on Fire Extinguisher

Hi! All fire extinguishers have classification letters that show you what class (aka type or rating )fire they provide protection against. Nothing replaces training by a fire fighting professional so feel free to consult a pro for more comprehensive fire extinguishing advise. Please read on to learn how to Know What Letters / Type / Rating Mean on Fire Extinguisher

Moderately Easy


    • 1
      First, as mentioned above, please don't substitute this article for actual fire fighting training, consult a professional before engaging a real fire.
    • 2
      Second, understand that all fires and extinguishers as of Nov 2009 are classified as either A , B , C , D , or K. The classification or class noted on side of extinguisher indicates what type of fire that extinguisher can put out. Do not use a fire extinguisher for a classification of fire that it is not rated for. (ie don't use an A extinguisher for a D fire, etc)
    • 3
      Extinguishers with an A on the side can only fight fires from ordinary combustibles such as wood, fire, cloth and paper.
    • 4
      Extinguishers with an B on the side can only fight fires from flammable liquids such as certain paints, certain solvents, gasoline and oil (NOT fryers or commercial fryers though)
    • 5
      Extinguishers with an C on the side can only fight electrical fires such as power tools, fuse boxes, televisions, wires, your PC / computer, and electric powered mechanical devices/motors. (Again, get professional training before engaging any fire :-)
    • 6
      Extinguishers with an D on the side can only fight flammable metal fires. Combustible metals include magnesium or sodium. Class D fires require very, very detailed professional training. Class D extinguishers must also match the type of metal that is burning. Be sure the metal is also listed on the label before using.
    • 7
      Extinguishers with an K on the side can only fight fires that occur in professional kitchen equipment using cooking oils. A fryer is a good example.
    • 8
      Some extinguishers have multiple letters on the side such as A, B, C. This means that you can combat a ordinary combustible, flammable liquid and electrical fire with this extinguisher. Be sure NOT to use this extinguisher for any other letter such as D or K.


  1. Great post !This is the information I was looking for.

  2. A fire extinguisher can be a lifesaver. Placed near an exit, in an easy-to-grab spot, it can put out a small fire before the firefighters arrive, or at least suppress the flames while you escape.