Different Types of Fire Extinguishers


Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs Singapore, the total number of fires SCDF has had to respond to in 2017 was 3,871, a six per cent fall from the previous year. Despite the huge improvement in fire safety situation in Singapore, we must not and cannot be satisfied even with where we are now. With every fire, there is a risk – to property, to lives, to yourselves. The extent of damage that the fire causes depends on how ready we are.

Singapore Fire Protection would like to share with the basic knowledge of fire safety and the different types of fire extinguishers which suitable for each fire situation. Allowing the public to gain extensive learning on fire safety measure to save lives and protect yourself for any unfortunate fire events in the future.


Without further ado, let's begin!


Everyone knows that their workplace is required to have fire extinguisher(s), and everyone should know where the nearest one is located at. However, most individuals do not realize that a single fire extinguisher does not work on all types of fire. There are many different types, or classes, of fire extinguishers just as there are many different classes of fire. To achieve true safety for your place of work, you need to ensure that you have the proper extinguisher installed relevant for the potential fire hazards for your building.


Prior to learning the different types of fire extinguishers, we must first understand the different classes of fire.



Fires must be fought carefully depending on the materials involved. That is why they have been classified into 6 different categories:


·       Class A – Fires that involve solid or organic materials, such as wood, plastics, paper, textiles, or coal.


·       Class B – Fires that involve flammable liquids, such as gasoline, petroleum oil, paint, or diesel.


·       Class C – Fires that involve flammable gases, such as propane, butane, or methane.


·       Class D – Fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, lithium, sodium, potassium, titanium, or aluminium.


·       Class F – Fires that involve cooking oils and fats, such as vegetable oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, lard, or butter (typically those used for deep-fryers).


Each type of fire extinguisher is ergonomically designed for the safe and effective discharge of its contents. They each contain different materials that make them suitable for fighting certain types of fires. Thus, using the correct fire extinguishers for the right classes of fire is incredibly important. Otherwise, these fire extinguishers may prove to be ineffective or may even aggravate the fire. 


After understanding the different classes of fire, we shall now look at the different types of fire extinguishers!



1. Water

These types of fire extinguishers will be solid red and will have the word ‘water’ printed across them in white text. Thus, water fire extinguishers have a class A rating and are suitable for fighting fires involving solid combustibles such as wood, paper and textiles.

NOTE: For water extinguishers, do not use on burning fat or oil fires and electrical appliances! It would only aggravate the fire!


2. Foam

Foam fire extinguishers are highly effective on class A and class B fires (the foaming agent helps to prevent re-ignition). Some foam extinguishers have been dielectrically tested to 35000 Volt (35kV) and can be used on or near electrical appliances.


3. Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

CO2 fire extinguishers were originally designed for use on flammable liquid fires and therefore have a class B fire rating. Hence, they are ideal for electrical fires, as CO2 is not a conductor and they do not leave behind any harmful residue.


4. Powder

Powder fire extinguishers are extremely versatile and can be used on class A, class B, class C and electrical fires. However, they are not recommended for use in enclosed spaces. This is because the powder can be easily inhaled, and also the residue is very difficult to clean up after. ABC powder extinguishers can also be used on some electrical fires. Specialist dry powder extinguishers are used for flammable metals.


5. Wet Chemical

Wet chemical extinguishers are designed for use on Class F fires, involving cooking oils and fats.  They can also be used on Class A fires although it is more usual to have a foam or water extinguisher for this type of fire risk.

Hence, Singapore Fire Protection hope that this guide would help you identify and use the right fire extinguisher for the correct fire events.


Interested in getting some fire safety devices and extinguishers for your home or workplace?

Do contact us at:

Tel: +65 61004252

Email: sales@singaporefireprotection.com