Home Security

What Do The Symbols On A Fire Extinguisher Indicate? A, B, C, D & K Explained

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Four red fire extinguishers with symbols and instructions.
These four fire extinguishers have different symbols and instructions on them. In the event of a fire, you won’t have time to figure it all out. We explain these symbols so you can be prepared.

What Do The Different Symbols On A Fire Extinguisher Indicate?

Fire extinguishers are essential and potentially lifesaving devices, and having one on hand will give you extra peace of mind if a fire breaks out. However, if the time comes and you need to use a fire extinguisher, you might need help if you have the wrong type.

Understanding the symbols on a fire extinguisher can help you in the future and eliminate any worries over being unprepared in an emergency. We’ll also explain the differences between the different types of fire extinguishers on the market.

Why Do Fire Extinguishers Have Symbols?

Fire extinguishers have two main symbols to help you identify the type. Your fire extinguisher will have two unique identifiers: a letter and a corresponding symbol. These labels help you determine your fire extinguisher’s effectiveness with specific types of fires to ensure that you know which extinguisher to use and why.

Know The 5 Categories Of Symbols: A, B, C, D, and K

You can understand these letters and symbols in five categories: A, B, C, D, and K. Here’s what each letter means, the purpose of extinguishers for each letter, and the corresponding symbols you’ll find on the extinguisher.

Type A Fire Extinguishers: Common Combustibles

Green symbol on a type A fire extinguisher. Ordinary combustibles class (wood, paper, cloth, etc.)
You’ll see this green symbol on a type A fire extinguisher. Ordinary combustibles class (wood, paper, cloth, etc.)

A fire extinguisher with the letter “A” indicates that you should use this device on fires involving paper, wood, rubber, fabrics, plastics, trash, and other ordinary combustible materials. Along with the “A” label, these fire extinguishers will show a burning trash can placed next to a burning woodpile.

Type B Fire Extinguishers: Gases and Flammable Liquids

Red symbol on a type B fire extinguisher. Flammable liquids class (grease, oil, paint, solvents, etc.)
You’ll see this red symbol on a type B fire extinguisher. Flammable liquids class (grease, oil, paint, solvents, etc.)

Fire extinguishers with a “B” label are only used for fires caused by gases, paints, oils, tar, lacquer, or other flammable liquids. Accompanying the “B” label is a symbol where you will find a gas canister on top of a roaring fire.

Typer C Fire Extinguishers: Live Electrical Equipment

Blue symbol on a type C fire extinguisher. Live electrical equipment class (electrical panel, motor, wiring, etc.).
You’ll see this blue symbol on a type C fire extinguisher. Live electrical equipment class (electrical panel, motor, wiring, etc.).

Fire extinguishers with a “C” label indicate that you should use the device to prevent electrical fires. Any fires that involve live electrical equipment require a type “C” extinguisher, also identifiable by the corresponding symbol of a cord and electrical outlet with flames in the background.

Type D Fire Extinguishers: Combustible Metals

Yellow symbol on a type D fire extinguisher. Combustible metal class (magnesium, aluminum, etc.).
You’ll see this yellow symbol on a type D fire extinguisher. Combustible metal class (magnesium, aluminum, etc.).

Type D fires occur when the flames originate from a combustible metal or metal alloy. Extinguishers for type D fires are indicated by a symbol of the letter “D” inside of a star. These extinguishers contain special agents to put out the fire, unique from other extinguisher types.

Type K Fire Extinguishers: Fires in Cooking Appliances

Black symbol on a type K fire extinguisher. Commercial cooking equipment class (cooking oils, animal fats, and vegetable oils).
You’ll see this black symbol on a type K fire extinguisher. Commercial cooking equipment class (cooking oils, animal fats, and vegetable oils).

Type K fire extinguishers are for fires originating from cooking appliances with combustible items like oils, deep fryers, fats, and animal or vegetable oil. They are identified by a “K” label and a symbol of a kitchen pan with a fire inside.

Make Sure You Have The Right Type Of Extinguisher

The ultimate goal of any fire extinguisher is to put out the fire. As you can probably guess now that you’re familiar with the symbols, having the right extinguisher is key for putting out different types of fires.

When you’re selecting a fire extinguisher for your home, make sure you look at the symbols to identify each type and make a confident decision to help you in future emergencies. If you aren’t sure about which fire extinguisher is the best to buy, check out our list of the best fire extinguishers for your home.

Be Prepared With A Fire Safety Plan

In addition to having the right fire extinguisher ready, you’ll want a fire safety plan in the event of a fire. Our experts have created a sample fire safety plan for you, and also explain the top 5 potential fire safety hazards in your home.

Last but not least, it can’t hurt to have a fire escape ladder handy if you live in a multi-story home or high-rise building. We pick out the best ones for various situations in our fire escape ladder comparison.

Alex Schenker

Alex holds BS degrees in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego, and Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is honored to share his nearly two decades of experience in home security and automation, cybersecurity and identity theft protection with our readers. He realized it was time for a home security system when his neighbor’s house got broken into. He has tried to stay ahead of the curve by proactively applying security technologies and software that protect not only his home and family but his personal identity, sensitive information and finances. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing tennis, going on hikes with his wife and dogs and surfing.

Related Articles

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
Index
Send this to a friend