The fire classification system is designed to categorise fires into groups based on the type of fuel involved. Each of the fire classes is represented by a letter of the alphabet (with the exception of electrical which are simply referred to as "electrical fires") and an icon. This helps users to select an appropriate fire extinguisher in the event of a fire.
Read our fire extinguisher types guide to find out which extinguisher is suitable for each class of fire.
|Fire Class Icon||Fire Class||Type of Fire / Fuel|
|Class A Fires||
Fires involving solid combustible materials such as wood, textiles, straw, paper, coal etc.
|Class B Fires||
Fires caused by combustion of liquids or materials that liquify such as petrol, oils, fats, paints, tar, ether, alcohol, stearin and paraffin.
|Class C Fires||
Fires caused by combustion of gases such as methane, propane, hydrogen, acetylene, natural gas and city gas.
|Class D Fires||
Fires involving combustible metals such as magnesium, aluminium, lithium, sodium, potassium and their alloys. Combustible metal fires are unique industrial hazards which require special fire extinguishers.
|Class F Fires||
Combustible Cooking Media
Fires involving particularly hot or deep oil and grease fires, such as deep fat fryers in commercial kitchens or overheated oil pan fires in homes. Wet chemical extinguishers are unique in that they lay a cooling foam layer on top of the burning fat/oil and react with the liquid, stopping air supply to the fire. Normal water-based extinguishers with large droplets would cause an 'explosion' of steam and carry burning oils and fats from the container. Equally, a CO2 extinguisher's jet would carry burning oil out of the container and also would have insufficient cooling effect to stop re-ignition.
Fires involving electrical appliances such as computers, electrical heaters, stereos, fuse boxes etc.
Reviewed: 05/11/2020 (doc:3 V1.1). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.