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Understanding Fire Extinguisher Ratings

Finding a place to buy a fire extinguisher is pretty easy (especially if you call Kauffman Co!). The hard part is understanding what those codes on the fire extinguishers mean! 1A:2BC, 2A:5BC, 20A:30BC…what are they talking about?

As it turns out, those letters refer to the rating of the Houston fire extinguisher, aka how large of a fire it is capable of putting out. If you’ve been paying attention to the blog, you should know what the letters refer to: the types of fire that the extinguisher is capable of putting out. If you need a refresher, those letters again are:

  • A: Fire involving normal combustibles – paper, wood, cloth, etc
  • B: Fires involving flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil or petroleum
  • C: Electrical fires
  • D: Fires caused by flammable metals
  • K: Fires caused by hot oils and grease commonly found in commercial kitchens

The numbers of the fire extinguisher ratings refer to the approximate area of fire that the extinguisher can put out, tested against a fixed measure of effectiveness. For example, in a wooden crib test, an 10A fire extinguisher would be able to extinguish one square meter worth of fire (this is the same for B and C fires, but the numbers are in feet instead of meters).

The most common fire extinguisher rating for most buildings is 10A:20BC. If you’re in the market for fire extinguishers in Houston, Texas and want to know which fire extinguisher is right for you, call Kauffman Co today!

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