Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

Purchasing a fire extinguisher for your home may seem simple enough. However, not all fire extinguishers for the home are the same and it’s best to know what type to have and how and when to use them before a fire breaks out.

You should take some time to learn how to properly use the extinguisher in advance so you are prepared in case the need arises. In case of a small home fire, with proper training and knowledge, you will be able to use a fire extinguisher without a sweat.

You need to make sure your home is equipped with the right fire extinguisher in the right area because certain types of fire extinguishers used to put out one fire can actually make a different type of fire worse.

The cause of a fire in the kitchen is likely to be very different from the cause of a fire in the living room or garage. We’ll explain the different types of extinguishers and which one you should have in different areas of your home.

Type A

The most common home fire extinguishers fall under three different categories, type A, type B, and type C. Type A fire extinguishers are designed to put out wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and plastic fires. This makes it an especially useful fire extinguisher for areas such as the living room and bedrooms. The most common cause of a fire in the living room is a fireplace, and a type A extinguisher could help to put out a small fire that spread from the fireplace.

Type B

Type B fire extinguishers are designed to extinguish fires that start from flammable liquids, grease, paints and stains, alcohol, and gases. Because of this, the ideal place for a type B fire extinguisher would be the garage.

Type C

A type C extinguisher is made for electrical fires. Splashing water on an electrical fire could result in electrocution. Overloaded outlets and short circuits can be handled with a type C extinguisher. You would want a type C in your kitchen or garage.


The good news is—if you don’t want to worry about which fire extinguisher is best for specific rooms and having multiple fire extinguishers per room—you can buy a combination ABC extinguisher for your home. Make sure to place it in an easily accessible space of each fire prone room.

When using a fire extinguisher for home remember the acronym PASS. Pull the pin, aim at the base and cause of the fire, squeeze the lever slowly, and sweep the nozzle side to side. This is the most effective way of using a fire extinguisher to put out small fires. However, if a fire gets to big, do not try to continue to put it out, get out of the house quickly and call 911 to have the fire department deal with it. For more information about fire extinguisher types, placement, and usage visit the First Alert website.