- Class A -Burning wood, paper, cloth, and other everyday materials. Enough water can extinguish such fires.
- Class B -Burning liquids, such as kitchen grease, gasoline, oil, and other flammable liquids. Putting water on such fires may simply spread them.
- Class C -Fires involving electrical equipment. Spraying such a fire with water might not be a good idea.
We had our local fire extinguisher technician in the other day to tag some fire extinguishers. He made the comment that the half million dollar boat that had these extinguishers was being protected by a $40 piece of equipment. That hit home! Most of the boats we have in here have cheap fire extinguishers and most do not have fire suppression systems in the engine room. This is the value they have put on their boat and maybe even the price they have put on their own safety. Bear in mind that a small canister of foam or dry chemical isn’t adequate to extinguish a major fire, particularly in the engine room. This is what we usually see – a couple of 5 lb. extinguishers stowed away in a locker somewhere. If you are not on board, a guest may have a hard time finding even these most inadequate safety devices. Extinguishers that are effective on one kind of burning material don’t necessarily work well on another. To indicate the kinds of fire for which an extinguisher is suitable, it will usually be labeled with an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) rating using the code letters A, B, C, or D.