Here Are the Different Types of Fire Extinguishers and Their Uses

No matter where you are, it’s helpful to know about fire safety. Whether you live in an apartment or work in an office building, being well versed in fire safety protocols could save your life.

Knowing the location of fire extinguishers in the building you live or work in is a good start, but there’s more to fire safety than that. You may be wondering, “Is there a difference in fire extinguishers?” The answer is yes.

This article will cover the different types of fire extinguishers and their uses.


Fire extinguishers with water as the main ingredient have a red label and are suited for use on Class A fires. Class A fires are those involving solid combustible materials such as wood, fabric, paper or textiles. You can use this fire extinguisher for most organic materials, but make sure not to use it in the kitchen or for oil, liquid or electrical fires.


Is there a difference between fire extinguishers? Yes, in the case of the aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) fire extinguisher versus the water fire extinguisher, there is. AFFF fire extinguishers come with a cream-colored label and can be used for any Class A fires (like a water fire extinguisher) but can also be used for Class B fires. Class B fires are those involving flammable liquids like oil, paint and turpentine.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

When considering the different types of fire extinguishers, you may not be aware of the carbon dioxide or CO2 fire extinguisher. It carries a black label and can be used on Class B fires (flammable liquids) and electrical equipment. It works on electrical equipment because CO2 isn’t a conductor and doesn’t leave behind unwanted residue after its use.

ABC dry powder

Powder fire extinguishers have a blue label and, as you might have guessed by the name, can be used on Class A, B and C fires. They also work on electrical fires. The one drawback of these fire extinguishers is that the chemical powder they use can be easily inhaled if expelled in a small space, so these extinguishers are better suited for larger spaces and the outdoors.

Deionized water mist

If you see a fire extinguisher with a white label, it’s probably a deionized water mist fire extinguisher. These can be used on Class A, B and C fires, in addition to any burning electrical equipment. The nozzle is specially designed to release tiny droplets of deionized water in a curtain that reduces the oxygen content of any fire it contacts. The deionized water makes it safe for electronics, and the mist reduces puddling, which could cause electrocution.

Wet chemical

Look for the yellow tag to find a wet chemical fire extinguisher. You’ll need this for any cooking fires, including those that involve burning fats or oils. This is the only fire extinguisher rated for Class F fires (burning oils, fats, etc.), but it can be used on Class A fires in a pinch as well.

Call for a fire extinguisher inspection today

Now that you know a bit more about the different types of fire extinguishers and their uses, call us at Raider Fire Protection. We perform fire extinguisher inspections and installations, in addition to offering consulting services, so call us about your fire safety needs today.