Types Of Fires And How To Tackle Them

Thursday 7th September 2023

Ellen Warren

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A row of fire extinguishers


Understanding the different types of fires is crucial for ensuring safety at home. These classifications can help you identify potential hazards and implement appropriate fire prevention measures

ICE Cleaning is a fire restoration company specialising in post-fire services, effectively cleaning and decontaminating an affected area. Our technology allows us to scrub the air and make a property safe to inhabit again, prioritising health and safety throughout.

Read on to learn more about the types of fires, fire extinguishers, and how to tackle specific fire types.

Types of fires

Class A

Class A fires involve everyday materials such as wood and paper. These fires can spread rapidly if not extinguished promptly using water-based solutions.

Class B

Class B fires involve flammable liquids like petrol or paint thinner. Due to their volatile nature, foam or powder fire extinguishers can effectively contain these fires.

Class C

These involve gases such as propane and butane. These fires are dangerous because of their explosive potential. Therefore, a dry powder extinguisher is the most suitable for tackling them.

Class D

Class D fires include burning metals like magnesium. These fires require specialist attention and specific dry powder extinguishers designed for this purpose.

Electrical Fires & Class F

Electrical fires require CO2 extinguishers, while fires related to cooking oils and fats (Class F) necessitate wet chemical solutions.

Identifying the correct fire type can be crucial in preventing a disaster. Unless you know where the fire originated, do not try to tackle the fire using an extinguisher, as you may use the wrong one and cause a bigger problem.

Types of fire extinguishers

A fire extinguisher is an essential tool in any emergency response scenario. Depending on the type of fire, different extinguishers may be required.

The water fire extinguisher, for example, is used on Class A fires that involve combustible materials such as wood or paper. This tool can put out the fire by reducing the temperature of the burning material, thus preventing it from catching alight and eliminating the flames.

In contrast, electrical and flammable liquid fires (Class B) call for a distinct approach. The CO2 fire extinguisher is designed specifically for these instances; it smothers the blaze by replacing oxygen with carbon dioxide.

Dry powder extinguishers are unique devices designed to disrupt combustion processes within Classes A, B and C fires that include gases by using powder to break down chain reactions within a flame.

Fire prevention in your home

A range of strategies exist for preventing fires within your home. The key to fire prevention is the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors. These devices provide an early warning system, giving you valuable time to evacuate.

Electrical safety also plays a crucial role in fire prevention. Avoid overloading power outlets and ensure that electrical appliances are well-maintained by checking for faulty wiring or signs of degradation.

Proper management and storage of flammable items are essential for fire prevention. Keep materials such as petrol or aerosol cans well away from heat sources at all times.

Another aspect of fire prevention is educating all household members or tenants about potential dangers. For example, knowing how to use baking soda or a tightly-fitted lid to smother small kitchen fires can be highly effective.

What are fire emergency protocols?

If a fire occurs on your property, you should operate your nearest fire alarm and dial 999 immediately, ensuring everyone is alerted while help is on its way.

If you have the necessary training, attempt to extinguish the blaze using an appropriate fire extinguisher. However, if the flame is larger than you and spreading quickly, you must evacuate immediately and cease all efforts.

If you are in an area filling with smoke quickly, stay low where it is easier to breathe. You must use stairs over lifts when escaping, as heat or power disruptions can render them useless.

Avoid hastily opening doors radiating heat; they might trigger a backdraft scenario leading to an explosion. Instead, feel your way around doors cautiously before opening and closing them behind you to contain flames as much as possible.

Every building should contain marked exit routes from each floor level straight outside. These pathways must be clear at all times, allowing quick and safe evacuation when required.

Once safely evacuated, resist any temptation of re-entry until given clearance by authorities such as firefighters who are well-versed with risks posed by post-fire environments.

The fire restoration process

The first step of the fire cleaning process involves conducting an assessment of the damage caused by different types of fires. This critical stage allows experts to identify areas affected by soot, smoke, and water damage.

Cleaners then take immediate measures to protect undamaged areas from potential secondary harm. It is crucial to safeguard these zones without any delay.

The cleaning approach is tailored based on the unique characteristics and severity of each fire incident. Specialised cleaning techniques will specifically target the issues associated with different types of fires.

This comprehensive procedure ensures that every surface of your property is cleaned and restored, aiming to bring it back to its original condition where feasible.

Frequently asked questions

Can water make a fire worse?

In some cases, water can worsen a fire and cause severe harm. For example, Class F fires with grease and cooking oils can become explosive when combined with water. Electrical fires are also dangerous when they encounter water, likely causing electrical shocks.

When should you evacuate instead of fighting a fire?

If you are not qualified, do not fight a fire. If the fire is spreading or has become bigger than you and threatens to block your only exit, you must evacuate immediately.

What are the three elements needed for a fire?

Heat, fuel, and oxygen are integral for a fire to continue burning and spread. If you remove either of these elements, you can stop a fire. For example, covering a burning candle deprives it of oxygen, and it extinguishes immediately.

What are the most dangerous fire types?

Although all fires have their own dangers, Class C fires involving gases have the potential to become explosive and destroy structures.

Get in touch

If you require professional assistance following a fire incident at home, ICE Cleaning is here to help. Our fire damage cleaning services are designed to restore your property quickly and efficiently, allowing life to return to normal as soon as possible. 

Contact us today at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to learn more about our comprehensive fire restoration services. We are available nationwide for emergency cleaning services and can help day and night, 365 days a year, including bank holidays.

Reilly Peters

Reilly Peters

Business Development Manager

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