Fire extinguishers are a great tool for putting out fires and protecting life, but only if you know how to use them correctly. Acquiring some basic knowledge of how to operate them is essential for all employees. Following is some key information that you need to know:

Fires are classified according to the type of material being burned. Most fires that involve ordinary objects such as clothing, paper, carpet and toys are Class A fires. Fires that involve flammable liquids such as grease, oil or gasoline are Class B fires. Class B fires often occur in kitchens or garages, where grease and oil can be found.

A Class C fire will occur when electrical equipment including wires and electrical appliances catch fire. Class D fires catch in such metals as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types off fires generally cannot be extinguished by water or liquid chemicals. You will have to use a dry powder extinguisher to put them out.

It is vital that you use the right type of extinguisher for the fire type that you are dealing with. The faceplate on the front side of the extinguisher will display the classification of the extinguisher. Some extinguishers are able to put out more than one class of fire.