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What do the letters and numbers by the fire extinguisher classification mean?

Every fire extinguisher has an alphanumeric rating that tells you what types of fires it can extinguish as well as the size of fire it can put out.

The letters stand for the class of fire the extinguisher can be used against:

A – ordinary combustibles (wood, paper, plastic, etc.)
B – flammable liquids (oil, gas, petroleum, etc.)
C – electrical equipment
D – metals
K – cooking oils and fats

The numbers indicate how much of the fire can be put out by the fire extinguisher. Every number before the A means it is as effective as 1 ¼ gallons of water. For example, 2A means the fire extinguisher is as effective as 2 ½ gallons of water, and so on. The numbers before B and C are a measure of the amount of square feet the fire extinguisher can put out. For example, a 10:BC fire extinguisher can extinguish a fire over 10 sq ft.

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