# Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 36

fire extinguishment practices focus
on cooling, oxygen displacement, or
interfering with the chain reaction
of combustion.
Fire extinguishers are classified by
the specific types, classes, and/or size of
fires they are capable of extinguishing
and the extinguishing agents being
used. There are five classes of fire
extinguishers-A, B, C, D, and K.
 Class A extinguishers will put out fires
in ordinary combustibles such as wood
and paper.
 Class B extinguishers are for use on
flammable liquids such as machine
and lubricating greases, gasoline,
and oil.
 Class C extinguishers are suitable for
use only on electrically energized fires.
 Class D extinguishers are designed for
use of fires in metals.
 Class K extinguishers are for fires in
cooking oils and greases, such as
animal fats and vegetable fats.
Class A extinguishers are for ordinary
combustible materials such as paper,
wood, cardboard, and most plastics.
The numerical rating on these types of
extinguishers indicates the amount of
water the extinguisher holds and the
amount of fire it can extinguish. The
numeral indicates the approximate
relative fire-extinguishing capacity of
the extinguisher for that class of fire.
Generally, the larger the extinguisher the
larger the numbers. For example, a 4-A
extinguisher can put out approximately
twice as much fire as a 2-A extinguisher.
Class B fires involve flammable or
combustible liquids such as alcohols,
gasoline, kerosene, lubricating grease,
and oil and flammable gases. The
numerical rating for Class B extinguishers
indicates the approximate number of
square feet of fire it can extinguish.
For Class B extinguishers the numeric
rating also indicates the fire suppression
capacity of the extinguisher when used
by an inexperienced operator. That is, a
novice can put out a fire encompassing
10 sq. ft. with a 10-B extinguisher and a
20 sq. ft. fire with a 20-B extinguisher. The
fire suppression capacity is related to the
experience of the operator. For example,
an experienced operator can put out a
fire encompassing 25 sq. ft. (2.3 m2) with
a 10-B extinguisher and 50 sq. ft. (4.6 m2)
36 INSIDE ASHE | FALL 2017

with a 20-B extinguisher. So this implies
the importance of proper training for
those staff expected to use a Class B fire
extinguisher. Due to the characteristics
of the fuel involved in Class B fires, it is
important not to use water to extinguish
the flames. In most cases a spray of water
would not reduce the heat but would
spread the fuel farther, causing more
damage. Smothering the flames and
reducing the oxygen supply is the best
method of combatting this type of fire;
so foam, CO2, sodium bicarbonate, and
potassium carbonate are commonly used
as weapons against Class B fires.
Class C fires involve electrical
equipment, such as appliances, wiring,
circuit breakers, and outlets. Never use
water to extinguish Class C fires-the risk
of electrical shock is far too great! Class C
extinguishers carry only an alphabet "C"
symbol and have no numerical rating
because such fires are essentially Class A
or Class B fires involving energized
electrical equipment. A "C" classification
means the extinguishing agent is
non-conductive.
Class D extinguishers are designed
for use on combustible metal fires, and
Class K fires are cooking fires involving
vegetable oils and food greases. Of
course, these classes of fire extinguishers
are not important for ORs since these
spaces do not normally hold combustible
metals or cooking oils.
Next we will explore the different
commonly used extinguishing mediums
and how they attack fires. There are
primarily eight different types of fire
extinguisher mediums: water, foam,
carbon dioxide, wet chemical, dry
chemical, clean agent, dry powder, and
water mist.

Water and foam
Water extinguishers eliminate fire by
allowing water to take away the heat
component of a fire, while also wetting
the combustible material, providing
an evaporative cooling effect. Foam
extinguishers help to cut off oxygen
from the surface of the fire by creating a
foaming film on the burning surface. A
water extinguisher should only be used
on Class A fires (combustibles such as
wood, paper, cloth, trash, and plastics). If
water is used on Class B fires (flammable

liquid), the discharge could help spread
the flammable liquid. Foam, depending
on the type and application, may be
beneficial to extinguish a flammable
liquid fire. If water or foam is used on
a Class C fire (electrical equipment), it
could create a shock hazard.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

This type of fire extinguisher takes
away the oxygen from a fire and removes
the heat with a cold discharge. Carbon
dioxide fire extinguishers should be
used only on Class B and Class C fires.
It is not effective on Class A fires.
The force of discharge can disperse
burning materials.

Dry chemical
Dry chemical extinguishers remove
the chemical reaction of a fire. In
this category the multi-purpose dry
chemical extinguisher is the most used
fire extinguisher of all extinguishers
because it is effective on Class A, Class B,
and Class C fires. This is an excellent fire
extinguisher for these circumstances
because it creates a barrier between the
oxygen and fuel elements on Class A
fires (attacks the chain reaction of fires).
If you are using an ordinary dry chemical
extinguisher (sodium bicarbonate
or potassium bicarbonate) and not a
multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher
(monoammonium phosphate), only
use it on Class B and Class C fires. It is
important to use the right extinguisher
for a fuel type because using an incorrect
fire extinguisher can do more harm than
good by reigniting a fire.

Wet chemical
Wet chemical extinguishers work by
removing heat and creating barriers
between oxygen and fuel so a fire
cannot be reignited. Wet chemicals
are for Class K fires such as fires
involving vegetable cooking oils. These
extinguishers are a must-have if you
are in the commercial cooking industry.
Some wet chemical extinguishers can be
used on Class A fires as well because they
are more like foaming extinguishers.

Clean agent
Clean agent extinguishers use
halogenated hydrocarbon to interrupt the

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Member spotlight
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Intro
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Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - cover1
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Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 4
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 5
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 6
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 7
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 8
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Letter from the president
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - What’s new
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 11
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Pop quiz
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 13
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 14
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 15
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 16
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 17
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - The measurement of a health care facility manager: How do you define success?
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 19
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Creating a program to identify and monitor pressure dependent spaces
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 21
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 22
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 23
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Critical considerations for specifying a building automation system for health care
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 25
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 26
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 27
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Bright ideas: LED renovation at Boulder Community Health
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 29
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 30
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 31
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 32
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 33
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Selecting the right fire extinguisher for operating rooms
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 35
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 36
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 37
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 38
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 39
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 40
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 41
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Still battling reheat energy in hospitals: Short- and long-term ideas for hospitals’ biggest energy use
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 43
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 44
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 45
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - The financial impact of variable speed ventilation controls in hospital kitchens
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 47
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 48
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 49
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 50
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 51
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Data driven culture fuels University of Florida Health’s success in energy and operational optimization
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 53
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 54
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 55
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Energy management in a critical access hospital: How Barnesville Hospital reduced energy consumption by 39 percent
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 57
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Value analysis: Improving operating margin through cost savings
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 59
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Member spotlight
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Advertisers’ index
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 62
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