Fire Extinguisher Information

Tips to Remember:

 Fire Ext.


  • Only attempt to use a fire extinguisher on small fires. If the fire is getting bigger, get out and call 911
  • ALWAYS stay between the fire and your nearest exit. NEVER let a fire get between you and your escape route. Keep this in mind when considering to locate your fire extinguishers. They should always be mounted near an exit.
  • ALWAYS use the proper extinguisher. Using the wrong type can cause a fire to spread more quickly.
  • Know where your extinguishers are kept BEFORE a fire starts.






Using the Fire Extinguisher Properly


  • PULL: The pin to release the handle
  • ​AIM: The extinguisher at the base of the flames
  • ​SQUEEZE: The handle to release the extinguishing agent
  • ​SWEEP: Back and forth across the base of the flames, and if the fire does not seem to be getting any smaller, LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY and call for help.
Business and commercial property owners have an obligation under the Ontario Fire Code to install and maintain a certain number and type of fire extinguishers. For more information, click here or contact our Fire Prevention division.




To understand how to properly choose and use a fire extinguisher, you must first understand that there are different types of fires, and no single type of fire extinguisher is suitable for all fires.
Fires are divided into four different classes, which are:
Class A 
Class "A" Fires
Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, etc. The symbol for this class is a GREEN TRIANGLE
Class B 
Class "B" Fires
Flammable or combustible liquids, flammable gasses, grease, oil and similar material. The symbol for this class is a RED SQUARE
Class C 
Class "C" Fires
Any fire which involves live electrical equipment. Once the electricity has been shut off, the fire becomes the class of whatever material is burning. The symbol for this class is a BLUE CIRCLE.
Class D 
Class "D" Fires
Certain combustible metals such as sodium, magnesium, potassium, etc. You should not have to worry too much about this type of fire in your home. The symbol for this class is a YELLOW STAR.


Multi-Purpose Dry Chemical

This is the most common type of fire extinguisher for home use and is effective for use on Class A, B and C type fires.


Common sizes for this extinguisher, sold for home use, are 1 lb., 2 lb. and 5 lb. Although extinguishers are sold by weight, that is not how they are actually rated. If you look closely on your fire extinguisher, you will see the Underwriters Laboratory rating, which for a 5 lb. unit, will read something like this: 
ULCThis is a comparison type of rating system and, in this case, it means that this extinguisher will put out 2 units of a class 'A' fire, 10 units of a class 'B' fire, and that it is rated for use on class 'C' fires. No value is assigned for class 'C', as it only implies that the extinguisher is safe and effective for use on live electrical fires.
Look for this Symbol to ensure your extinguisher meets Canadian Standards 
Brampton Fire & Emergency Services recommends that any extinguisher purchased for general home use have a minimum rating of 2A10BC and carry a ULC symbol.
Dry Chemical
This type of extinguisher is similar in appearance to a Multi-Purpose dry chemical extinguisher, but contains a different extinguishing agent, usually baking soda, which is not effective for use on class 'A' fires.
A water extinguisher is suitable only for class 'A' fires and SHOULD NEVER be used on class 'B', 'C', or 'D' fires. It will only make them worse.
Carbon Dioxide
This type of extinguisher is easily recognized by it's "HORN". Carbon Dioxide extinguishers are for use ONLY on class 'B' and 'C' fires. They work by excluding air (oxygen) from the burning material and the advantage of this type of extinguisher is that it leaves no residue.
Used to blanket and smother a fire by eliminating air (oxygen) from the burning material. Foam is rated for class 'A' and 'B' fires, and should never be used on a live electrical fire, as it can be conductive.
The use of halon extinguishers has been discontinued for general home use due to environmental concerns.


Dry Powder
This is a special extinguishing agent for use ONLY on class 'D' (flammable metal) fires, and will generally not be necessary for residential applications.


What extinguisher do I use?
Class "A"
Class "B"
Class "C"
Class "D"

​On which fires is Water used and why?

  • because it is an ideal cooling, soaking and penetrating agent. Its use on other classes of fire can be dangerous.


​On which fires is Dry Chemical used and why?

  • because it is a flame interrupting agent.



​On which fires is Multi-purpose Dry Chemical used and why?

  • because it melts and forms an oxygen excluding coating over solid burning materials.




​On which fires is Carbon Dioxide used and why?

  • because it effectively suffocates the fire and leaves no residue.



​On which fires is Foam used and why?

  • because it is a smothering and blanketing agent.
    Do not use on Class C fires because foams can be conductive.



​On which fires is Dry Powder used and why?

  • because it is a special smothering and coating agent. It is not suited for use on other classes of fire.