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Frequently Asked Questions

Fire Classification
Class A Fires:
Fires caused by burning of ordinary materials such as wooden furniture, burning paper, cardboard, cloth, plastics etc
Class B Fires:
Fires caused by flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, paints etc
Gas Fire
Class C Fires:
Fires caused by flammable gases such as Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) such as Butane & Propane etc.
Class D Fires:
Fires caused by combustible metals such as magnesium, potassium, sodium etc. This type of fire is classified as special fires that are more commonly found in chemical laboratories.
To make it easier to illustrate which extinguisher should be used on which class of fire, labels will be displayed in two ways.
1. A letter designation which corresponds to the type of fire it will extinguish.
2. An illustrated symbol which represents the type of combustible materials it will extinguish.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
On the different types of fire extinguishers listed above, a good fire extinguisher must indicate clearly the ABC ratings on them. The rating look like “SA/34B.” The higher the number higher the fire fighting power.
Choosing a good Fire Extinguisher
There are by far many types and design of fire extinguishers in the market. A good fire extinguisher that can serve in times of emergency should have the following properties.
You must make sure the fire extinguisher was certified by the relevant authority on its product quality and usability. In Singapore, Singapore Productivity Board carries out the tests and certification on all commercial fire extinguishers. Extinguishers that are certified will be endorsed by a PLS sticker (as shown on the left).
Fire Rating
Fire Ratings for fire extinguishers must be clearly stated such as “5A/34B.” The higher the numbers indicate the higher the fire fighting power. The letter indicated refers to Class A & B fires respectively.
Each test fire is designated by a number followed by the letter
A. The designating number of the test fire represents:
  • The length of the test fire in decimetres i.e. the length of the wooden sticks arranged in the longitudinal direction of the test fire.
  • The number of 500mm wooden sticks for each layer arranged in the transverse direction of the test fire.
Each test fire is designated by a number followed by the letter
B. The designating number of the test fire represents:
  • The volume of liquid in litres contained in welded sheet steel cylindrical trays.
Design of Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are designed in many forms and shapes. It is important to choose an extinguisher that comes with a Pressure Indicator or a Pressure Gauge as it provides a means to check the pressure that is currently inside the extinguisher. The pressure inside the extinguisher acts as a propellant to push out the extinguishing agent.

In Singapore, all commercial buildings and offices are required to have regular Service Maintenance contractors to do the checking and certifying of the serviceability of the extinguishers.

In private homes, there are no such regulatory requirement but are strongly recommended to perform occasional self-checks to ensure their effectiveness in times of emergency. You would not want to end up with an extinguisher that may malfunction.

The extinguishers should also be refillable as this is not only more cost effective in the long run, but also more environmentally friendly.

Prevention is Better than Cure – Always have a Fire Extinguisher handy and ready for use.

Accidents do happen. Prevention should be taken to minimize effects of fire. It is strongly recommended that each household should have at least one extinguisher stored in a prominent and easily accessible place, at locations where a fire outbreak is likely.

You must always remember that you are not required to fight a fire. It is important to remember that a fire extinguisher is meant for small fires, at the point it initially break out. The whole idea is to stop the fire from spreading. Should you have any doubts about your control of the situation. DO NOT FIGHT THE FIRE. LEAVE THE AREA AND CALL FOR HELP.