In the UK, household fires are classified into six different types. These are:
- Type A: Fires caused by solid materials such as wood, paper, or textiles.
- Type B: Fires caused by flammable liquids such as petrol, oil, or paint.
- Type C: Fires caused by flammable gases such as propane or butane.
- Type D: Fires caused by metals such as magnesium or titanium.
- Type E: Fires caused by live electrical equipment.
- Type F: Fires caused by cooking fats and oils.
All homes and premises have potential fire hazards, but the level of risk will differ from home to home. To help keep your home safe from fire, it is important to be aware of the different types of fires that can occur, and how to safely contain them. As well as the relevant products homes should have in the event of a fire.
Types of Fire
There are four main types of fires: wood, paper, flammable liquids, and electrical. Each type of fire requires different containment strategies in order to safely control and stop the spread of the fire. Incorrect containment procedures can result in further damage.
The best way to contain a wood fire is to smother it. Cover the fire with a thick layer of sand or dirt. Do not use water to put out a wood fire as it will only cause the fire to spread.
Paper fires can be tricky to contain. The best way to extinguish a paper fire is to smother it with a damp cloth or a lid. Do not use water on a paper fire as it will only cause the fire to spread.
Flammable Liquid Fires
Flammable liquid fires should never be extinguished with water. The best way to put out a flammable liquid fire is to turn off the power supply and use a dry powder extinguisher.
Electrical fires should never be extinguished with water. The best way to put out an electrical fire is to turn off the power supply and use a dry powder extinguisher.
Cooking Fat and Oil Fires
Cooking fat and oil fires should never be extinguished with water. The best way to put out a cooking fat or oil fire is to smother it with a damp cloth or a lid.
How to safely contain a fire:
Ensure that all doors and windows are closed to prevent the spread of the fire. Fire doors and other heavy doors will need to be closed to cut off the oxygen and avoid the fire spreading.
Do not use water to extinguish a grease fire – smother the fire with a damp cloth or a lid.
Do not use water to extinguish an electrical fire – turn off the power supply and use a dry powder extinguisher.
Do not use water to extinguish a metal fire – smother the fire with sand or a fire blanket.
Never use water on a chip pan fire – smother the fire with a damp cloth or a lid.
If you have a CO2 extinguisher, point the nozzle at the base of the flames.
The above are only a few examples – for more information, please visit: www.gov.uk/fire-safety-your-responsibilities
Fire Hazards in the Home
There are many potential fire hazards in the home, such as electrical appliances, cooking equipment, candles, and smoking materials. It is important to be aware of these hazards and take steps to reduce the risk of a fire starting.
- Keep electrical appliances in good working order and do not overload sockets.
- Always supervise children when they are near candles or other open flames.
- Do not leave cooking unattended – if you must leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
- Make sure cigarettes are extinguished properly and do not smoke in bed.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
Fire safety products
Fire safety products will vary depending on the premises, the size of the premises and the laws associated (i.e., workplace fire guidance). To browse our full range of fire safety products, click here.
Fire blankets – Fire blankets can be kept on hand and are ideal for smothering a fire in its beginning stages. A fire blanket will not help a huge fire.
Downlight intumescent fire cover – A downlight fire cover is an essential fire safety product for any home with downlights. It is designed to fit over the downlight and prevent a fire from starting
Dry powder extinguishers – To be used to contain electrical and flammable liquid fires
Water extinguishers – For wood and paper fire containment. Never use for electrical fires
CO2 extinguishers – For electrical fire contamination
Smoke alarms – Essential for any property to warn you of a fire
Fire doors – Prevent the spread of a fire when the door is closed