Class C Fires: What Are They & How Do You Extinguish Them?
Posted: 17/06/2024
5 minute read
Class C Fires: What Are They - Surrey Tech Services


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Class C Fires: What Are They & How Do You Extinguish Them?

Fire is a danger no matter what actually causes it. But did you know that how you should tackle a fire can vary greatly depending on the fuel source? In the fire safety industry, we break down fires into different classes, ensuring the right approach is taken depending on what material or fuel causes the problem so that it can be extinguished in the safest way possible.

This month at Surrey Tech Services Ltd, we’re taking a closer look at Class C fires to explain what they are, how you can prevent them, which extinguisher to use and what not to do. This is designed to give you all the information you need if your business or premises are most at risk from a Class C fire type.

Class C Fires: What Are They & How To Extinguish - Surrey Tech Services

What are Class C fires?

There are five main classes of fire, with Class C referring to fires started by flammable gases. This includes common gases such as propane, methane and butane, usually where there is a leakage of gas around open flames or sparks.

The danger with flammable gases is that they can easily ignite when mixed with the oxygen present around us, presenting a volatile and sometimes explosive mix. The flames are then able to spread to other materials in the area, whether that’s in a warehouse, industrial plant or other commercial space.

How to prevent a Class C fire

Adopting a no smoking policy can help prevent a Class C Fire - Surrey Tech Services

Since flammable gases are present in many industrial and commercial premises, it’s important that you do everything you can to reduce the risk of a Class C fire. Here are our top tips for your business if you use or store any kind of gas that may be flammable:

  • Proper storage – Make sure your gas containers are properly stored in designated areas away from flames and sparks, with the correct labels. Ventilation should be provided along with signage to warn people when a flammable gas is stored nearby.
  • Inspection and maintenance – Conduct regular inspections of your storage areas to check the condition of equipment and containers. You can also implement a leak detection system to check for gas leaks.
  • No smoking policy – Enforce strict no-smoking policies for areas where flammable gases are kept or are likely to be in use. You can create designated smoking areas where it is safe for people to smoke in order to cement this, along with signage and employee training to spell out the dangers.

Which fire extinguisher is most suitable for Class C fires?

Which fire extinguisher is most suitable for Class C fires? - Surrey Tech Services

While preventative measures should mean you never have to face a Class C fire, it is sensible to be prepared with the right equipment should the worst happen. Flammable gas fires pose a unique challenge in that water and other agents are unlikely to be effective.

Powder fire extinguishers – sometimes referred to as ABC extinguishers or dry chemical extinguishers – are the ideal tool to put out a Class C fire. That’s because they interrupt the chemical reaction taking place through the use of fine powder particles.

Using a powder extinguisher on a Class C fire will also create a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen in the air. It even helps to cool the surrounding materials that are burning to lower the temperature and return burning gases down to below their ignition point.


What to avoid when dealing with a Class C fire

Safety is paramount when dealing with any fire. If you find yourself confronted with a Class C fire type, always evacuate the building and the immediate area, then alert the local fire brigade. Only if the fire is small enough for you to tackle confidently – and if you have the correct training to do so – should you attempt to put it out with a powder extinguisher.

You should also avoid the following when dealing with a flammable gas fire:

  • Don’t use water – Don’t use water extinguishers on gas fires as it could spread the gases further without having any impact.
  • Don’t move canisters – Don’t attempt to move other gas canisters if there is a fire as they could explode under high temperatures.
  • Don’t panic – You could make the situation worse if you act erratically, with mistakes that spread the fire or injure others. Remain calm and evacuate if the fire is not controllable.
  • Don’t neglect safety gear – Don’t skip on PPE or fire extinguishers, as the right safety gear and equipment could help to save lives.

Surrey Tech Services

If your business or premises contain flammable gases and you want to make sure you’re equipped to deal with Class C fires, look no further than our team to supply you with Class C fire extinguishers. We have powder fire extinguishers, as well as many others, to help you meet the risks and challenges most likely for your space. Contact us today to discuss your fire extinguisher requirements and we’ll be happy to assist, no matter how many units you need.

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