Because they’re most commonly used to extinguish flammable gas fires, Class C fire equipment can be found in commercial kitchens, workshops, and garages.
When we talk about common combustibles that can cause a Class C fire, we’re considering stored gas cylinders, fire close to gas sources, or leaks in gas systems like a barbecue or stove top.
At first glance, these may seem a less common fire, but when you consider ovens, heating systems or water heaters, these and other gas powered appliances, as well as stored gas, it’s easy to see how a fire could easily be ignited.
To give you some more examples of this, we’ve compiled a non-exhaustive list of items that can – and do – provide fuel for Class C fires in everyday environments, and which can be put out with a Class C fire extinguisher:
- Gas powered appliances – ovens, stove tops, barbecues, camper stoves, heaters, and water heaters
- Stored gasses – butane, propane.
- Gas powered tools– soldering irons, blow torches, torch ignitors.
As you can see from this list, fires can start in many areas of your home, garage, factory, workspace, or warehouse; however, by far the most common place for a Class C fire to start is in a kitchen.
This includes any prep space with gas appliances and flames, whether that’s in your home, a kitchenette in your office, or a full commercial restaurant kitchen.
And, while the causes of home and workplace fires vary greatly, some of the most common ways in which a fire can take hold is from:
- unattended gas stove top cooking incidents
- gas cylinders stored too close to heat
- a leak in a gas line
Which fire extinguishers can be used on a Class C fire?
Dry chemical fire extinguishers can be used on a Class C fire. It’s important to note that flammable gasses can often spread quite far from a leak to an ignition source.
So, while a fire may be stifled and some of the flames extinguished using a dry chemical fire extinguisher, it is important to call the fire department as soon as possible, and only approach to use an extinguisher if there is no risk from the explosive nature of the gas.
Dry chemical fire extinguisher
The only safe extinguisher to use for Class C fires. Dry chemical fire extinguishers work by smothering the fire and removing oxygen and they are often marked with a white band.
Care should be taken when using a dry chemical fire extinguisher on a Class C fire in a confined area, as it can cause breathing, eye and skin irritations, and the removal of oxygen in the area can cause danger to the user.
How do I use a fire extinguisher on a Class C fire?
While it might look like an easy thing to do, actually actioning a fire extinguisher can be more difficult than it looks… especially in the middle of a fire emergency!
We highly recommend regular workplace training at which our fire experts will give your team hands-on experience in using the PASS method of fire suppression:
- P – pull the pin on the fire extinguisher handle
- A – aim your extinguisher at the fire
- S – squeeze the handle firmly but gently to start the flow of water, foam etc.
- S – sweep the extinguisher across the seat of the fire
Workplace fire training not only helps your team learn what to do in the event of a fire incident, but will also help them be more fire safe in their own home. We recommend workplace fire training every 6 months or when you have a new intake of staff.
A good way to remember to book a workplace fire safety training session is to review your level of competency whenever daylight savings comes around.
When should I use a fire extinguisher on a Class C fire?
If a Class C fire breaks out in your workplace you should follow the management and evacuation process that has previously been agreed upon.
While your workplace may differ, the most common process is for you to immediately call 000 (triple zero) and ask for the fire brigade; the operator will ask you for the type of emergency, your address, suburb and any other information that will be useful to emergency services personnel who are turned out to attend the incident.
You should then raise the alarm to alert co-workers and give them time to evacuate the build-ing. Once everyone has left the building or area, no one should go back for any reason.
If you feel it is safe to do so, you can fight a Class C fire with dry chemical fire extinguisher, only if:
- the fire is small with flames shorter than you
- the fire is contained within a small space
- the fire isn’t spreading rapidly
- the room isn’t full of smoke (smoke inhalation can quickly cause unconsciousness)
- you have a clear exit path in case you need to escape the fire
However, if you feel unsafe or unable to use a fire extinguisher, then simply don’t risk it. Evacuate the building and wait for the fire brigade to arrive and deal with the fire.
How do I ensure I have the right equipment for a Class C fire?
It makes sense that your fire safety equipment should be maintained to the highest standard so it works well when you need it most.
In a commercial setting, it is a legal requirement that you have your fire extinguishers and other equipment tested on a regular basis (depending on the type of business you run). Therefore, a maintenance schedule is vital to ensuring the safety of you, your staff and site visitors, and to minimise any potential damage to your premises.
Our team of fire safety experts can organise this for you, saving you the time and hassle of having to think about it for your office, factory, warehouse, body corporate, government building or workshop.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you keep your premises and people safe from a Class C fire, please give us a call on 1800 177 915 to arrange an obligation-free visit to discuss your fire equipment service needs with a member of our expert team.