Classes of fire in Singapore
In the Singapore Standards 578, the official classes of fire are Class A fires, Class B fires, Class C fires, Class D fires and Class F fires. You may be wondering, what about electrical fires and lithium battery fires? Read on to find out more.
Class A Fires
The Singapore Standards 578 defines class A fires is as :
Class A fires are fires involving ordinary combustible materials like wood, paper, cloth, furnishing, plastics, rubber, etc., usually of an organic nature, in which combustion normally takes place with the formation of glowing embers.
Class A fires can be very difficult to put out, depending on the fuel source. Rubber tires are much more difficult to put out when compared to paper. Both Hercules Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers and foam fire extinguishers will be capable of putting out these fires.
Class B Fires
The Singapore Standards 578 defines class B fires as
Class B fires are fires involving flammable liquids, solvents, oils, paints, thinner and liquefiable solids.
Both Hercules Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers and foam fire extinguishers will be capable of putting out these fires. Dry powder has a higher direct fire fighting ability while foam is capable of preventing reignition. In petrol stations, dry powder fire extinguishers are often the optimal choice.
Class C Fires
The Singapore Standards 578 defines class C fires as
Class C fires are fires involving flammable gases.
SCDF strongly recommends that gas fires be eliminated by first turning off the gas source. Any subsequent remaining fires are usually class A or B fires. In the event where it is unsafe to turn off the source and there is no choice but to attempt to directly fight the gas fire, use Hercules Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers.
Class D Fires
The Singapore Standards 578 defines class D fires as
Class D fires are fires involving combustible metals e.g. potassium, magnesium, titanium, sodium, lithium and zirconium.
Very importantly, all Class D metal fires are considered as special hazard. The operator attempting to put out class D fires must be specifically trained to do so. These fires are incredibly challenging even for professional fire fighters. To add on to the complexity, a Class D fire extinguisher may only be able to put out specific metal fires but not others. Usually, the fire fighting agents for Class D fires will starve the fires of their oxygen by a sealing or burying action. The ABS 12KG Class D fire extinguisher , with its applicator, allows the operator to safely put out Class D fires.
Class F Fires
The Singapore Standards 578 defines class F fires as
Class F fires are fires involving cooking media (vegetable or animal oils and fats) in cooking appliances.
Class F fires can be considered as a subset of Class B fires. The key difference here is that the flammable liquids are currently being used in cooking and have been heated to the point of ignition. While a standard Dry Powder fire extinguisher can easily put out a Class B fire, the story is different with Class F fires. Due to the high temperatures, the flammable liquids can automatically reignite.
This is where the wet chemical fire extinguishers shine. The super effective foam cools down the flammable liquid and creates a barrier to separate oxygen from the fuel.
The Singapore standards 578 defines electrical fires as
There is no recognized classification for this additional type of fire. Electricity in itself does not burn but can cause fires in class A, B, C, D and F materials.
Similar to Class C fires, SCDF strongly recommends that electrical fires be eliminated by first turning off the electric source. Any subsequent remaining fires are usually class A or B fires. In the event where it is unsafe to turn off the source and there is no choice but to engage the electrical fires, look for the following words:
Use with care for live electrical equipment
You can see these wordings on the Hercules Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher. Dry powder is naturally non electrical conducting agent and will be effective on electrical fires.
Water based or foam fire extinguisher that have passed the 35kv dielectric test will also be able to eliminate electrical fires. They will bear the following words:
Suitable for use on live electrical equipment up to 1000v at a distance of 1m
Lithium Battery Fires
Lithium battery fires are so new that they are not mentioned in the Singapore Standards. However, this does not mean we should ignore them. Nowadays, it is common to see news of entire homes being burnt down by lithium battery fires. Poor electrical wiring and bloated batteries easily overheat. When one of the cells in the battery overheats, it ignites and burns the other cells. This domino effect is called thermal runaway. Unfortunately, the only way to stop lithium battery fires is to simultaneously seal the fuel from the oxygen and cool it down below ignition point.
Subsequently, this is exactly how the Hercules 9L Lithium Battery Fire Extinguisher works. The AVD fire fighting agent seals and cools the lithium battery fire at the same time.