Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are installed throughout GW campuses where required by DC Fire Code. Some buildings equipped with certain types of fire sprinklers only require fire extinguishers to be installed in areas such as kitchens or utility rooms. DC Fire Code requires an annual inspection and servicing of fire extinguishers.

If you discover a fire extinguisher that is out of date on inspection, damaged, discharged, or missing, contact Facilities Central emergency requests at 202-994-6706 option 2.

Elements of Fire

Before attempting to extinguish a fire, it is important to understand the components involved. In order for fire to occur, four components must be present: oxygen, fuel, heat, and a chemical chain reaction. This is represented by the Fire Tetrahedron. When any of the four components is removed, the reaction will end, extinguishing the fire. Fire extinguishers function by removing one of these four components.

Types of Fires

Fire extinguishers are classified based upon the types of fuel/fires they are designed to extinguish. These classes are identified on the label of the extinguisher.

The five classes are:

  • Class A: Ordinary combustible materials, wood, paper, plastics and clothing
  • Class B: Flammable liquids and gases
  • Class C: Energized electrical equipment
  • Class D: Combustible metals
  • Class K: Vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats (in cooking appliances)
Class of Fire Fuel/Hazard Type Extinguisher Type
Class A
Class A Fire Icon
Ordinary combustibles
Wood, rubber, paper, many plastics, fabrics

ABC Dry Chemical
Water
AFFF & FFFP FOAM

Class B
Class B Fire Icon
Flammable liquids and gases
  • Gasoline, oils, grease, paint, lacquer, tar
  • Natural & manufactured gases

Liquids:
ABC Dry Chemical
REGULAR Dry Chemical
AFFF & FFFP FOAM
PURPLE K Dry Chemical
CARBON DIOXIDE
Gases:
REGULAR & PURPLE K Dry Chemical

Class C
Class C Fire Icon

Energized electrical equipment
Wiring, panels, generators, switches, motors, appliances

ABC Dry Chemical
REGULAR Dry Chemical
PURPLE K Dry Chemical
CARBON DIOXIDE

Class D
Class D Fire Icon
Combustible metals & combustible metal alloys SUPER D (Sodium Chloride) Powder
COPPER Powder
G-PLUS (Graphite)
Class K
Class K Fire Icon
Vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances Class K extinguisher

 

Types of Fire Extinguishers

GW University uses the following types of fire extinguishers:

  • Multipurpose dry chemical (Class ABC)
  • Carbon dioxide (Class BC)
  • Water (Class A)
  • Dry powder (Class D)

PASS

Follow the PASS procedure when operating any fire extinguisher:

P: Pull the pin
A: Aim at the base of the fire
S: Squeeze the handle or lever
S: Sweep from side to side

Rules for Extinguisher Usage

  • Be trained in extinguisher use
  • Use on small fires that are not spreading
  • Know what type of fuel is burning
  • Before extinguishing the fire, position yourself with the exit at your back
  • Do not attempt to extinguish the fire if you are in jeopardy or feel uncomfortable doing so

Maintenance

Fire extinguishers that are out of date on inspection, damaged, discharged, or missing should be reported immediately to Facilities Central emergency requests at 202-994-6706 option 2.