What Is A Class C Fire Extinguisher Used For: Understanding the Significance

There is a mysterious threat lurking, known as the Class C fire. It sneaks in silently, stealthily engulfing electrical equipment and wiring, transforming them into fiery hazards. A Class C fire extinguisher is your best weapon against it.

But what is a class C fire extinguisher used for? A Class C fire extinguisher is specifically used for combating fires involving live electrical equipment. It is designed to safely extinguish electrical fires without conducting electricity, minimizing the risk of electrical shock or further damage to the equipment.

Let me explain more about the Class C fire extinguisher, a guardian of safety in the face of electrifying danger.

What Is A Class C Fire Extinguisher Used For

Features of Class C Fire Extinguisher

The Class C fire extinguisher, designed to combat fires involving live electrical equipment, possesses distinct features that make it a crucial tool in fire safety. Here are the key features of a Class C fire extinguisher:

Non-conductive extinguishing agent:

One of the primary features of a Class C fire extinguisher is its non-conductive extinguishing agent. This means that it does not conduct electricity, ensuring the safety of the user and minimizing the risk of electrical shock or damage to the equipment.

Compatibility with electrical fires:

Class C fire extinguishers are specifically formulated to address the unique nature of electrical fires. The extinguishing agent effectively suppresses the flames by removing the heating element and creating a barrier between the electrical source and the surrounding oxygen.

ABC or BC rating:

Class C fire extinguishers are typically classified with an ABC or BC rating, indicating their suitability for tackling different types of fires. 

Portable and easy to use:

Class C fire extinguishers are designed to be portable and user-friendly. They are usually lightweight and equipped with a discharge hose and nozzle for precise targeting of the fire. Clear instructions and operating mechanisms make them easy to handle in emergency situations.

Maintenance and recharging:

Like other fire extinguishers, Class C extinguishers require regular maintenance and inspection to ensure their functionality.

Different Types of Class C Fire Extinguishers

Here is a table of different types of Class C fire extinguishers and their characteristics:

Type of Class C Fire ExtinguisherExtinguishing AgentSuitable for Fires InvolvingNotable Features
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) ExtinguisherCarbon Dioxide (CO2)Live electrical equipmentNon-conductive, leaves no residue, does not damage equipment
Clean Agent (Halotron) ExtinguisherHalotron or Halon-based agentsLive electrical equipmentNon-conductive, clean extinguishing agent, safe for use in enclosed spaces
Dry Chemical (ABC) ExtinguisherMulti-purpose dry chemical agentsLive electrical equipment, combustible materials, flammable liquidsNon-conductive, versatile for multiple fire classes, forms a barrier to suppress flames
Dry Powder (BC) ExtinguisherSodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonateLive electrical equipment, flammable liquidsNon-conductive, effective against flammable liquid fires, forms a powder cloud to smother flames
Water Mist ExtinguisherDeionized water mistLive electrical equipmentNon-conductive, creates a fine mist that cools and suppresses the fire
Foam ExtinguisherAqueous film-forming foamLive electrical equipment, flammable liquidsNon-conductive, forms a blanket to seal off oxygen and suppress the fire
Water Spray ExtinguisherWater or water-based solutionLive electrical equipmentNon-conductive, releases a fine spray that cools and extinguish

How to Use Class C Fire Extinguishers?

Using a Class C fire extinguisher safely and effectively requires following these steps:

Evaluate the situation: Ensure it is safe to approach the fire and that you have the appropriate Class C fire extinguisher available.

Power off: Cut off the electrical source to the equipment involved in the fire to minimize the risk of electrical shock.

Aim low: Point the nozzle or hose of the extinguisher at the base of the fire, maintaining a safe distance.

Squeeze the handle: Firmly grip the handle and apply steady pressure to release the extinguishing agent.

Sweep side to side: Use a sweeping motion to direct the extinguishing agent across the base of the fire, covering the entire area.

Observe and evacuate: Monitor the fire’s behavior and continue discharging the extinguisher until the flames are fully extinguished. Evacuate the area and seek professional assistance to inspect the equipment and ensure safety.

Tips for Using Class C Fire Extinguishers

When using Class C fire extinguishers to tackle electrical fires, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Prioritize personal safety: Ensure the power source is disconnected before attempting to extinguish the fire.
  • Choose the right extinguisher: Verify that the extinguisher is specifically rated for Class C fires.
  • Evacuate and seek help: Even if the fire is seemingly extinguished, evacuate the area and seek professional inspection to ensure safety.

What Is the Difference Between Class C and Class D Fire Extinguishers?

Class C fire extinguishers are designed to tackle fires caused by energized electrical equipment, while class D fire extinguishers are specifically designed to handle fires fueled by flammable metals. While both are vital for fire safety, the class d fire extinguisher is crucial for instances where reactive metals like magnesium, titanium, or sodium are involved.

When Not to Use Class C Fire Extinguishers?

Class C fire extinguishers are designed to tackle fires involving electrical equipment. However, here are some instances when you should avoid using Class C fire extinguishers:

Fires involving flammable metals: Magnesium, lithium, potassium, or sodium are just a few examples of volatile metals that should not be put out by class C fire extinguishers. Using water-based extinguishing agents on these fires can actually worsen the situation and cause violent reactions, leading to more extensive damage and potential harm to the user.

Large or spreading fires: If the fire has grown beyond a small, contained area and is spreading rapidly, attempting to use a portable fire extinguisher might not be effective. 

Toxic fumes: If you encounter a fire in a confined area without proper ventilation, using a fire extinguisher might expose you to harmful chemicals.

Structural fires: Class C fire extinguishers are not designed to combat large structural fires or fires that involve building materials. In such cases, immediate evacuation and contacting the fire department are essential.


A Class C fire extinguisher is an essential tool in combating fires involving energized electrical equipment. Designed specifically for use in electrical fires, it plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of individuals and protecting valuable assets. 

Knowing the proper use and significance of a Class C fire extinguisher is paramount in maintaining a secure environment and minimizing the potential damage caused by electrical fires.