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How to choose a fire extinguisher

Updated: Apr 6

“Which type of fire extinguisher do I need?” is a question that we often get. In this post we will set out the Mozambican system for the classification of fires and which type of fire extinguisher is suitable for which class of fire.


To start with, it is necessary to identify the type(s) of fire that may occur. These may vary from object to object, whether it’s a house, a factory, a vehicle, a board or an office.


In Mozambique fires are classified in classes A to E:


Class A: fires involving solid combustible materials such as paper, wood, charcoal, textile and other materials that leave ash when burnt.


Class B: fires that are fuelled by flammable liquids such as petroleum derivatives, paint, vegetable oils, alcohol etc.


Class C: fires involving flammable gasses such as butane and propane.


Class D: are combustible metal fires such as magnesium and aluminium shavings and powder.


Class E: fires involving inflammable materials in class A to D in the presence of electric current.

Different types of fire extinguisher are suitable for different classes of fire. Dry chemical powder (DCP) extinguishers are suitable for Class A, B, C and E fires. Their use on sensitive electronic equipment such as computer is not recommended though. In such cases it would be better to use a carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguisher.


CO2 extinguishers are very suitable for use in the presence of electric current and may also be used on extinguishing fires involving flammable liquids and gasses (class B and C fires).


Water fire extinguishers are suitable for class A fires and foam fire extinguishers are suitable for class B fires. Water and foam extinguishers should not be used in the presence of live electric current.


Sand or other inert materials such as graphite should be used to extinguish class D fires. The use of water, foam or carbon dioxide extinguishers on class D fires is not allowed.

If in doubt, please contact ABC Extintores at 84 6751517 for a free* site assessment (* in Maputo and Matola).

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