Portable Fire Extinguishers

Different types of fires require different types of extinguishers. You should buy a fire extinguisher with either an ABC or BC rating. The letters on a fire extinguisher tell you what types of fires it is designed to fight.

  • Class A: Materials that burn, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and plastic.
  • Class B: Liquids that burn, such as gas, oil and grease.
  • Class C: Electrical equipment.

The number before the letters on the extinguisher tells you how big a fire it will put out compared to other extinguishers. For example, a 10BC device will put out a larger fire than a 5BC device. In the case if choosing fire extinguishers, larger is better.

Any fire extinguisher you choose must be certified and labelled by the U.S. Coast Guard (for marine use), Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. (UL). You are no longer allowed to refill halon fire extinguishers.

Placement of fire extinguishers is of key importance. You may locate one or two inside the cabin in strategic spots where they can be easily accessed and you can fight a fire while maintaining an escape route behind you.

Another ideal place is in the cockpit where you can easily get at it if you are outside the cabin in case of an emergency.

Check your extinguishers often to ensure they are ‘in the green’ with correct operating pressure and make sure that you and your guests know where all the fire extinguishers are onboard and how to use them. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and service of your fire extinguisher(s) and if you decide to use an ABC multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher, make sure to remove the device(s) out of their bracket and give them a few hard shakes in the upside down position (about once a month) to keep the contents active.