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What is fire classification and performance rating and why is it so important?

2 min read

Fire Performance Rating

The fire performance rating is a measurement established in Australian & New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1850:2009. The classification of a fire is based on the fuel and if live electrical equipment is present.

There are six classes of fire;

  • Class A Carbenous Fire - Paper, Wood, Grass, Textiles
  • Class B Flammable Oils and Liquids - Petrol, Paints, Solvents
  • Class C Flammable Gases - LPG, Propane, Butane
  • Class D Combustible Metals
  • Class E Energised Electrical Equipment - Wiring Switchboards & Appliances
  • Class F Cooking Oils, Fat & Waxes

The rating of a fire extinguisher is a measure of the relative performance of a fire extinguisher given its classification. The rating is a numerical system and indicates its capacity to extinguish a fire. Combined the performance rating is illustrated by an alpha-numeric system ie: 3A:60B:E that must be clearly shown on the side of every fire extinguisher and its retail packaging.

The number in the front of each letter indicates its relative performance level, where;

  • the number indicates an increasing performance capability; and
  • the letter illustrates the class of fire for which the extinguisher is effective.

Same Type& Capacity Not The Same

An extensive review of portable fire extinguishers online found there are significant differences between fire extinguishers. We conducted a study of Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers with a capacity of 1.0Kg as an example and found the below

A

B

C

D

E

F

Relative Performance

Firewize

2

20

-

-

1

-

★★★★

Advertiser 1

1

20

-

-

1

-

★★★

Advertiser 2

1

10

-

-

1

-

Advertiser 3

1

20

-

-

1

-

★★★

Advertiser 4

1

20

-

-

1

-

★★

 

Selecting the correct type of fire extinguisher for a particular use is based on statutory obligations and Australian Standards, and your specific requirements for the fire performance rating of a fire extinguisher.

Always check the performance rating of a fire extinguisher to ensure it is the right one for you.