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What Extinguisher Should You Use on an Oil Fire?

Oil fires are particularly hazardous since the most common means of fire suppression--water--cannot be used. To extinguish an oil fire, it is important to first determine what exactly is burning so that the proper extinguisher may be used.

Types of Extinguishers

There are two types of oil fire extinguishers.  One is a Class B extinguisher, which is used on flammable liquid fires such as oil or gasoline. The other is a Class K extinguisher, which is effective on cooking combustibles such as cooking oils and fats. 

Function

To operate the extinguisher, remove the safety pin from the handle and squeeze the handle while aiming the hose at the source of the fire. 

Effectivness

A Class B or Class K extinguisher is capable of extinguishing a small, contained fire that has not spread to adjacent surfaces and areas. 

Considerations

Only attempt to use the extinguisher if you have been trained in its operation, are physically capable of doing so and have a way to escape should the extinguisher fail to suppress the fire. 

Warnings

Children and the elderly should not attempt to use an extinguisher since they may not possess the physical ability to properly operate it.  Regular maintenance should be done to ensure that the extinguisher is free from damage and is properly charged.

About the Author

E.H. McKenzie is an information technology professional who has been involved in writing technical and training manuals for the past 10 years. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and has focused on writing for eHow on topics involving the fire service and military history themes.