Fire Extinguishers

There is no official standard in Canada for the color of fire extinguishers, though they are typically red, except for Class D extinguishers, which are usually yellow, and water, which usually silver, or white if water mist. Extinguishers are marked with pictograms depicting the types of fires that the extinguisher is approved to fight. In the past, extinguishers were marked with colored geometric symbols, and some extinguishers still use both symbols. No official pictogram exists for Class D extinguishers, though training manuals sometimes show a drill press with shavings burning underneath. The types of fires and additional standards are described in NFPA 10: Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers.

Fire Class

Geometric Symbol


Intended Use



Garbage can and wood pile burning

Ordinary solid combustibles

Think A for anything that leaves ash


Gasoline can with a burning puddle

Flammable liquids and gases

Think B for anything in a barrel - gas, oil, etc.


Electric plug with a burning outlet

Energized electrical equipment

Think C for current


Burning Gear and Bearing

Combustible metals



Pan burning

Cooking oils

Think K for kitchen

The Underwriters Laboratories rate fire extinguishing capacity in accordance with UL/ANSI 711: Rating and Fire Testing of Fire Extinguishers. The ratings are described using numbers preceding the class letter, such as 1-A:10-B:C. The number preceding the A multiplied by 1.25 gives the equivalent extinguishing capability in gallons of water. The number preceding the B indicates the size of fire in square feet that an ordinary user should be able to extinguish. There is no additional rating for class C, as it only indicates that the extinguishing agent will not conduct electricity, and an extinguisher will never have a rating of just C.

The Elliot Lake Fire Service offers fire extinguisher training for a nominal fee to groups.  The training takes approximately one hour between classroom and live training.  If your group is interested in booking training, call the Fire Hall at 848-3200.