Skip to main content

System Status: 

Fire Extinguisher Types and Maintenance

Learn about types of fire extinguishers, maintenance requirements and how to get training.

Types of extinguishers

An "A-B-C" fire extinguisher can be used on all fires. Other types of extinguishers work only on a certain class of fire. Check the chart below to match extinguishers to a particular class of fire.

Class of fire Types of extinguishers to use
Class A:
Ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, cloth, paper, etc.
  • "A-B-C"
  • Pressurized water
Class B:
Flammable liquids, such as oil, gasoline, kerosene, etc.
  • "A-B-C"
  • "B-C" dry chemical
  • Carbon dioxide
Class C:
Presence of energized electrical circuits (e.g., electronic motors, electrical wiring, etc.)
  • "A-B-C"
  • "B-C" dry chemical
  • Carbon dioxide
Class D:
Reactive metals
  • D extinguishers only
Class K:
Oils and fats
  • K (for kitchen)

The minimum standard for fire extinguishers on campus is 4A:60B:C. This type of extinguisher is designed for use on ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids and energized electrical fires of moderate to high intensity. Contact Facilities Management to obtain a 4A:60B:C extinguisher. 

Monthly inspection requirement

Departments must assign an individual to inspect monthly the extinguishers in or adjacent to the department's facilities. Recommended personnel include:

Use the Fire Extinguisher Inspection Checklist to perform a monthly inspection of your department's extinguisher(s).


All extinguishers need to be serviced and tested every 6 years and also when:

  • The fire extinguisher has been used
  • The pin has been pulled
  • The gauge is not in the green (or proper pressure area)

Extinguishers must be inspected by a licensed fire extinguisher maintenance contractor once a year in the intervening 5 years.

Service and placement

To request service, additional extinguishers, or replacements, contact:
  • On campus: See How to Request Facilities Management Services
  • At UC San Diego Medical Center-Hillcrest:
    Facilities Engineering Help Desk, (619) 543-6454
  • At UC San Diego Medical Center-Thornton:
    Facilities Engineering Help Desk, (858) 657-6400


Take the mystery and fear out of when and how to use a fire extinguisher with training.

For more information, contact EH&S Fire & Life Safety, (858) 534-3659.
Notice: In case of fire, your first responsibility is to escape unharmed and sound the alarm. Use a fire extinguisher only if you have been trained to use one and you have a clear exit path behind you.