Class D Fires

Understanding Class D Fires: Flammable Metal Fires and Their Extinguishing

When it comes to fire safety, it’s crucial to be well-informed about the different classes of fires and the appropriate methods to combat them. In this blog post, we’ll focus on Class D fires, which involve combustible metals and their extinguishment, including the use of specialist fire extinguishers.

Understanding Class D Fires

Class D fires are unique and can be extremely hazardous due to the involvement of combustible metals. These metals include magnesium, titanium, aluminium, sodium, and potassium, among others. When ignited, they burn at extremely high temperatures and can release flammable gases, making them challenging to extinguish with conventional methods.

Class D fires are commonly found in industrial settings, such as manufacturing plants, laboratories, and facilities that handle or store these metals. They can also occur in areas where metal dust is prevalent, such as metalworking shops.

Lithium Fires

Lithium fires are classed as Class D fires. However, Lithium-ion battery fires are not. These can commonly get mixed up. It is important to understand the difference for the safety of yourself and others around you. Lithium fires and lithium-ion battery fires are very different beasts and each has their own problems when it comes to extinguishing.

Lithium fires usually involve pure lithium metal, which is highly reactive when exposed to air or water. These fires are particularly challenging to extinguish due to the intense heat generated during combustion. Specialist L2 Dry Powder fire extinguishers must be used to smother the flames and prevent re-ignition. Unlike other Class D fire extinguishers, the L2 Dry Powder fire extinguisher can handle lithium fires. Lithium fires may occur in environments where lithium is stored or processed, such as laboratories or manufacturing facilities.

When a lithium-ion battery fails, it can release highly flammable electrolytes and gases. Extinguishing these fires requires specialised knowledge and equipment. This often involves the use of their own specialist fire extinguishers specifically designed for lithium-ion battery fires. These fires can occur in various settings where lithium-ion batteries are used, including electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and industrial equipment. To find out more information regarding Lithium-ion battery fires, find our in-depth blog post HERE.

Specialist Fire Extinguishers for Class D Fires

Combatting a Class D fire requires a specialist fire extinguisher designed to tackle the difficult and dangerous class of fire. The most commonly used extinguisher and the one that we offer is the L2 Dry Powder fire extinguisher. Unlike normal Dry Powder fire extinguishers, L2 extinguishers can only be used to fight Class D and Electrical fires. To learn more about the L2 Dry Powder extinguisher and other types of fire extinguishers, find our detailed blog post HERE

When facing a Class D fire, it’s essential to use the appropriate extinguisher for the specific metal involved. 

In conclusion, understanding Class D fires and having access to specialist fire extinguishers is crucial for the safety of individuals and the protection of valuable assets in environments where combustible metals are present. Being well-prepared and knowledgeable about the correct fire extinguishing methods can make a significant difference. This can help prevent disaster and ensure a safer workplace.