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Occupational Safety Procedures - Dry

Occupational Safety Training of Catawba Valley Community College

Dry Chemical (ABC, BC and DC) Extinguishers

Dry Chemical Extinguisher

Dry Chemical Extinguishers come in a variety of types. You may see them labeled:


"DC" short for "dry chem"


"ABC" indicating that they are designed to extinguish class A, B, and C fires


"BC" indicating that they are designed to extinguish class B and C fires.


ABC extinguishers are red and range in size from 5 lbs to 20 lbs on campus.


It is extremely important to identify which types of dry chemical extinguishers are located in your area.

Read the labels and know their locations! You don't want to mistakenly use a "BC" extinguisher on a Class A fire, thinking that it was an "ABC" extinguisher.

Class ABC Fire Extinguisher Label

An "ABC" extinguisher will have a label like this, indicating that it may be used on class A, B and C fires.

Dry chemical extinguishers put out fire by coating the fuel with a thin layer of dust, separating the fuel from the oxygen in the air. The powder also works to interrupt the chemical reaction of fire, so these extinguishers are extremely effective at putting out fire.

These extinguishers will be found in a variety of locations. New buildings will have them located in public hallways. They may also be found in laboratories, mechanical rooms, break rooms, chemical storage areas, offices, college vehicles, etc.

Dry chemical extinguishers with powder designed for Class B and C fires may be located in places such as commercial kitchens or areas with flammable liquids.