Field Notes: The right fire extinguisher for the job

Valerie Tate

Selecting the correct fire extinguisher is important in being able to extinguish a fire in the field or on a piece of equipment. At a minimum, keep one 10-pound, fully-charged ABC fire extinguisher on each piece of equipment. It is recommended that one 10-pound

ABC extinguisher be kept inside the tractor and one 20-pound ABC extinguisher be mounted outside the tractor that can be reached from the ground.

ABC refers to the class of the fire. Class A fires are combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper or hay. Water is the best way to extinguish these fires. Pressurized water extinguishers can be carried on equipment where hay or crop residue may ignite. Class B fires involve things like oils, grease, paint or other flammable liquids. Oxygen deprivation is the best way to extinguish Class B fires. Class C fires are electrical fires.

Carbon dioxide is the best way to put out a Class C fire. Never use water to put out an electrical fire due to the risk of electrical shock. An ABC fire extinguisher is effective at putting out all three types of fires.

Visually inspect extinguishers monthly for cracks in the hose and that the gauge indicates the extinguisher is fully charged. Invert the extinguisher several times and shake vigorously to ensure the powder inside has not become compacted from vibrations of the machine. Have a professional inspect fire extinguishers annually.

If a fire occurs, call 9-1-1 before attempting to put out the fire. The U.S. Fire

Administration encourages you to remember P.A.S.S. Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep. Pull the pin with the nozzle pointing away from you to release the locking mechanism. Aim at the base of the fire. Squeeze the trigger slowly and evenly to release the contents. Sweep from side to side to extinguish the fire. A shovel to cover a fire with dirt and a leaf blower can also be helpful in the event of a fire.

For more information contact Valerie Tate, field specialist in agronomy for University of Missouri Extension at or at 660-895-5123. University of Missouri Extension programs are open to all.