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Posted on December 1, 2014

Do I Need Special Fire Extinguishers for My Kitchen?

Various types of combustible materials are found in commercial buildings. The type of material fueling a fire dictates which type of fire extinguisher you need to keep on hand.

The type of fire extinguisher most people are familiar with is called an ABC fire extinguisher. This is capable of putting out three different kinds of fires:

  • Class A (burning wood, cloth, paper or plastic)
  • Class B (burning liquids including gasoline)
  • Class C (electrical fires).

While the most common, ABC fire extinguishers are not right for commercial kitchens. You need a special fire extinguisher capable of putting out Class K fires, which is when a fire starts due to grease or hot oils igniting.

Restaurant Kitchen Fire Extinguisher: Class K

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) categorizes fires in commercial kitchens as Class K fires because of the high heating rates of vegetable oils and other cooking products commonly used there. As a result, all restaurant kitchens are required by law to have at least one Class K fire extinguisher ready.

As a restaurant owner, you can choose from different types of Class K extinguishers. Many dry chemical extinguishers use potassium bicarbonate as the extinguishing agent. Wet chemical extinguishers spray a fine mist of potassium acetate that forms a soapy foam to suppress vapors and steam to reduce the risk of fire re-flash as the flames go out.

Kitchen Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips

Familiarize yourself with the following safety tips and regulations to make sure you install and use your Class K fire extinguisher correctly:

  • Once a fire starts in a deep fat fryer, traditional range hood fire extinguishing methods are not always enough to put out the fire. Human intervention with the appropriate fire extinguisher may be necessary to smother the flames.
  • Never use a Class A air-pressurized water or carbon dioxide extinguisher to put out a fire in a deep fat fryer. The results could be explosive.
  • In case a fire starts in your restaurant kitchen, only use the Class K fire extinguisher once the built-in hood fire suppression system has been activated. To help your staff remember this detail in the heat of the moment, place a placard on the wall near the Class K fire extinguisher with this reminder.
  • Many Class K extinguishers have extinguishing agents that conduct electricity. This means you should only use the fire extinguisher after electrical power to the kitchen appliance in question has been turned off.
  • Travel distance between kitchen appliances and the Class K fire extinguisher should not exceed 30 feet.

Class K Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Testing & Maintenance

Installing a Class K extinguisher in your restaurant is only the first step. To remain in compliance with NFPA rules and regulations, you must also seek annual services. Far too often, restaurant owners research which extinguisher they need, install it and forget all about it. However, if a fire breaks out four or five years after the initial installation and the fire extinguisher has a problem unbeknownst to you or your staff, you could have a serious fire emergency on your hands.

If you are located in Houston or the Greater Gulf Coast area, contact Kauffman Co. today to schedule a visit. We can help ensure you choose the correct fire extinguisher for your establishment and keep it maintained for years to come.

We provide estimates for new and replacement fire protection systems throughout Texas (TX) in:

  • Alvin
  • Angleton
  • Austin
  • Baytown
  • Beaumont
  • Bellaire
  • Clute
  • Conroe
  • Deer Park
  • Dickinson
  • Freeport
  • Friendswood
  • Galena Park
  • Galveston
  • Houston
  • Humble
  • Huntsville
  • Jacinto City
  • Katy
  • La Marque
  • La Porte
  • Lake Charles, LA
  • Lake Jackson
  • League City
  • Missouri City
  • Orange
  • Pasadena
  • Pearland
  • Port Arthur
  • Richmond
  • Rosenberg
  • San Antonio
  • Schulenburg
  • South Houston
  • Stafford
  • Sugar Land
  • Texas City
  • The Woodlands
  • Victoria
  • Waco
For more information, contact us online or call us now at (713) 893-1090.
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