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