A kitchen is a dangerous place. We all know that grease fires can be catastrophic to your premises, as well as extremely deadly. Also, did you know that the most common cause of death from a home fire is cooking gone wrong? When you combine these two facts, it becomes clear why choosing the right fire extinguisher for your kitchen is so important. There’s a lot to consider when choosing your kitchen fire extinguisher. You need something that is easy to use, but also effective against grease fires or electrical fires, potentially both. You also want something that will be able to put out a fire quickly in order to minimise damage and prevent injury. Luckily, we’ve got all the information you need to make sure your family stays safe when they’re cooking! Learn what a kitchen fire extinguisher is by reading on.
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Kitchen Fire Statistics:
The Most Dangerous Room in the House
The kitchen is factually the most dangerous room in your house. Additionally, according to the National Fire Protection Association, statistically, the kitchen has the highest fire death rate, injury rate and loss rate of any room in a home. In fact, according to data collected by the NFPA over 20 years (1996-2016), kitchens have accounted for nearly 50% of all residential fires that resulted in death or injury.
The NFPA estimates more than 54% of these fatal fires occurred while cooking; another 24% happened while people were eating or drinking; 12% started with an electrical fault; 9% from smoking materials such as cigarettes and cigars; 4% from candles; 3% from heating equipment (e.g., space heaters); 2% from flammable liquids like gasoline or paint thinner; and 1%, not surprisingly given its prevalence among adults ages 55+, was attributed to alcohol use.
Kitchen Fire Combustibles
Fats and Oils: Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers
Firstly, in the event that a fire breaks out in your kitchen, it’s important to understand which combustible is at the source. Using the wrong kitchen fire extinguisher could aid in spreading the fire and could cause the blaze to become uncontrollable.
Generally, it’s most likely to be caused by fats and cooking oils. Mostly these fires will occur due to negligence. Uncleanliness, leaving oils, fats and pans unattended. It’s important to maintain a clean environment and remove old oils from surfaces as well as keep an eye on food whilst it’s cooking. So, what kitchen fire extinguisher do we need? Well, cooking oils and fats, although flammable liquids, are not Class B fires. In fact, technically cooking oils and fats are a sub-class of flammable liquids, also known as Class F.
Why aren’t they Class B? They have been split into their own category as their flash point is substantially higher than the typical liquid fire. An excess of 340°C is needed to ignite these fires and therefore have been recognised as a very different threat.
These combustible materials are highly flammable and burn a lot hotter than the typical fire. If oils spill or drip onto something else that’s hotter, like an oven, the fat will ignite much like gasoline would.
Wood and Cloth: Water Mist Fire Extinguishers
In the kitchen, there are a lot of wooden surfaces and objects. In addition, cloth towels and cleaning cloths are easily combustible. If they are left to dry near an open flame or appliance, they can ignite and cause a fire. Fortunately, these fires are fairly easy to tackle and simply using a Class A fire extinguisher would be sufficient. Water mist extinguishers are the safest option. Due to their versatility, a water mist fire extinguisher is able to tackle Class A, B, C and electrical fires. This, combined with a wet chemical fire extinguisher, will be enough to keep your kitchen or restaurant safe.
- A Class F kitchen fire extinguisher is designed to put out combustible oil fires.
- A Class A kitchen fire extinguisher is designed to put out combustible solid fires.
- Class F fire extinguisher types typically use foam or potassium acetate to extinguish cooking oils.
- Class A fire extinguisher types typically use water to extinguish cloth, wood and paper.
If you’re in your kitchen and spot a small fire on your stovetop, then a regular Class A extinguisher will do just fine. However, if there is any chance that the flames have spread beyond the immediate area where they started, it’s best to use a different type of fire extinguisher, a Class F one with foam-based chemicals in it.
Features Of A Class F Fire Extinguisher in the Kitchen
In a domestic kitchen, commercial kitchen or restaurant, fires are extremely common. To tackle these fires and prevent injuries or damage, we recommend purchasing a Class F fire extinguisher, these are the perfect tool for the job.
Firstly, a Class F kitchen fire extinguisher is typically a wet chemical extinguishing agent. This canary yellow-labelled extinguishing agent is a solution made of potassium. Potassium will act as both a coolant and a preventative measure against splashing and spitting oils. Cooling the flame is vital as this prevents the flame from continuing to spread. Secondly, potassium salts will react with the hot oils and cause saponification. This soapy solution will then coat the surface of the flame and cause asphyxiation as no oxygen will be able to reach the combustible.
Wet chemical fire extinguishers have a wide spray pattern and a long reach. This makes it easier to use in tight areas like kitchens or near ovens and grills. Generally, these are tight areas where you might need to douse flames from a distance before approaching them directly. Also, these fire extinguishers have a low pressure so you don’t have to worry about being blown back when using one. In addition to Class F fires, a wet chemical fire extinguisher can often tackle Class A and Class B fires.
Where to Put A Fire Extinguisher In The Kitchen
A commercial kitchen fire extinguisher is vital. Additionally, we heavily recommend domestic kitchen fire extinguishers. We recommend that commercial premises have two fire extinguishers in their kitchen. An extinguisher capable of tackling Class F fires and another capable of Class A,B & C. This is so that you can quickly and easily put out most fires.
There are a few things to consider when choosing the best place for your fire extinguisher. It should be located in an area where people will see it and use it easily. Also, it should be somewhere that won’t cause too much carnage e.g. in busy footfall areas.
Fire Extinguisher Positioning
One of the best places to put a kitchen fire extinguisher is within 30 feet of the stove. This is where there is an exposed and open flame, likely to cause a fire. Oil splatter, burning food and gas are just some of the common examples of flammable combustibles in a kitchen. It is also important to remember that a kitchen fire extinguisher should be placed in an area where someone can see it and use it easily. This will help prevent accidents from occurring.
- We recommend at least 1 metre away from the oven.
- Within 30 feet of the oven
- Ideally, we would situate the fire extinguisher near an exit door too.
- Keep the fire extinguisher off of the floor on either a stand or bracket.
- It should be placed in a visible location so that anyone entering the room can see it.
- It should be placed in a location where it is easily accessible and not likely to be knocked over.
- It should be placed in a location where it is not likely to be tampered with.
Extinguishers need to be available for easy access. If you leave something inside the oven that catches on fire, it may not be able to be easily seen from the outside of the oven itself.
In a domestic setting where space is limited, another great location is near appliances. You should put an extinguisher next to any appliances that may cause fires such as microwaves or dishwashers. If your kitchen is small you can also mount smaller extinguishers to the wall if necessary.
Make Your Area Safer
Fires happen most often in and around the kitchen and cooking fires, although statistically devastating, are easy to prevent. At OHEAP Fire and Security, we have a few tips you can follow to help to keep your home or business safe.
Firstly, you can make your home safer by being aware of where fires can start. If you identify where the potential combustibles are, we can begin to eradicate the threat before it becomes a problem in the future. Secondly, if a fire was to occur, how would you put it out? Do you have the correct fire extinguisher? Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher?
As a busy place with a lot of activity, commercial kitchens are prone to uncontrollable fires that spread easily. As well as a kitchen fire extinguisher, we would recommend that smoke alarms are installed throughout the premises and that they are tested regularly. In addition, install carbon monoxide detectors near fuel-burning sources such as boilers or open wood fires.
Is Your Kitchen Safe?
In the kitchen, there are some common causes of fires. Check your appliances and make sure they are not switched on when you leave the room. In addition, do not leave cooking unattended for more than a few minutes. If you have children at home remember to keep matches and lighters locked away from them. Also, don’t leave children unattended in the kitchen and keep cooking grease away from open flames or pilot lights to prevent fires. If you must use a stove, turn the burner off when you finish cooking and never leave it on while you sleep.
- Install a stove guard and keep children away from ovens and hotplates.
- Don’t leave your cooking or flames unattended.
- If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.
- Don’t wear loose-fitting clothes or loose-fitting sleeves.
- Don’t keep flammable cloth near the cooker e.g. tea towels or oven mitts.
- Don’t use water to put out oil or fat fires.
- Don’t carry pans of hot oil around the house or restaurant.
- Provide fire safety training to all members of staff.
- Install non-slip flooring or mats in commercial kitchens.
- Install both fire extinguishers and fire blankets in your kitchen.
- Regularly clean old oil and fat from the grill.
- Turn pot handles away from the edge to avoid knocking pans over.
- Install smoke alarms.
- Install heat detectors.
In case of a kitchen fire, the Fire Service usually recommends that you get everyone out of your home and call the Fire and Rescue Service. If a fire is spreading and you are not equipped to deal with it, leave the building immediately and call 999.
In summary, it’s important to know how to use a fire extinguisher. We teach others how different fire extinguishers work and how to properly use these devices. Class F wet chemical fire extinguishers are designed for kitchen fires that occur in both domestic and commercial kitchens. They are very effective in putting out both grease fires and oil fires through the process of saponification. Also, if you already have a fire extinguisher then you should know the type of extinguisher you have and how it works. It’s important to have an understanding of what type of fire extinguisher is needed in your home.
The fire extinguisher should be placed in a visible location so that anyone entering the room can see it. Also, it should be placed in a location where it is easily accessible and not likely to be knocked over. It should be placed in a location where it is not likely to be tampered with. The fire extinguisher should be checked regularly to make sure it is working properly. The area around the fire extinguisher should be kept clear of any obstructions that could prevent easy access to it.
If you have any questions about this article or would like more information on various types of fire extinguishers. Please feel free to contact us!