What is the Right Fire Extinguisher for Commercial Kitchens?

Posted May 13, 2022 by Koorsen Fire & Security

Kitchen Fire Suppression System Stock Photo

Multi-purpose Class ABC fire extinguishers are great for general fire protection within homes and businesses. Every home and business should have at least one Class ABC fire extinguisher on each level.

However, it is important to know that Class ABC fire extinguishers are not suitable for commercial kitchens. For commercial kitchens, you need Class K fire extinguishers.

Continue reading to learn:

  • Why Class ABC fire extinguishers do not work for cooking fires
  • How Class K and Class ABC fire extinguishers are different
  • How Koorsen Fire & Security can help you protect your commercial kitchen

Why Cooking Fires Do Not Respond to ABC fire extinguishers

Class ABC fire extinguishers use dry chemicals and are designed to put out a wide variety of fires including:

But, they are not designed to put out grease/oil fires caused by burning vegetable-based and animal-based cooking oils and greases. For putting out these types of fires, a Class K fire extinguisher is necessary.

One reason that cooking fires do not respond to Class ABC fire extinguishers is because of the higher temperatures reached by burning cooking oils and grease compared to other liquid-based fires. The dry chemicals used by Class ABC fire extinguishers are unable to sufficiently cool down the burning cooking oils and grease to prevent them from reigniting.

How Class K Fire Extinguishers Are Different and How They Work

Fire Extinguisher Class K Graphic

Class K fire extinguishers are visibly distinguishable from Class ABC fire extinguishers based on their color. Class K fire extinguishers have a silver/chrome color while Class ABC fire extinguishers are usually red.

In terms of contents, Class K fire extinguishers are wet chemical, while Class ABC fire extinguishers are dry chemical.

In addition, the mechanism by which Class ABC and Class K fire extinguishers put out fires is different:

  • The mechanism by which Class ABC fire extinguishers operate is to coat the burning fuel with a fine layer of dust, typically a combination of monoammonium phosphate and ammonium sulfate. The fine layer of dust interferes with the chemical reaction needed to sustain the fire.

  • The mechanism by which Class K fire extinguishers operate is to saponify the fuel using alkaline chemicals such as potassium carbonate, potassium acetate, or potassium citrate. In this process, the chemicals dispensed by the Class K fire extinguisher react with the burning cooking oil or grease and together turn into a soapy foam. The foam separates the fuel, heat, and oxygen that fires need to continue burning. Not only do Class K fire extinguishers put out fires, they also protect against reignition/reflash.

Being general use fire extinguishers, it is recommended that Class ABC extinguishers be located in multiple easy-to-access places throughout a building, including hallways and pathways. Signs, arrows, and lights should be installed to provide directions to the nearest fire extinguisher.

Class K fire extinguishers should always be located and properly mounted between 10ft-30ft from the cooking station and must be in the path of egress.

Regardless of the class of the fire extinguisher, it is important that the extinguisher be regularly maintained and inspected for damage and tampering.

In the event of a kitchen fire, water should never be used to try to extinguish the fire. The cooking oils and greases commonly used in kitchens are not absorbed by water. Instead, the water serves only to splatter and spread the burning oil or grease, making the fire situation worse.

Let Koorsen Fire & Security Help You Protect Your Commercial Kitchen

If you want your commercial kitchen to have the best fire protection possible, let Koorsen Fire & Security help.

Since 1946, Koorsen has been working with customers to develop individualized fire protection solutions.

The highly-trained technicians at Koorsen have the experience and expertise to ensure your commercial kitchen is equipped with everything needed to keep your property, staff, and customers safe in the event of a fire.

Fire protection equipment that Koorsen installs and services include:

Not only does Koorsen offer the fire protection equipment that your commercial kitchen needs, but they also provide comprehensive fire safety training to make sure the equipment is used properly.

Talk to an expert at Koorsen Fire & Security today and make sure your commercial kitchen remains safe in the event of a fire.

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher, Commercial Kitchen

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Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is believed to be reliable, but Koorsen Fire & Security assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this article. It does not constitute professional advice. The user of this article or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information's accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction should be contacted for code interpretations.