In every home, the kitchen is the heart of the house, where delectable meals are prepared with love. However, it’s also a place where fires can break out unexpectedly, turning a peaceful cooking session into a chaotic and dangerous situation. This is where a kitchen fire extinguisher comes to the rescue. In this article, we will delve into kitchen fire safety and explore the importance of readily available kitchen fire extinguishers.
Understanding Kitchen Fires
Common Causes of Kitchen Fires
There are a few common things that start kitchen fires. Before leaving the room:
- Check your appliances to ensure they are not on.
- Leave food to cook for a maximum of a few minutes.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach of kids if you have them over.
- Don’t leave kids alone in the kitchen either, and keep cooking oil away from pilot lights or open flames to avoid fires.
When you’re done cooking on a stove, please turn off the hob and never leave it on while you sleep.
The Fire Triangle
Before diving into the types of extinguishers, it’s crucial to comprehend the Fire Triangle, which consists of three elements necessary for a fire to ignite: heat, fuel, and oxygen. A kitchen fire extinguisher works by disrupting this triangle to extinguish the fire.
Fire is always a risk whether you’re a professional chef or just cooking at home. When oil in a pan catches fire, the situation can quickly spiral out of control.
Do not use water if at all possible. It will cause an explosion in the pan if it comes into contact with hot oil or grease. Take the pan off the hob and cover it with a metal lid. If this is impossible or the fire persists, a Class B dry chemicals extinguisher, standard equipment in most commercial kitchens, should be used. Before using the extinguisher, however, you should move as far away from the fire as possible, preferably to the opposite end of the kitchen. If the extinguisher is fired from too close of a distance, the pressure it maintains could cause the fire to spread to other parts of the kitchen. Both options are effective in putting out a fire because they involve removing one of the three components of the fire triangle—heat, fuel, or oxygen.
Types of Kitchen Fire Extinguishers
There are three primary kitchen fire extinguishers, each designed to combat specific types of fires.
Class ABC Extinguishers: This type of extinguisher is suitable for Class A (wood, paper, textiles), Class B (flammable liquids), and Class C (electrical fires) fires. It covers the most common types of fires you might encounter in the kitchen.
Class F Extinguishers: Class F fires start in the kitchen and are typically caused by igniting oils and fats. When fats and oils in the kitchen get to their flashpoint, fires break out. Usually, the flashpoint of these oils is around 315°c, and the autoignition temperature of these components is around 340°c.
Oil and fat fires are particularly dangerous because they can spread quickly. Food preparation facilities such as restaurants and households are often the target of Class F fires. Never abandon a pan on the stove that contains hot oil. When a Class F fire occurs, using the correct fire extinguisher is extremely important. Using extinguishing agents that aren’t appropriate could cause the fire to become volatile and worsen the situation.
Choosing the Right Kitchen Fire Extinguisher
Different fire extinguishers exist to deal with the wide variety of materials that can start and spread a fire. If a fire breaks out in the building, having the right fire safety equipment means you can put it out fast and successfully. Ensure you are constantly in the path of escape when fighting a fire.
Recommended Kitchen Fire Extinguishers For All Types of Fires
In the UK, it’s important to have a kitchen fire extinguisher that can handle various types of fires commonly encountered in a kitchen setting. Recommended fire extinguishers suitable for all types of kitchen fires are as follows:
StaySafe All-in-1 Fire Extinguisher
The All-in-1 Liquid Fire Extinguisher by Stay Safe is an absolute game-changer regarding fire safety. Its versatile functionality offers protection against a wide range of fire types, including electrical, cooking oil, textiles, petrol/diesel, paper/card, motor oil, and bio-ethanol fires. This means that this extinguisher has covered you whether you’re dealing with a kitchen mishap, a garage emergency, or an electrical malfunction.
Firexo 9 Litre 7 in 1 Fire extinguisher for ALL FIRES
Whether you need fire safety at home, work, in your car, or anywhere else, the Firexo ALL FIRES 9 Litre extinguisher has covered you. Its versatility and environmental consciousness make it a top choice for anyone looking for peace of mind and a greener approach to fire safety.
With its ability to tackle all fire classes, from A to F, including Lithium-ion Battery Fires, it’s a versatile and reliable choice for any environment. This extinguisher’s unique feature of covering such a broad range of fires eliminates the need for multiple extinguishers, making it a cost-effective and space-saving solution.
Proper Placement and Installation
When deciding where to keep your fire extinguisher, there are a few factors to consider. Place it so that the public can easily access it. It should also not be in a high-traffic area, which could cause more harm than good.
POSITIONING OF FIRE EXTINGUISHER
Within 30 feet of the stove is one of the best places to keep a kitchen fire extinguisher. This is where an exposed and open flame could start a fire. Oil splatter, burning food and gas are all examples of flammable combustibles in the kitchen. Remember to place a kitchen fire extinguisher in a visible and easily accessible location. This will help in the prevention of accidents.
Another great location in a domestic setting where space is limited is near appliances. Place an extinguisher near any devices that could catch fire, such as microwaves or dishwashers. You can hang smaller extinguishers on the wall if your kitchen is small.
How to Use a Kitchen Fire Extinguisher
This section will discuss using a kitchen fire extinguisher effectively, emphasizing the P.A.S.S. (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) technique.
PULL THE PIN – The safety pin is between the release lever and the carrying handle. The levers cannot be used or locked if the pin is intact. This will compromise the tamper-evident seal.
AIM DOWN – Contrary to what we see on television and in the movies, where others throw the nozzle everywhere, aiming it at the base of the fire and everything nearby is more prudent and effective. This will ensure the fire does not spread further and does not grow larger. Be careful when handling the nozzle, as it can become extremely cold and irritate the skin.
SQUEEZING – Press the lever tightly to remove the pin and nozzle. This will guarantee uninterrupted discharge.
SWEEP – Ensure the nozzle is aimed at the base and sweep the extinguisher from side to side to cover the entire area.
Many successfully extinguished a small fire using this method; however, you should only attempt to extinguish a fire within your capabilities.
Maintenance and Inspection
If you install fire extinguishers in locations more susceptible to rust, impact, or tampering, you should inspect them more frequently.
Document the monthly inspections by attaching a tag or label to the extinguisher or recording the information in paper or digital files. The following items must be noted:
- Month and year of the examination
- The individual conducting the examination
These records need to be maintained for at least 12 months.
Preventing Kitchen Fires
- Never leave the stove unattended while it is in use– While frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food, you must remain in the kitchen. Turn off the stove if you have to leave the room, even temporarily.
- Keep your kitchen free of flammable material– Keep flammable items, including food packaging, oven mitts and towels, away from your hob.
- Create a no-children zone– Leave at least three feet of space around your stove and other places where you cook hot food.
- Turn pot handles towards the stove’s rear– This prevents accidental contact and prevents children from grabbing them.
- Maintain a fire extinguisher close by– Ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher and know how to use it properly.
- Maintain clean cooking equipment– Fire hazards include crumbs in a toaster, accumulated grease on a hob and excessive dust behind appliances.
- Utilise short, fitted, or tightly rolled sleeves– If loose clothing comes into contact with a gas flame or an electric hob, it can catch fire.
- Never discard hot grease in the trash– Allow grease to cool before dumping it. Avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain.
- If you are tired or intoxicated, avoid using kitchen appliances.
What to Do in Case of a Kitchen Fire
Adhering to safe cooking practices can reduce the likelihood of fire or injury. If a fire occurs, it is essential to be prepared.
Your safety is paramount– If you cannot safely extinguish a fire, exit the building immediately, close the door behind you to contain the blaze, and dial 9-9-9(United Kingdom).
Suffocate grease fires– Put a lid on the pan, turn off the stove, and leave it covered until it cools down. This will put out a small grease fire.
Contain any oven or microwave fires- Turn off the heat and close the door until you completely extinguish the fire.
In conclusion, a kitchen fire extinguisher is crucial for safeguarding your home and loved ones from the unexpected threat of kitchen fires. Understanding the different types, proper usage, and maintenance requirements empowers you to act swiftly in a fire emergency. You can cook with trust and peace of mind if you put safety first and follow the tips in this guide.
Kitchen Fire Extinguisher F.A.Q.s
How often should I check my kitchen fire extinguisher?
You should regularly check your extinguisher every month to ensure it is ready for action.
Can I use a regular fire extinguisher in the kitchen?
A fire extinguisher designed for kitchen fires is best, as it specifically formulates for the types of fires commonly found in kitchens.
Are there any expiration dates for kitchen fire extinguishers?
Yes, kitchen fire extinguishers have expiration dates, and replacing them when they expire is essential.
What should I do if I don’t have a kitchen fire extinguisher?
You should absolutely get a fire extinguisher for your kitchen. In the absence of one, call emergency services immediately.
Can I reuse a kitchen fire extinguisher after using it once?
It would be best to replace or professionally recharge a kitchen fire extinguisher once you have used it to ensure it’s ready for future emergencies.