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Best Tips and Techniques for Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Understanding Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Wet chemical fire extinguishers contain a specially formulated solution that is primarily composed of potassium acetate or potassium citrate. This solution is known as the extinguishing agent. The extinguishing agent is often mixed with water to create a highly effective and low-velocity discharge that minimizes the risk of splashing hot oils or spreading the fire. Wet chemical extinguishers may also contain surfactants, which help in breaking down and cooling the hot oil or grease, making it less likely to reignite.

How wet chemical extinguishers work:

  • Wet chemical fire extinguishers are designed to combat Class F fires, which involve cooking oils, fats, or grease fires commonly found in kitchens.

  • When the extinguisher is activated, it releases the wet chemical solution in the form of a fine mist or spray, covering the burning surface.

  • The wet chemical mist forms a layer on top of the hot oil or grease, creating a barrier that suppresses the flames by cutting off the fire's oxygen supply.

  • Additionally, the solution's cooling properties help to reduce the temperature of the burning oil, further preventing re-ignition.

Why wet chemical extinguishers are effective:

  • Wet chemical fire extinguishers are highly effective against Class F fires because they address the specific challenges posed by hot cooking oils and fats.

  • The extinguishing agent's ability to create a barrier and cool the fire source makes it particularly effective at quickly extinguishing kitchen fires.

  • Wet chemical extinguishers have a longer-lasting suppression effect compared to some other types of fire extinguishers, reducing the risk of rekindling.

  • Their low-velocity discharge minimizes the chances of splashing, which is crucial in high-temperature cooking environments.

kitchen fire

Kitchen Fires: Causes, Extinguishing, and Safety Measures

Kitchen fires are a common type of fire emergency, typically involving the ignition of cooking materials such as oil, grease, and food debris. Common causes of kitchen fires include unattended cooking, overheated oils, grease buildup on stovetops and ovens, flammable kitchen towels or curtains, and faulty kitchen appliances. Kitchen fires can escalate rapidly due to the presence of flammable materials and high temperatures, making them particularly dangerous if not promptly and correctly addressed.

Cooking Oil and Grease Fires - One of the most frequent culprits of kitchen fires is cooking oil or grease. When heated to a high temperature, oil and grease can easily ignite, leading to a dangerous situation. Here are some precautions to take to prevent oil and grease fires:

1. Never leave cooking unattended: It's essential always to keep an eye on what you're cooking. If you need to step away from the stove, turn it off.

2. Keep a lid nearby: If a small fire does break out in a pan, having a lid nearby can help smother the flames. Simply place the lid over the pan to cut off the oxygen supply and extinguish the fire.

3. Use a deep fryer with caution: Deep frying can be particularly hazardous due to the large amount of hot oil involved. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe use, and never overfill the fryer.

4. Regularly clean your stove and oven: Built-up grease and food particles can become flammable. Regular cleaning can help prevent these substances from catching fire.

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Electrical Appliance Malfunctions - Many of us rely on various electrical appliances in the kitchen, such as toasters, microwaves, and blenders. While these devices make cooking more convenient, they can also pose fire hazards if not used and maintained properly:

1. Inspect cords and plugs: Check your appliances' cords and plugs for any signs of damage, such as fraying or exposed wires. Replace damaged cords immediately.

2. Avoid overloading outlets: Plugging too many appliances into a single outlet can overload the circuit and increase the risk of a fire. Use power strips with built-in surge protectors when needed.

3. Unplug when not in use: If you're not using an appliance, unplug it. This not only saves energy but also reduces the risk of an electrical malfunction.

4. Follow manufacturer's instructions: Always adhere to the usage and maintenance guidelines provided by the manufacturer. This includes recommended cleaning procedures and safety precautions.

Combustible Materials Near Stovetops - Another common kitchen fire hazard is having combustible materials too close to stovetops. Items like dish towels, paper towels, and wooden utensils can catch fire if they come into contact with a hot burner or open flame:

1. Maintain a clear workspace: Ensure there are no flammable materials within a few feet of your stovetop. Designate a safe area for items like dish towels, and never leave them on the stovetop while cooking.

2. Use oven mitts: When handling hot pots and pans, use oven mitts or potholders made of fire-resistant materials. This reduces the risk of accidental contact with combustible items.

3. Store flammable items properly: Keep flammable materials, such as paper towels and cooking oils, in a cool, dry place away from heat sources.

4. Install a backsplash: A backsplash made of non-flammable material behind your stovetop can help prevent flames from spreading to nearby walls or cabinets.

wet chemical fire extinguisher

Tips and techniques for safely using wet chemical extinguishers:

1. Assess the Situation: Rapidly evaluate the fire's dimensions and possible dangers. Confirm the availability of an unobstructed escape route in case the fire escalates beyond control. Take into account the surrounding environment and any potential sources of combustible materials that may exacerbate the situation.

2. Activate the Extinguisher: Initiate the extinguishing process by withdrawing the safety pin and directing the nozzle towards the fire's base, ensuring it avoids direct contact with the burning oil or grease. This strategic positioning helps create an effective barrier while minimizing the risk of spreading the fire to adjacent surfaces or objects.

3. Handle the Extinguisher with Precision: With utmost care, gently squeeze the extinguisher's handle to release the wet chemical agent while maintaining a prudent distance from the fire source. Exercise precise control over the discharge to maximize the agent's coverage and effectiveness.

4. Employ a Sweeping Motion: In a methodical fashion, shift the nozzle from side to side to ensure the uniform dispersion of the extinguishing agent across the surface of the burning oil. This technique should persist until the fire has been fully quelled. Be mindful of the importance of consistent coverage to prevent potential re-ignition.

5. Anticipate Re-Ignition: Even after the initial suppression, remain vigilant, as there exists the potential for rekindling. Be prepared to reapply the extinguisher if circumstances necessitate it. Monitor the area for any signs of residual heat or smouldering, and be ready to act promptly.

6. Evacuate When Necessary: In situations where the fire proves uncontrollable, rapidly intensifies, or if there is any uncertainty regarding safety, prioritize the evacuation of all individuals from the area. Dial the emergency services or fire department immediately to report the situation and ensure professional assistance is en route.

7. Await Professional Intervention: Following the utilization of the extinguisher, it remains imperative to await the arrival of the fire department. Their expertise is essential to confirm the complete extinguishment of the fire, conduct a thorough safety assessment, and address any residual hazards that may persist. Cooperation with professionals is essential for a comprehensive and secure resolution of the incident.

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