One common blind spot that we encounter when dealing with our clients is that many of them are surprised to know that there are significant differences between different kinds of fire extinguishers. Most are surprised to learn that extinguishers aren’t some sort of universal tool.

The reality is that there are fire extinguishers of all sorts of shapes and sizes – but most important – the chemical mixtures inside them dictates what kinds of fires they can extinguish. Knowing the differences among extinguishers is important – specifically if you own a commercial space like a restaurant or kitchen. 

One of the more common types of fire extinguishers are called “Class K” extinguishers and you’ll see them in restaurants and commercial kitchens. But what do they do? What kinds of fires can they fight? That’s what we’re here to discuss today.

Here’s everything that you should know about Class K fire extinguishers. Let’s jump right in!

What’s A Class K Fire?

Class K fires are started by things like flammable cooking liquids like oil or grease. These are particularly volatile substances as they are capable of igniting and spreading quickly. They’re commonly seen in commercial kitchens, restaurants – but can also be found in places like food trucks, cafeterias and any place where food is sold en masse. If you own a business or have a business with one of these kinds of spaces, then you’ll want to make sure you have a Class K fire extinguisher equipped. 

So How Does The Class K Extinguisher Fight These Fires?

Class K extinguishers use special agents that simultaneously separate and absorb the hot elements of the fire – things like the fuel and the oxygen. Class K extinguishers are filled with a mixture of potassium based chemicals that mix in with cooking grease and create a blanket that not only cools the liquid, but also blocks oxygen, thereby extinguishing the fire. Don’t ever try to extinguish Class K fires with water as it’ll only make things worse. 

Is Your Kitchen Prepared For The Worst?

Along with having Class K extinguishers at the ready, you should also have some sort of fire suppression system installed by a licensed fire protection company. This makes sure there’s proper design, installation and inspections occurring. You should also train your employees in what to do if there’s ever an emergency – from clearing spaces to using the extinguishers themselves. And of course, prevention should always be top of mind so that employees learn how to avoid situations that lead to fires in the first place. 

Hopefully, these tips bring your fire safety needs into a little bit clearer focus. Whatever the needs are for your commercial kitchen, you can give us a call.