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Fire Extinguisher Types and Facts

Fires are classified into five (5) classes. They are described below:

Class A

A fire extinguisher labeled with letter "A" is for use on Class A fires. Class A fires are fires that involve ordinary combustible materials such as cloth, wood, paper, rubber, and many plastics.

Class B

A fire extinguisher labeled with letter "B" is for use on Class B fires. Class B fires are fires that involve flammable and combustible liquids such as gasoline, alcohol, diesel oil, oil-based paints, lacquers, etc., and flammable gases.

Class C

A fire extinguisher labeled with letter "C" is for use on Class C fires. Class C fires are fires that involve energized electrical equipment.

Class D

A fire extinguisher labeled with letter "D" is for use on Class D fires. Class D fires are fires that involve combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium and sodium.

Class K

A fire extinguisher labeled with letter "K" is for use on Class K fires. Class K fires are fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. This is for commercial kitchens, including those found in restaurants, cafeterias, and caterers.

How do I pick the right type of fire extinguisher?

Type ABC Extinguishers are for use with Class A, B and C Fires.

Type BC Extinguishers are for use with Class B and C Fires.

Type K Extinguishers are for Class K Fires.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to discharge the extinguisher.

Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is important - in order to put out the fire, you mush extinguish the fuel.

Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher. If the handle is released, the discharge will stop.

Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out. Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Be sure to read the instructions on your fire extinguisher - different fire extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances. Remember: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!!!

UL300 Wet Chemical Systems

In November, 1994, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) published UL 300 -- the stringent new testing requirements for manufacturers of kitchen hood and duct fire protection systems. These requirements were driven by the fact that many restaurant owners had installed new, high efficiency burners that heated cooking oils to higher temperatures than in the past, and installed new fryers with better insulation that reduced the cooling rate of oils thus keeping them above their auto-ignition point for a longer time. The obvious result was more kitchen fires. The new standard for testing mandates tougher, more realistic tests for fryers, ranges, griddles, certain types of broilers and new woks.

Kitchen System Manufacturers Comply:

The manufacturers of kitchen fire suppression systems were required to redesign and re-test all of their systems in order to comply with UL 300s standards. None of the existing dry chemical systems could pass the new testing requirements. Most wet chemical systems failed as well. Only wet chemical systems with increased flow rates, additional flow points and increased agent capacity have been able to meet UL 300 standards.

What Does This Mean to You?

As an owner of a restaurant, you should seriously consider upgrading to the new UL 300 standard since your current system(s) most likely do not adequately protect your cooking area(s). In addition, area fire marshals have agreed that any new system installed after April 1, 1995, must meet the new UL 300 standard which will likely require an additional cost for you. Also, any current system(s) to which new appliances have been added will require a complete system upgrade to meet the new UL 300 standards.

New wet chemical systems installed after November 20, 1994, are the only systems that are acceptable. If your system was installed prior to November 20, 1994, we strongly recommend replacement with a new UL 300 compliant wet chemical kitchen fire suppression system.

If your kitchen is currently protected by a non-UL 300 compliant fire suppression system, ABT would appreciate the opportunity to work with you to install an effective, new system that will be complaint with all local fire codes.

Contact us for a free price quote