Why Restaurants Need Class K Fire Extinguishers
According to the United States Fire Administration’s (USFA’s) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), approximately 7,410 restaurant building fires occur each year, causing nearly $200 million in property losses. Of these fires, approximately 61% are caused by cooking equipment. Class K Fire Extinguishers can help, find out more below!
Commercial cooking equipment, like deep fryers, griddles, ranges and woks, can be particularly dangerous. Not only are they designed to heat food quickly and at extreme temperatures, but they are also often used with or around flammable oils, fats and grease.
Should these combustible materials ignite at your restaurant, they can be difficult to extinguish. In fact, using the wrong extinguisher on these blazes can cause fires to spread. Even a Class B fire extinguisher, which is designed to extinguish flammable liquids, may not be adequate to protect your restaurant, employees and patrons.
To help businesses address risks related to oil, fat and grease fires, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires the use of Class K fire extinguishers. Read on to see what these are and considerations related to their use.
Generally, all fires are classified by the type of fuel that feeds them. These classifications are used to help individuals determine what extinguishing agents are effective in combating a particular blaze.
For restaurants, Class K fires are particularly common and are fueled by flammable liquids unique to cooking practices, such as vegetable- and animal-based oils, fats and greases. In order to control and put out such fires, a specialized extinguishing agent is required—a Class K fire extinguisher.
Class K fire extinguishers are designed to put out oil and fat fires. A Class K fire extinguisher uses an alkaline mixture that, when sprayed on a blaze, combines with the fatty acids in oils and fats to create a foam that holds in vapors and puts out the fire.
The NFPA requires businesses to keep Class K fire extinguishers no more than 30 feet away from any cooking appliances that use combustible cooking media (e.g., vegetable oil).
As with other portable fire extinguishers, Class K fire extinguishers must be maintained in accordance with NFPA 10—Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers.
Inspections on Class K Fire Extinguishers
Furthermore, Class K fire extinguishers must be inspected monthly. During these inspections, you will need to confirm the following:
- The extinguisher is located in a designated area.
- The extinguisher is easy to access and readily visible.
- The pressure gauge on the extinguisher reads in the green range.
- The hose and nozzle of the extinguisher are in good condition. The safety pin must also be in place.
- Annual maintenance has been performed by a qualified professional fire extinguisher service provider and documented with a tag showing the date the maintenance occurred.
In addition to the above, businesses must also complete a more in-depth inspection at least annually and perform a hydrostatic test every five years.
Protecting Your Business, Employees and Customers
Utilizing the appropriate fire extinguisher at your restaurant not only protects your business, but can also safeguard your employees and customers. For more risk management advice, contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. today.
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