Fire incidents in the kitchen are not very rare. In fact, during the year 2018, fire departments attended to approximately 470 home cooking fires on a daily basis. And, also in 2023, you may face the same accident if you are not taking this seriously.
So, you should keep a fire extinguisher at home for your and your family’s safety.
CO2 fire extinguishers are not recommended for kitchen fires, especially those involving cooking oils. The force of the gas can cause splashing and spread the fire. They are more suitable for flammable liquid and electrical fires.
Keep reading the blog, and you will learn why you should not use a CO2 extinguisher, a better alternative to CO2 for the kitchen, and more.
Kitchen Fires Types
Kitchen fires are a common household hazard with devastating consequences. These fires fall into three categories:
- Grease fires
- Electrical fires, and
- Combustible material fires
Grease fires arise from overheated cooking oils and fats and can spread rapidly.
Electrical fires result from faulty appliances or wiring, and combustible material fires involve items like paper or cloth. To combat such fires effectively, understanding the right fire extinguisher is crucial.
While CO2 extinguishers can tackle electrical and flammable liquid fires, they are not ideal for grease fires due to potential splattering.
A class K fire extinguisher designed for cooking oils and fats is more appropriate.
Why You Should Avoid CO2 Extinguisher For Kitchen Fires
Though CO2 extinguishers are very useful, they are not safe for the kitchen. There are many reasons for this, such as:
Ineffectiveness on Grease Fires
CO2 fire extinguishers, while effective in certain fire scenarios, prove inadequate when dealing with grease fires encountered in kitchens. Grease fires are fueled by cooking oils and fats and can escalate swiftly.
When a CO2 extinguisher is used on a grease fire, it does not effectively eliminate the underlying cause – the high temperature of the oil. This can lead to re-ignition once the CO2 dissipates.
Risk of Fire Spread and Splattering
When a CO2 extinguisher’s high-velocity gas jet hits hot cooking oil, it can cause the oil to splatter, spreading the fire to surrounding areas or onto the user. The forceful dispersion of the grease could intensify the fire’s reach. It makes the situation even more hazardous.
Lack of Cooling Effect
CO2 extinguishers primarily work by displacing oxygen. And it creates an atmosphere where the fire cannot sustain itself. However, they lack the cooling effect that is crucial for extinguishing grease fires.
Cooling reduces the temperature of the fuel, preventing re-ignition. CO2 extinguishers’ inability to cool down the cooking oil hampers their efficacy in suppressing grease fires.
Inadequate Coverage and Displacement
CO2 extinguishers emit gas that quickly disperses into the air. It becomes challenging to achieve proper coverage and displacement in a kitchen fire situation.
Grease fires can involve hidden pockets of burning oil, and without comprehensive coverage, these pockets may remain untouched and capable of reigniting.
Alternative Fire Extinguishers
For kitchen fires, particularly grease fires, using a Class K fire extinguisher is recommended. These extinguishers are specifically designed to handle high-temperature cooking oil fires.
They contain agents that create a foam or mist that cools the oil and creates a barrier to prevent re-ignition. Class K extinguishers are more suitable for the unique challenges posed by kitchen fires.
What Extinguishers You Should Use For Kitchen Fires
When it comes to kitchen fires, selecting the right type of fire extinguisher is crucial. Here are the recommended extinguishers for various types of kitchen fires:
Class K Extinguisher
Specifically designed for kitchen fires involving cooking oils, fats, and greases. Class K extinguishers contain agents that create a foam or mist, cooling the oil and forming a barrier to prevent re-ignition. These extinguishers are highly effective in tackling high-temperature cooking oil fires.
ABC Dry Chemical Extinguisher
Suitable for a range of kitchen fires, including those involving paper, wood, cloth, electrical equipment, and flammable liquids. ABC extinguishers release a dry chemical powder that smothers the fire by interrupting the chemical reaction.
Water Mist Extinguisher
Ideal for kitchen fires caused by solid materials, such as paper, cloth, and wood. Water mist extinguishers release a fine mist that cools the fire and displaces oxygen, suppressing the flames.
Particularly useful for smothering small pan fires, a fire blanket can quickly and effectively cut off the oxygen supply to the flames.
Precaution For Kitchen Fire Safety
To ensure kitchen fire safety, it’s essential to adopt proper precautions. A well-prepared kitchen can prevent potential fire hazards. Here are key precautions to follow:
|Supervision||Never leave cooking unattended. Keep an eye on the stove, oven, or any cooking appliance in use.|
|Fire Extinguishers||Have appropriate fire extinguishers handy, such as a Class K or ABC extinguisher, and know how to use them effectively.|
|Flammable Items||Keep flammable materials like paper towels, dishcloths, and potholders away from stovetops and open flames.|
|Grease Buildup||Regularly clean cooking surfaces and appliances to prevent grease buildup, which can fuel fires.|
|Electric Safety||Ensure that electrical cords and appliances are in good condition, and avoid overloading outlets.|
|Oven and Stove Care||Check that ovens and stoves are turned off after use, and clear away any debris or spills.|
|Pot and Pan Handles||Turn pot and pan handles inward to prevent accidental knocks or spills.|
|Fire Blanket||Keep a fire blanket accessible to smother small pan fires and quickly suppress flames.|
|Smoke Alarms||Install smoke alarms in or near the kitchen, and regularly test their functionality.|
While CO2 fire extinguishers have their merits in specific fire scenarios, their limitations make them less suitable for kitchen fires.
For effective kitchen fire safety, choosing extinguishers designed for cooking oil fires and following proper fire safety practices are paramount to ensuring the well-being of individuals and property in this critical area.
If you’re curious about fire extinguisher safety, especially for kitchen fires, check out our article on Fire Extinguisher Expiration.