Fires are separated into different classes. Depending on the type of fuel that is burning, each of these classes requires a different type of extinguisher. If the wrong extinguisher is used for the wrong fire, it can be incredibly dangerous and increase the risk to the user.
Class F fires are caused by the ignition of cooking oils and fats. These fires occur when the oils or fats reach their flash point – which is around 315 degrees. At 340 degrees, cooking oils and fats can achieve auto-ignition, these fires are extremely dangerous and can spread very quickly.
In order to extinguish a Class F fire, you will need to use a Wet Chemical Extinguisher. Every other type of extinguisher is unsuitable for this type of fire. The wet chemical extinguisher works by forming a layer on top of the burning oil which prevents oxygen from reaching and worsening the fire.
When using a wet chemical extinguisher, it is important to remain a safe distance from the actual fire itself and position the extinguisher above the flames, squeeze the lever to release the chemical spray allowing it to fall onto the fire from above. This will suffocate the fire and reduce the flame.
An F Class fire is particularly common in domestic and commercial kitchens. To try and minimise the risk of this type of fire breaking out it is vital that any pans of hot oil or fat are not left unattended, any spillages of these should also be cleaned up as quickly as possible, too.
When cooking with oils and fats, make sure open flames and hobs are turned off when they are no longer needed. While these may not result in a Class F fire, they can easily turn into fires of other classifications.
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