A Guide to Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers


    We can only be successful in fighting fire if we’re armed with the right extinguisher.

    In this article we’ll be focusing on wet chemical fire extinguishers, lesser-known but vital fire safety equipment for all types of kitchens.

    What is a wet chemical extinguisher?
    A wet chemical extinguisher is purposely designed to put our fires started by cooking oil, fat or grease. It’s an essential kit that every professional kitchen should have.

    Uses of wet chemical extinguishers
    Also known as class F extinguisher, wet chemical extinguishers are effective at putting out fires started by cooking oils, fats or grease. However, they are also capable of dealing fires categorized as class A. Which include flammable materials like paper, textiles or wood.

    In addition, some wet chemical extinguishers also have the capacity douse class B fires, which include flammable liquids like diesel petrol and paint. As a result, it’s always good to know beforehand which fires a wet chemical extinguisher can deal with.

    And you can only know this information by checking the label or consulting a fire safety professional.

    Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

    Where wet chemical extinguishers should not be used
    First, you shouldn’t use wet chemical extinguishers to fight off fires started by petrol, diesel or paint unless expressed otherwise on the label.

    Secondly, the extinguisher should never be used to tackle fires started by flammable gases such as butane or methane. In addition, this extinguisher is not ideal for dealing electrical fires.

    Identifying wet chemical extinguishers
    Each and every extinguisher can be indentified using a label. Wet chemical extinguishers can be identified by a few pointers that include:

    A yellow label with the name “Wet chemical”

    A longer that normal hose

    A fixed extinguisher ID nearby labeled “Wet chemical extinguisher”

    Wet chemical extinguisher sizes

    Whet chemical extinguishers come in a variety of sizes. Obviously, the size you choose will invariably depend on the demands of your commercial kitchen. But the most common sizes you’ll find in the market are 2, 3 and 6 litres.

    fire extinguisherHow does a wet chemical extinguisher work?
    Wet chemical extinguishers utilize potassium compounds to stop fire in two ways. First, when sprayed on the flames, potassium mist cools the fire. And secondly, the resulting chemical reaction causes a soapy-like substance to form on the surface of fire, extinguishing the flames in the process.

    Advantages and disadvantages of wet chemical extinguishers

    Advantage: This is the only extinguisher capable of stopping fires started by cooking oils or fat

    Disadvantage: Can emit toxic fumes and should only be used in well-ventilated areas

    Where are wet chemical fire extinguishers mostly used?
    As stated earlier, these extinguishers are effective at putting out fires cause by cooking oil or fat. Consequently, they can mainly used in professional or commercial kitchens where there’s a lot of cooking activities. Meaning the places you’ll find this type of extinguisher the most include:

    Fish and chips establishments
    Hotel kitchens
    Burger bars
    However, it’s important to note that these extinguishers should never be used in isolation. Such premises also require other types of extinguisher to adequately deal with all types of fire emergencies.

    How to correctly use a Wet Chemical fire extinguisher:
    Fire safety experts are very categorical about fire extinguishers: use the equipment wrongly and you won’t be able to contain a fire emergency. The requirements for using wet chemical extinguishers aren’t different. You have to be extremely careful when using this extinguisher to prevent splashing burning oil or fat onto surrounding location.

    fire extinguisher mounted

    Steps for using a wet chemical extinguisher
    Step 1: Remove the safety pin in order to break the seal
    Step 2: Step back so that you not closer to the fire
    Step 3: If it’s safe, attempt to turn off the source of fire.
    Step 4: Attack the flames from the top while holding the lance at arm’s length. The nozzle should be positioned at least 1 meter from the fire.
    Step 5: Spray the mist slowly in a circular movement. This will enable the form to settle well on the fire’s surface.
    Step 6: Use the all the content in your extinguisher to completely douse the fire.
    If you follow the six steps above there’s no reason why you cannot contain fire in any commercial kitchen. However, your safety comes first; so you should ensure there’s a clear exit path for you to escape incase the fire gets out of hand. Remember, calling for emergency help may be the best course of action to take in some cases.

    Why you should invest in a wet Chemical extinguisher
    Investing in wet chemical extinguisher is not negotiable if you run a commercial kitchen. This is the most effective extinguisher for putting out fires started by cooking oil, fat or grease.

    But as mentioned earlier, you also need to have other extinguishers as you never know what type of fire you could encounter next. Perhaps, it’s a good idea to learn about all the classes of fire and well as the different types of extinguishers out there.

    In addition, taking time to understand the fire safety requirements of your commercial is crucial. For example, if you manage a large kitchen, you may have to acquire a high-capacity wet extinguisher to effectively deal with threat of fire.

    In the end, talking to a fire safety expert is highly advised when planning to equip your facility with different types of extinguishers.

    In Summary
    A wet chemical extinguisher is essential for anyone running a commercial kitchen. It’s ideal for those in charge of professional kitchen environments in restaurants, hotels, burger bars, etc.

    Every establishment should have one, and the good thing it’s easy to order them online.

    But as most fire safety experts will tell you: It’s one thing to own an extinguisher and it’s another to use it correctly.

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