Category: Fire Safety

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A Guide to Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems

A Starter Guide to Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems

Establishing safety measures for fires is a critical priority for all businesses and residents. Still, it is especially vital for operations that regularly use fire and flammable materials. Restaurant operations engage in a host of activities that carry a high risk for fires. The regular use of heat, deep fryers, open flames, and hot ovens combined with the use of fat, grease, oils, and smoke. These various elements make for a volatile environment for fire safety and create a demand for a restaurant fire suppression system.

 

The risk of a kitchen fire getting out of control is a constant threat for restaurants. Kitchens present ample opportunity for a tiny spark or random flame to grow into a full blaze quickly. These conditions threaten to ruin expensive equipment and valuable resources while also risking the building and its staff. There are few business operations that necessitate a capable and dynamic fire suppression system more than a restaurant.

 

This article offers an essential guide to restaurant fire suppression systems, including recommendations on how to choose a system and what types of designs are available.

 

 

What to Know about Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems

Let’s first spend a little more time understanding the unique nature of risk to restaurant fire safety. The use of grease, oils, and fats is a specifically high threat since they function as abundant fuel for a fire. To make matters more complex, traditional fire suppression systems such as water sprinklers are ineffective at dispensing fire that results from these elements. In fact, applying water to hot oils, grease, and fat often makes the threat worse. Water commonly displaces the elements of fuel, spreading them around and causing a fire to grow.

 

For these reasons, restaurant fire suppression systems have been uniquely developed to quell the rapid spread of fire fueled by the elements of oil, grease, and fat. Fire suppression systems for restaurants use a unique set of formulas and designs to be effective against fire in these environments.

 

 

How Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems Function

Many fire suppression systems are built directly into an exhaust hood. These integrated builds require specific configurations to remain compliant with safety protocols. For instance, large flat surfaces require nozzles to be installed directly overhead. In contrast, enclosed or partially enclosed equipment requires nozzles are pointed directly inside the equipment.

 

Through a device called a fusible link, the suppression system is designed to identify a specific temperature. It will then trigger the deployment of wet chemical to extinguish a fire and prevent it from spreading.  This allows for automatic operation of the system.   In addition, the system can be manually activated by a manual pull station – similar to how a building fire alarm is activated.  Upon activation, the fire suppression system will discharge wet-chemical to all protected appliances and into the exhaust hood area above the filters and into the exhaust duct.  It also cut off the fuel flow to any equipment upon activation– whether it be gas or electric.  This helps prevents re-ignition after the fire system discharge is complete.

 

The wet-chemical is delivered to each individual hazard thru a specific nozzle that is designed for that appliance, exhaust hood or exhaust duct.  A properly installed and maintained fire suppression system ensures proper extinguishment in the event of an appliance fire – and also provides protection in the exhaust hood and duct to prevent the fire from spreading into additional areas of the building, roof, etc.

 

 

Suggestions on Choosing a System

 

Our WFX team can assist in helping you identify the correct choices for your restaurant fire suppression system. Often, experts with diverse experience and training should handle selecting the proper plan for your business needs. These are critical decisions that take into consideration the security of your business and employees, and there are many safety and compliance protocols to consider.

 

In general, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind when making your decision. For one, consider the size of the area that needs to be covered in your restaurant. Secondly, clarify what kinds of cooking equipment is in use by your restaurant, including gas or electric stoves, open flames, fryers, wood-burning and electric ovens, or other types of cooking mechanisms. And, finally, you will want to identify any custom additions that you may need for your specific kitchen.

 

 

Before You Go…

At WFX Fire, Lock, & Security, we are committed to ensuring you have the most reliable and trustworthy resources for your restaurant fire suppression system.

 

Our team can guarantee that your installation is conducted with the utmost professionalism. We can also provide maintenance to ensure your systems keep you safe in the long run.

 

You can schedule a consultation or call us today at 855-WFX-1978.

A Guide to Fixing a Beeping/Broken Smoke Detector

We have all been there. A night of good sleep is disrupted by a constant chirping from somewhere in the house. Or your favorite TV show gets interrupted by a high-pitched beeping noise off in the distance. You think you have an idea where it’s located, but you’re not quite sure.

 

You probably assume it’s the battery. The ladder gets pulled from the garage, and you ascend the steps to replace the thing—hoping it’s the correct fix. But what if it’s not the battery? How do you eliminate the chirping if replacing the battery isn’t the correct fix?

 

We explore a few common causes and offer guidance on how to stop smoke detector from beeping.

 

 

How Do You Stop Smoke Detector from Beeping?

Attending to your smoke detector is of critical importance. The US Fire Administration reports that the risk of death can be cut in half when a home has a working smoke alarm. Each alarm is equipped to alert you when there is an issue with the proper functioning of the unit.

 

These pesky chirping alerts are intended for critical and life-saving purposes. In many cases, the beeping you hear from a smoke detector can be as simple as replacing the battery. But this is not the case in all alarms or situations.

 

 

Common issues and how to stop the chirping

Suppose you have already replaced the battery, and it didn’t stop the smoke detector from beeping. In that case, there may be numerous other issues. It’s essential to consider the following when diagnosing your alarm’s beeping, but you may also want to contact a professional. Keep in mind that these alarms are vital safety devices, and professional help may be well worth it.

 

Battery pull-tab left inside the alarm

The battery pull-tab is essential for preserving the life and quality of your battery. Still, it can cause issues when installing it in your alarm. Check that you have removed this pull-tab to ensure that the battery makes a viable connection and can stop smoke detector from beeping.

 

Open battery drawer

battery bay open on smoke alarm to replaceVarious components make up a smoke detector, and the battery drawer is part of that architecture. It’s easy for this small mechanism to get dislodged or not shut entirely. Ensuring that the drawer is fully closed and latched will prevent the battery from disconnecting and causing the alarm to beep.

 

Obstruction to the terminal

In general, you want to make sure the battery makes a proper connection to the terminals inside the alarm. If you have removed the pull-tab and checked the battery drawer, you can investigate the connection with the terminals to ensure there are no further obstructions. This should stop smoke detector from beeping.

 

Electrical breaker line for hardwired smoke alarms

Not all smoke detectors are powered by batteries. Some are hardwired into the home or building and can be impacted by the electrical panel. If your hardwired alarm is beeping, you will want to attempt a reset on it.

 

You can do this by looking for a breaker on the electrical panel labeled for your alarm. Next, switch the breaker to the off position, wait a couple of minutes, and turn it back on. Confirming the alarm is now working can be done by pushing and holding the test button of the smoke detector. The alarm is appropriately functioning if it makes a few quick sounds and then goes silent.

 

Disruptions to the light beam

Some smoke detectors or smoke detectors come equipped with a light sensor. The sensitivity of these sensors can be set off by various elements like pollen, dust, dirt, or ash. If the beam of light is interrupted by one of these particles, it can cause the alarm to beep. You can clean the sensor using a soft cloth, compressed air, duster, or a vacuum. Be careful to follow the instructions from your manufacturer’s manual.

 

Errors on a smart alarm

Smart technology has made its way to smoke detectors, and the devices are capable of adapting to their environment. But like other smart technology, these smoke detector can store a history of data. If that data shows errors, it can add up to the device registering a mistake that causes the unit to chirp. Resetting the system will clear the errors and restore the device to a functional state, which will stop smoke detector from beeping.

 

Changing temperatures

repairman replaces battery on smoke detectorSmoke detectors can be sensitive to the fluctuation of temperatures in a home or other building. Unusually high or low temperatures can cause an alarm to issue a beeping alert. Reasons for fluctuating temperatures can involve cooking in the kitchen, summer heat, a hot shower, or changing the thermostat. You can resolve these issues by moving alarms that are close to the kitchen or bathrooms or use other methods that reduce hot air from reaching the vents on your smoke detector.

 

Expired smoke detectors

It’s also possible that your smoke detector has reached the end of its lifespan. Eight to ten years is generally the expected range of life for most devices. You can check the manufacture date on the backside of the alarm, which should be a reliable timeframe for determining if the beeping is the result of an outdated alarm. Replacing the alarm as soon as possible is highly recommended.

 

 

Before you go, more smoke detector system safety information…

 

At WFX Fire, Lock, & Security, we are committed to ensuring you have the most reliable and trustworthy resources for your smoke detector systems. Our expert service can ensure that your home or building is always up to date and functioning correctly for your safety.

 

Our team can guarantee that your installation is conducted with the utmost professionalism. We can also provide maintenance to ensure your systems keep you safe in the long run.

 

You can schedule a consultation or call us today at 855-WFX-1978.

What are the different types of clean agent fire suppression systems?

What is a Clean Agent Fire Suppression System?

Traditional fire suppression systems use water sprinklers attached to ceilings or a carbon dioxide-based fire suppression system meant soley for unoccupied buildings. With many facilities now equipped with digital or electronic equipment, the risk of water damage is too high to rely on sprinkler systems. For buildings housing sensitive data storage servers and other computerized devices, the best alternative to water sprinkler or CO2 systems is a clean agent fire suppression system.

clean agent fire suppression line

 

 

FAQs About Different Types of Clean Agent Fire Suppression Systems

 

How Does a Clean Agent Fire Suppression System Work?

Composed of smoke detectors, notification devices and a control panel, a clean agent fire suppression system releases inert gases when smoke detectors signal the control panel that it has “sensed” a rise in air temperature. In addition to extinguishing fires quickly and efficiently, clean agent fire suppression systems do not use water so they cannot damage digital equipment, valuable artwork, data servers and another items vulnerable to destruction by water. Residents or employees of buildings protected by clean agent fire suppression systems are often given notification devices that alert them before clean agents are released.

 

What is the FM 200 Clean Agent Fire Suppression System?

The clean agent compound FM-200 contains hydrogen, fluorine and carbon. With the ability to reach an extinguishing level in a few seconds, FM-200 is considered to be the fastest clean agent system available. Benefits of the FM 200 fire suppression system include:

  • Eliminates the need to pay for expensive water clean-up after a fire
  • Provides fire protection for electronic equipment and industrial machinery that requires flammable liquids to operate
  • Is safe to use around humans as long as guidelines established by the U.S. EPA are followed
  • Extinguishes fires by rapidly absorbing fire-produced heat

 

What is the Novec 1230 Clean Agent Fire Suppression System?

Similar to FM 200 clean agent fire suppression systems, Novec 1230 also extinguishes fires quickly and efficiently and is safe to use in data processing centers, industrial facilities and occupied buildings. The primary difference between the Novec 1230 and the FM 200 is that the Novec 1230 clean agent is a viable alternative to extinguishing agents like hydrofluorocarbon that can’t be included in an HFC phaseout.

Benefits of the Novec 1230 clean agent fire suppression system include:

  • Halon systems may be adapted to use Novec 1230 clean agent fluid instead of halon
  • Zero ozone depleting potential
  • Is eliminated from the atmosphere within five days of dispersal
  • Has minimal storage space requirements
  • Submission for inclusion in CEN and ISO design standards is currently underway

 

What is an Inert Gas Clean Agent Fire Suppression System?

gas-based fire extinguishing systemInstead of removing heat, inert gas systems decrease oxygen levels in areas where fires have started. Inert nitrogen and argon gas molecules dissolve oxygen molecules to prevent fires from being stoked by oxygen. Additionally, individual inert gas clean agent fire suppression systems are developed specifically to reduce oxygen to a predetermined level for maximum fire stoppage.

Benefits of inert gas systems include:

  • Noncorrosive–safe to use around brass, steel, copper, stainless steel and plastic materials
  • Argon and nitrogen will never be designated as hazardous waste. Both gases are found in abundant levels in the Earth’s atmosphere
  • Equipped with an efficient, valve assembly mechanism that rapidly releases inert gases at a safe flow rate
  • Requires less expensive, low pressure piping that extends from nozzle to container
  • Requires smaller venting areas than other clean agent fire suppression systems

 

What Other Different Types of Clean Agent Fire Suppression Systems are Available?

While carbon dioxide fire suppression systems remain popular, they cannot be used in buildings where people live and work. Carbon dioxide suffocates fires by removing large amounts of oxygen from the room. For this reason, carbon dioxide fire suppression systems should only be implemented in unoccupied or minimally occupied buildings with plenty of easy-to-access exits.

Commercial kitchens cannot use FM200, Novec 1230 or inert gas clean agent fire suppression systems due to potential contamination of food. Instead, most food business kitchens rely on chemical foam suppression systems to put out fires. Chemical foam for this purpose contains potassium carbonate and other agents that can safely extinguish fires around food without fear of contaminating edible items.

 

What is Involved with Installing Different Types of Clean Agent Fire Suppression System?

During your free consultation with us, we will discuss things like:

  • Ensuring spaces protected by a clean agent fire suppression system are properly sealed to prevent gases from escaping
  • Possible need for doors not usually closed to be outfitted with special release/closure devices operated automatically by the control panel
  • Possible need to install low-voltage-controlled dampers to shut off exhaust or supply air flow when clean agents are discharged
  • Establishing appropriate locations for control panels that can be surface mounted or flush mounted
  • Establishing appropriate locations for clean agent containers

 

 

Which Clean Agent Fire Suppression System Should Protect My Business?

We can help you determine which fire suppression system is best suited to protect your business by performing a professional evaluation of your company’s building, materials contained in the building and areas of high fire risks. For over 40 years, WFX has earned a stellar reputation for providing superior, state-of-the-art protection against theft, security threats, property threats and fires. Please call WFX +1 (855) 939-1978 to schedule a free consultation appointment or use our convenient email submission form to tell us about your fire protection needs and concerns.

 

A Guide to Understanding the Differences Between Various Types of Fire Suppression Systems

As the common phrase goes: We plan for the worst and hope for the best. Deciding on how to respond to a potential fire threat is critical for businesses of all types. We hope that the need for a response to a fire will never arise, but it’s crucial to plan appropriately.

 

Many of us are familiar with the extended, historical use of water and sprinklers to protect against fires. But the world of fire suppression systems has evolved dramatically over the past century. Resources are now available to us that were not even thought of a half-century ago. Scientific developments have provided considerably more dynamic and suitable means of responding to the ancient threat that fire poses.

 

In this article, we cover the differences between fire protection and fire suppression. And we explore the different primary types of fire suppression systems available.

 

 

What are the different types of fire suppression systems?

Industrial fire suppression systemIn many cases, a distinction exists between fire suppression systems and fire protection systems. The two terms—suppression and protection—overlap in many regards. Some fire safety providers, however, may not distinguish between the terms at all. For the sake of our exploration, fire suppression systems differ from fire protection systems by their use of an alternative to the water used in more traditional fire sprinkler systems.

 

For instance, fire sprinkler systems would be identified under the category of protection. These systems are used across the globe in commercial and residential locations. They rely on various types of water distribution to contain and eliminate the threat and spread of fires.

 

In contrast, a fire suppression system uses varying alternatives to water. These substitutes for water may include resources such as gas, chemicals, or foam. Suppression systems seek to assert action before a fire gains the chance to spread. And they can often provide benefits that can’t be found with more traditional sprinkler systems.

 

The primary types of fire suppression systems:

  • Inert gases
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Clean Agent
  • Water mist

 

Exploring the various types of fire suppression systems

At its most basic, a fire suppression system is a means of identifying, controlling, and extinguishing a fire. These systems of suppression rely on agents other than water to respond to the threat of fire. Using these alternatives has proven to offer various benefits, such as protecting against damage to sensitive equipment and more effective fire prevention. Suppression systems aim to act before a fire can develop or spread through a building or space—often activating more quickly than traditional fire sprinklers.

Inert gas suppression systems

Inert gas suppression systems’ primary function is to remove enough oxygen in a space to eliminate the potential combustion of a fire. Most gas systems are preferred for uses in buildings where humans might be present. Unlike using CO2, inert gases remove enough oxygen to prevent fires but not so much to pose possible suffocation to occupants.

Beyond their general safety for humans, inert gases also offer the benefit of being safe for sensitive equipment such as computers, televisions, and phones. They are also classified as “clean agents” because they do not cause damage to the ozone layer or contribute to global warming. Examples of inert gases might include inergen, argonite, or nitrogen.

 

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) suppression systems

Suppression systems that utilize CO2 also rely on their ability to remove oxygen rather than extinguish heat. Unlike inert gases, however, CO2 extracts too much oxygen for occupants to avoid suffocation. As a result, this type of suppression system is not used for buildings or spaces where humans are present. Instead, they are commonly used for very confined applications or areas not accessible to personnel.

Generally, using CO2 suppression systems is also not recommended for use in areas with electrical equipment. Carbon dioxide is stored at frigid temperatures and can pose the risk of thermal shock to hardware or electronic components.

 

Clean agent suppression systems

There are numerous reasons for how these suppression systems came to be understood as using “clean agents.” For one, they are safe for humans. But they also do not pose a significant risk to the environment. They also have a meager impact on the atmosphere or global warming. Finally, clean agents evaporate and do not leave a residue after being discharged to suppress a fire.

Clean agents can be stored as a liquid or gas. Discharging a clean agent releases the storage chemical(s) as gas to suppress a fire. The gaseous discharge can serve the purpose of disrupting up to three different elements that can sustain a fire: a fuel source, oxygen, or heat. The clean agent also commonly acts very quickly—distributing highly concentrated levels in around 10 seconds. This quick and effective execution makes clean agents efficient at suppressing fire before it can cause significant damage.

Due to their safe and productive application, clean agents are primarily preferred for protecting both occupants and sensitive materials. They are often used to protect the fragile resources found in museums, archives, or libraries. And clean agents are commonly preferred for ensuring the safety of computer or server rooms.

 

Water mist suppression systems

kitchen fire suppression

This type of suppression system is the only exception to the rule mentioned earlier that distinguishes fire suppression systems from protection systems by the use of water. However, water mist suppression involves a distinctly different tactic than sprinkler systems. These misting systems use remarkably less water than fire sprinklers and do not cause collateral damage to equipment. Rather than cooling a fire’s heat, water mist suppression systems evaporate and produce starvation of oxygen.

Water mist suppression systems present the advantages of immediate activation, environmental and human safety, and minimal to no water damage. Because the fine mist evaporates quickly, these systems are primarily considered safe for sensitive equipment and supplies.

 

 

Before you go

At WFX Fire, Lock, & Security, we are committed to ensuring you have the most reliable and trustworthy resources for fire suppression systems. Our team can ensure that your installation is conducted with the utmost professionalism—while also providing maintenance to ensure your systems keep you safe in the long run.

 

You can schedule a consultation or call us today at 855-WFX-1978

What is a “K” type fire extinguisher

According to the US Fire Administration (USFA), there were 1,291,500 fire incidences in the country in 2019. These fires led to 3,704 deaths, 16,600 injuries, and losses amounting to 14.8 billion US dollars. Fires are typically classified according to the type of fuel that feeds them. One of the most dangerous and stubborn fires to combat is the Class K fire, common in commercial kitchens. These fires can only be fought effectively with a unique extinguishing agent found in a Class K type of fire extinguisher.

 

What is a Class K Fire Extinguisher?

Fire extinguishers are classified depending on the type of fire that they will extinguish. A class K fire extinguisher is used to control fires involving cooking media such as oils, fats, and grease commonly found in cooking places such as commercial restaurants.These fire extinguishers work through saponification to extinguish flames completely.

 

What is Saponification?

Saponification is a chemical reaction that occurs when alkaline mixtures come into contact with fat or cooking oil. Ideally, the alkaline mixtures combine with the fatty acid to create a soapy foam on the surface, which effectively separates and absorbs the fire’s heat elements (the fuel, heat, and oxygen). The fire extinguisher intended for fighting a Class K fire is labeled with the letter K so users can quickly identify it during emergencies.

 

 

What Types of Extinguishers are Rated as Class K Fire Extinguishers?

 

Only a Class K fire extinguisher will be effective for Class K fire and must be kept within reach in a commercial kitchen setting. The right type of Class K extinguisher should effectively separate the fuel from the oxygen and adequately absorb the heat elements and smother raging kitchen fire effectively.

 

Currently, the only effective extinguishers rated as Class K are the Wet Chemical Fire extinguishers that meet regulatory and industry standards. The extinguishers leverage wet mist with alkaline mixtures in the form of potassium citrate, potassium acetate, or potassium carbonate. The alkaline mixture interact with cooking media to effectively quench the fire and reduce the risk of re-ignition

 

 

How to Improve Workplace Safety with Class K Fire Extinguishers?

OSHA requires commercial properties and employers to choose and distribute fire extinguishers depending on the classes of expected workplace fires. The size and degree of the hazard should also be considered when selecting a fire extinguisher.

 

The following are some ways to improve workplace safety with a Class K fire extinguisher:

Location

Unlike the other classes of fire extinguishers, there is no distance requirement for Class K extinguishers. According to the OSHA requirements, the extinguisher to be located at the point of anticipated cooking for ignition. However, some local requirements may be stricter, and employers should check and be familiar with their local marshal and insurance agent. In general, extinguishers in a commercial kitchen should be located as follows:

  • Extinguishers should be conspicuously located and immediately available in case of fire.
  • Ideal locations to place them include on hanger, cabinets, or wall recesses.
  • Height requirements will depend on the weight. If it weighs less than 40 pounds, its height should not be more than 5 feet above the ground. If its weight is more than 40 pounds, it should be placed no more than 3.5 feet above the ground.

 

Training

For the Class K fire extinguisher to be effective during emergencies, employers should provide a suitable educational program to equip employees on the fire extinguisher’s principles and use. Ideally, OSHA recommends that the training be done during the initial hiring and once a year after that. Most types of extinguishers operate using the PASS technique:

  • P- break the tamper seal by pulling the pin on the extinguisher
  • A-Aim it low with the nozzle pointed at the bottom base of the fire
  • S-squeeze the handle firmly to release the extinguishing agent
  • S- sweep the nozzle from side to side while firmly pointing at the base of the fire until it is completely extinguished

Repeat the last three steps if the fire reignites.

 

Inspections

Portable fire extinguishers should be visually inspected each month. The inspection seeks to determine the following.

  • If the extinguisher is appropriately located in its assigned place
  • If the fire extinguishers are conspicuous and not blocked or hidden
  • If the fire extinguishers are mounted following NFPA Standard No. 10 (Portable Fire Extinguishers.
  • Whether the nozzles are free of any blockage and pin and seals are in place if the fire extinguisher reveal signs of abuse or damage
  • Whether the pressure gauges show ideal pressure levels.

Maintenance and testing

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the extinguisher is maintained, inspected, and tested by a licensed expert. Maintenance should be done at least once a year or more, depending on the level e of risks. The employer should record the maintenance date and keep the records.

Why You Still Need a Fire Suppression System
Along with having a Class K fire extinguisher readily accessible, employers should have robust fire suppression systems installed within the kitchen premise. A fire suppression system is designed to detect fires at the beginning stages through heat or smoke. They are attached to an alarm system that goes off immediately the fire is detected. Most fire suppression systems automatically release extinguishing agents after detecting alerts.

 

different types of fire extinguishersCan I Use a Class K Fire Extinguisher to Fight a class A Fire?

If the class K fire spreads to Class A fire materials in the kitchen, control the flames using the Class K extinguisher. However, you should not use a class A or Class B and other classes of fire extinguishers to fight a kitchen fire started by cooking media such as oil, grease, or fat.

 

 

Do You Have a Suitable Fire Extinguisher?

Fires are more likely to occur in restaurants than other types of businesses. The suitable fire extinguisher should protect your kitchen and workplace. WFX provides exceptional fire security solutions for both commercial and residential properties. Our experts will do both initial installation and routine maintenance to ensure your fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems provide adequate protection.

 

 

··· Give us a call today (855) WFX-1978 to learn what extinguishers and protection will be best for you »

 

 

Types of Fire Extinguishers & Their Applications

Types of Fire Extinguishers & Their Applications

We all know that our workplace is required to have a fire extinguisher(s) and that everyone should know where the nearest one is located and how to use it.

The issue is, most people don’t realize that a single fire extinguisher doesn’t work on every type of fire. There are different types, or classes, of fire extinguishers the same as there are many different classes of fire.

To ensure true safety for your workplace, you’ll need to have the proper fire extinguisher installed for the potential fire hazards for your building.

fire extinguisher

Summary Glimpse of Fire Chemistry & Why Class Really Matters

 

Let’s first take a brief look at the basic elements of a fire.

For our discussion, we will review five classes of fire.

Class A: Freely burning, combustible solid materials such as wood, paper, cloth, etc.

Class B: Flammable liquid or gas, grease, oil, etc.

Class C: Energized electrical fire (energized electrical source serves as the ignitor of a Class A or B fire – if the electrical source is removed, it is no longer a Class C fire)

Class D: Metallic fire (titanium, zirconium, magnesium, sodium)

Class K: Cooking fires – animal or vegetable oils or fats

With all types of fire, the same four elements will always be present:

  1. Fuel
  2. Heat
  3. Oxygen
  4. Chain Reaction

The Theory as it relates to portable fire extinguishers is that the fire can be quickly extinguished by removing any one or more of these four elements that we’ve listed.

For all classes of fire, the fuel, heat source, and chain reaction varies, which in turn means that there must be different types of fire extinguishers depending on the specific class of fire. For example, a Class A fire can be safely extinguished with just water, a Class C fire cannot, as water conducts electricity and harm to the operator.

6 Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

Now that we’ve discussed the various types of fire and why different fire extinguishers are important, six main types of fire extinguishers and their uses will be reviewed below:

  1. ABC Dry-Chemical Powder Fire Extinguisher

An ABC dry-chemical fire extinguisher has many advantages as it is a “multi-purpose” fire extinguisher and is, therefore, one of the most common extinguishers to have on hand.

A powder fire extinguisher sprays a very fine chemical powder composed mostly of monoammonium phosphate. This acts as a blanket and suffocates/extinguishes the fire.

These extinguishers are effective for Class A, B, and C fires, since it is not an electrical conductor and since it can effectively break the chain reaction in a liquid or gas fire, something that a water extinguisher is not capable of.

  1. Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguisher

A (CO2) carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is one of the cleanest types of extinguishers, as it leaves zero residues and requires no cleanup.

The CO2 fire extinguisher does exactly that – it expells CO2. By doing so, it removes the oxygen from the fire, which suffocates it of oxygen and extinguishes the fire.

  1. Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher

The wet chemical fire extinguisher is a specialized type of extinguisher primarily focused on Class K fires, that involve cooking media such as animal and vegetable fats and/or oils in commercial cooking environments.

These extinguishers contain a solution of potassium that effectively launches a double assault on fires.

First, the liquid-mist it sprays acts to quickly cool the fire. Then, a thick soap-like substance forms, sealing the surface of the liquid to prevent any re-ignition.

The wet chemical fire extinguisher is ideal for kitchen settings and Class K fires.

  1. Water Mist Fire Extinguisher

This is a rather versatile extinguisher, the water mist extinguisher utilizes a newer technology that works across most classes of fire.

This type of fire extinguisher releases microscopic water molecules that fight the fire on a variety of different levels. First, since so much water is dispersed in such a microscopic fog-like form, the level of oxygen in the air is dramatically decreased, which helps to suffocate the fire.

Secondly, the fine water particles are drawn to the fire and, as water always does, it acts to cool the fire reducing the temperature.

Lastly, and maybe most uniquely, the water mist extinguisher is de-ionized (minerals have been removed). Therefore, it can be utilized on electrical fires, as the de-ionized water will not act as a conductor, as well as on burning liquids/gases that standard water extinguishers couldn’t be applied to.

In conclusion, a water mist extinguisher is safe and effective for use on Class A, B, C, and K fires.

  1. Foam Fire Extinguisher

These fire extinguishers are suitable for Class A and the flammable liquids of Class B fires, although they are not effective in the extinguishing of gaseous fires.

Foam fire extinguishers spray a type of foam that expands when it comes in contact with air and blankets the fire. This helps prevent the vapors from rising off the liquid and feeding the fire, which starves it of fuel. Also because the foam is mixed with water, it has a cool-effect as well.

Foam fire extinguishers are typically one of the best options for liquid fires, such as gasoline fires and polar solvents.

  1. Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher

Clean agent fire extinguishers are a type of gaseous fire suppression. Stored in its liquid form, when sprayed and it hits the air, it is then converted to its gas form which is non-conductive and leaves no residue.

The gas, often composed of Halon, extinguishes fire by reducing the oxygen levels and disrupting the chain reaction. Because it is non-conductive and so clean, it is perfect for rooms or businesses filled with electrical and/or computer equipment.

Ensure You Protect What’s Yours 

Now that you’ve been educated, you can take a look at your property to ensure that you have the correct number and class of fire extinguishers readily available. Please note – there is a good chance (depending on what you are doing) that you might need to have different types of fire extinguishers in different areas of your facility.

Of course, having the proper equipment is vital. However, it is also imperative that the equipment is properly maintained and that your employees are properly trained on how to use the equipment in the event of a fire.

To be certain that you have the correct fire extinguishers in place, as well as the proper training, and to get your fire extinguishers properly checked and maintained for quality and effectiveness, call WFX Fire, Lock & Security today at 855-WFX-1978!

Proper placement and installation add to your overall safety as well as compliance with NFPA and OSHA guidelines. Call WFX at 855-WFX-1978 and ensure your business is properly protected in the event of a fire!

Disclaimer: Any/All information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is believed to be reliable, but WFX Fire, Lock & Security assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this article. It does not constitute professional advice. The user of this article or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information’s accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) should be contacted for code interpretations.