Fires are designated as different types; a type K fire involves burning cooking oil or grease. This type of fire burns at extremely high temperatures, particularly in commercial kitchens. If you work in a restaurant or commercial cooking area, you should be trained in the use of fire extinguishers and learn how to work safely and avoid fires .
Type K Fires
A type K fire is a hot oil or grease fire. These fires burn at extremely high temperatures, as cooking oils and grease are extremely combustible. Type K fire extinguishers are recommended to extinguish kitchen fires involving oils and grease, and all commercial kitchens with commercial cooking system hoods and fire suppression systems should have a type K fire extinguisher.
Type K Fire Extinguishers
Type K fire extinguishers contain a mixture of dry and wet chemicals. Some of these chemicals are electrical conductors; therefore type K extinguishers should only be used after the electrical power to the cooking appliance has been shut down. The high heating temperatures of vegetable oils in deep fat fryers make type K extinguishers essential in commercial kitchens as traditional type B extinguishers for combustible materials may not extinguish this type of fire. Water-based fire extinguishers, called type A extinguishers, should never be used on oil or grease fires as they will cause the fire to spread. A type K fire extinguisher should be installed no more than 30 feet away from the cooking range, and the extinguisher should be inspected and tested yearly.
Maintaining a Type K Fire Extinguisher
Type K dry chemical extinguishers may be filled with potassium bicarbonate or a wet chemical mixture that emits a fine spray. If your extinguisher is filled with a dry chemical mixture, shake it at least once a month so the powder does not settle. Ensure that access to your extinguisher does not become blocked by furniture or anything else that could prevent someone from reaching the extinguisher in an emergency. Nozzles and hoses on the extinguisher should be free of debris. If a pressure gauge is fitted on the extinguisher, check it regularly.
Using Fire Extinguishers
Train in the proper use of fire extinguishers so you will know what to do in an emergency. If you are confronted with a fire, make sure that everybody is out of danger and inform the fire department. Select the correct fire extinguisher for the type of fire and remember the acronym "PASS" for use of the fire extinguisher as follows; Pull the pin from the extinguisher, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the extinguisher level slowly to release a measured stream of extinguishing agent, and Sweep the extinguisher from side to side.