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Differences in class K fire extinguishers vs. ABC fire extinguisher



There's a fat fire that started on your commercial cooking line. You look back to find two fire extinguishers sitting on the wall. One is a silver fire extinguisher and the other is a regular red fire extinguisher. You inspect them a little closer and notice that the silver is marked as a class K fire extinguisher and the red is marked as an ABC fire extinguisher. Which fire extinguisher should you use? Before we answer that question, let's find out what each of the letters means.

What do the letters about fire extinguisher stand for?

The letters about fire extinguisher stand for the fire class that it can help to put out.

The common red fire extinguisher has three letters ̵

1; A, B and C.

  • A class A fire extinguisher can extinguish ordinary combustible fires such as wood and paper. Class B fire extinguishers are intended for use in flammable liquid fires such as petroleum, gasoline, oil, paint, propane and butane.
  • Class C fire extinguishers are only suitable for use on electric fires.
  • An ABC fire extinguisher is a universal extinguisher. It can extinguish several different types of fires with a dry chemical that crushes the burning material by separating the fuel from the oxygen in the air.

Silver class K fire extinguishers are only intended for handling kitchen grease fires. They use a foaming agent that prevents persistent kitchen fires from re-igniting.

Note: It is important to note that the red ABC fire extinguisher uses a dry chemical, which is the opposite of silver class K fire extinguisher.

Class K fire extinguisher for commercial kitchen fires

Although the ABC fire extinguisher can temporarily extinguish the cooking fire, the Class K fire extinguisher with the wet chemical helps to ensure that it does not re-ignite. Unlike the common class ABC fire extinguisher, there is a requirement that class K fire extinguishers must be placed within 30 feet of the cooking line. All fire extinguishers must also be properly mounted.

So back to answering the original question. A Class K fire extinguisher should be used to extinguish a cooking fire, especially in commercial kitchens.

Learn more about fire safety training and protect your business with the free resources in this fire safety blog series or download this free white paper: "Identify and Eliminate Restaurant Fires." Contact your local community agent to discuss fire prevention and insurance options for your business.

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