This page provides information about class K fires.
In order to effectively
fight a fire you need to know how it was started and what is making it
burn. Often the fuel is important and dictates how the flames should be
fought. Class K fires burn a specific type of fuel, namely cooking fat
and oils, and can spread quickly, causing damage and potential injury.
Class K flames are
technically a subclass of class B flames, since it involves flammable
liquid. However, because of some unique characteristics related to this
type of fire, it was designated separately and requires a distinct battling
Types of Cooking Substances Are Dangerous?
Heat is important when cooking, and oils and fats are often used
to create that heat as they can be brought to a high temperature quickly.
These highly flammable substances are used to fry and sauté foods,
and when they catch fire, they must be brought under control immediately.
Some examples of cooking oils and fats include:
- Vegetable oils
like canola, corn, and safflower
- Olive oil
- Bacon grease
Class K fires are
most often caused by cooking oils and fat that burst into flame on the
stovetop, in the oven or on the grill. There is also a risk of causing
such a fire when these substances are overheated in the microwave.
Class K Fires
Since this class of fire burns hotter than typical class B fires,
the extinguishing methods used for B flames will not work on K flames.
Some of the fire extinguishers rated for use with this type of cooking
fire have a hood, which serves to cut off the oxygen and smother the flames.
Splashes of extremely
hot cooking oil or fat can cause serious burns, even life-threatening
injuries. Anyone attempting to put out the class K flames on their own
should be well aware of the dangers. A firefighter must approach such
a fire fully protected.
Saponification is the quickest and most effective way to fight
class K fires. Fire extinguishers rated for use with class K dangers always
contain a wet chemical extinguishing agent which turns the cooking oil
and fat that is serving as fuel to soap. The substance is non-combustible
and actually absorbs the heat from the flames, eliminating or reducing
that element necessary for a fire to continue to burn. These extinguishers
are often equipped with a physical component resembling a hood, which
can be placed directly over the flames – if they are small enough
– cutting off the oxygen and stifling the fire.
your Home or Business against Class K Fires
Industrial and commercial buildings that are equipped with kitchens
need to be well-equipped against the dangers of class K fires. Businesses
such as restaurants and cafeterias must follow the local building codes
when designing and equipping their kitchens, and ensure that all staff
members are fully trained in how to properly respond to a fire of any
In a residential
setting, class K fires usually start in the kitchen, and can spread to
cause major damage and injury. Having a properly rated fire extinguisher
is important, and every member of the household should know the effective
response to this type of fire.