Answering The Bell

A Brief Guide On Commercial Fire ExtinguishersCommercial Fire Extinguishers

Everyone knows that a bucket or two of water is enough to kill a simple camp fire but many people are not aware of the fact that there are many different types of fire and there is a specific method of extinguishing each type of fire. For instance, trying to kill an electrical fire with water may cause a lot of damage and put lives at risk. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these different types of fire and the best way to put them out with the help of commercial fire extinguishers.

Here is a brief guide on different types of fire and what type of commercial fire extinguishers should be used to kill those fires.

Fire Classifications

There are a total of five different classifications of fire as follows:

Class A

Fires that are fueled by organic combustible materials such as paper, cloth and wood are classified as Class A. These types of fires usually start when combustible materials such as rubber, clothing, paper and dry wood are exposed to extreme heat in the right conditions. This type of fire can be easily extinguished by water.

Class B

This refers to fire fueled by various flammable liquids and gases such as propane, paint thinner, gasoline and acetylene among others. Since oil and gasoline float on water and continue to burn, water is not effective in killing these fires. Therefore, it is better to cut the oxygen supply using carbon dioxide.

Class C

This class refers to the electrical fire. Water should not be used as it may put human lives at risk of electrocution.

Class D

This class refers to fires fueled by burning of combustible metals. Various metals such as potassium, magnesium and sodium burn hotly when exposed to heat. This type of fire needs fire extinguishers labeled D. These fire extinguishers contain sodium chloride.

Class K

This class refers to kitchen fires that involve cooking oils and fats. Throwing water on these fires usually spread the fire around the kitchen as cooking oils float on the water surface. A fire extinguisher containing dry chemicals or carbon dioxide should be used for killing a kitchen fire.

Types of Commercial Fire Extinguisher

ABC Fire Extinguishers

As the name suggest, this type of extinguisher can be used for dousing Class A, Class B as well as Class C fires. It uses a dry chemical agent known as Mono Ammonium Phosphate. This chemical agent is corrosive and therefore, it must be scrapped off after use. Though these fire extinguishers are good for killing electrical fire, a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is better for protecting sensitive electrical equipment.

K Class Fire Extinguishers

These are great for commercial kitchens. These contain a mix of Potassium Citrate and Potassium Acetate. This combination is highly effective for dousing fires fueled by cooking oils and grease. This type of fire extinguishers sprays a fine mist to prevent splashing of oils and works by creating a barrier between oxygen and external heat source to prevent fire from reigniting.

Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers

As the name suggests, this type of extinguisher contains carbon dioxide that works by displacing oxygen in the affected area for killing the fire. These are ideal for fires caused by electricity. As these contain CO2, these should not be used in confined spaces.

Purple K Fire Extinguishers

This type of fire extinguisher uses special dry chemical component for killing Class B and Class C fires. It is highly effective against flammable liquids such as solvents, alcohol, oil based paints as well as flammable gases.

UL Rating

All commercial fire extinguishers come with a UL rating that signals the effectiveness of a fire extinguisher. The rating tells you about the water equivalency of extinguisher, area that can be covered by the fire extinguisher and the type of fire that can be killed by using it.

It is in the form of 4-A:10:B:C

The number before A refers to water equivalency of the fire extinguisher. A represents 1.25 gallons of water which means that for a fire extinguisher with the above rating has an equivalent of 5 gallons of water. Similarly, the number in front of B refers to the square footage that can be covered by the fire extinguisher. The last letter refers to the type of fire where this extinguisher may be used.

In addition to the above-mentioned classification, you also need to invest in various accessories to ensure that the commercial fire extinguishers can be easily accessed when needed. Some of the important accessories include brackets, covers, labels, signs, recessed and surface mount cabinets among others.


Finding the Best Fire Suppression Systems Available

There are few things that are more devastating to a business than a major fire, and that goes with businesses of all sizes. In fact, an unchecked fire can outright wipe out a business. No matter how good the insurance is, when you lose records, an office area, production capability, all of those things will be filled by someone else. Because of this, it’s important to make your business areas as fire proof as possible, or at least have a way of containing and minimizing the fire damage until the fire department can respond to an emergency call to get there.

Introducing the Fire Suppression Systems

These are designed as full area or full building systems. The best way to think of them is like a sprinkler system (which is certainly one example of an early fire suppression system). They are pipe and sprinkler head systems that can use water, dry chemical, wet chemical, or a variety of different specific mixtures to put out the most likely type of fires in an area or (at the very least) make the area extremely unfriendly to spreading fire to help keep the problem contained in one small area.

Commercial fire suppression systems come in a wide variety of different forms. The first patents for these go all the way back to 1863 but obviously the options and efficiency of the systems have changed dramatically since then. Whether you need to make sure electrical, combustible, chemical, or liquid combustible fires are put out, there are systems that can take care of every potential need that pops up.

Automatic Systems for Greater Safety

While many older fire suppression systems would kick in once someone pulled an alarm or set them to go off, most modern systems are automatic in nature for a faster and more effective response. This also provides protection for times when no one is going to be in the office to trip it. Automatic systems will look for clear signs like smoke, temperature, or chemical reactions in the air. Good systems can tell a person smoking a cigarette when they shouldn’t be from a fire that is actually getting started in a building.

Automatic systems have the ability to cut the problem down and contain any fires as they break out. This is crucial to keep any place of business safe and to protect from the massive damages and down time that a fire can cause.

The 3 most common automatic systems are:
– Conventional sprinkler system
– Indoor gas-based fire suppression system
– Automatic condensed aerosol fire suppression

Which one is right for you and your business? That is one of those questions that needs to be answered on a case by case basis. For many people the traditional sprinkler system might be enough, but that also can damage computer equipment in a large office setting. If the biggest potential issues are electrical, then you might want to look at the aerosol or gaseous options and see which one gets the job done without dealing a boat load of collateral damage to the office equipment.

You should meet individually with local professionals who can look at your office area or business area, determine what the most likely fire dangers are, and help you with choosing a system that will help out accordingly. The needs of an office building are going to be far different than a restaurant which will be far different than other buildings. Follow their advice to help find an automatic fire suppression system that will do the best job for your specific situation.

What This All Means

When it comes to keeping you, your family, or your employees safe, you need to look at the type of fire suppression system that is perfect for your very specific needs. While there is not one size fits all system, the truth is that a qualified installation specialist will be able to help you find the right system for your specific needs and be able to figure a custom solution to installing it into your building so it works around your specific custom needs. Do a little bit of homework up front and you will be able to get the fire protection that you deserve.


All The Reasons Why When You Vent A Hood In Your Kitchen You Should Use Professionals

If you’ve ever owned or worked in a restaurant anywhere in North America, you know that not only is it mandatory to have a vent hood on your stove, but it most likely was inspected regularly to make sure that cleaning and maintenance was up to regulations. The reason that the laws are so strict is that excess grease, dirt, and accumulated grime is a major cause of fires in restaurants. In fact, insurance companies will refuse to cover any restaurant that doesn’t take hood cleaning and maintenance seriously. Once grease has caught on fire and reached certain high temperatures, it acts almost like gasoline, burning at incredible temperatures, enough to melt metals.

It’s Highly Important That You Use Professional Installers

There are a million places in a business that you can cut a few corners and never get caught, or endanger your clientele, but when you pay contractors to vent a hood over your stove, you only want the best. They’ll need to have special certification showing they’ve passed mandatory classes and are accredited.

In order to install kitchen hood vents a person will have to belong to one of several organizations like Kitchen Exhaust Certification and Training Association. These types of organizations offer hands on training to teach installers exactly how the kitchen vents need to be installed based on years of experience with fire inspectors, lawmakers, hood cleaners, and of course, insurance companies.

Cleaning Your Kitchen Exhaust Hood Has To Be Done By Certified Pros Too

When it comes to cleaning your exhaust hood, you can do some of the regular maintenance yourself. However, when the inspectors stop by, randomly in most areas, they’ll want to see a regular maintenance schedule with the signature of the certified cleaner that did the work. It will have to follow the Exhaust Cleaner Certification Protocol, and their company will have to be registered with the local municipality as well.

When you apply for insurance, the underwriter that decides whether or not they’ll even cover you, and what your rate will be, will also want to see a few years of regular inspections and cleanings of the kitchen vent. This is because they know how important it is to keep it clean and maintained to prevent fires.

The Business Itself Will Have A Regular Grease Trap Cleaning Protocol

While the major cleaning will be best left to the professionals, there are also grease traps on the hood that should be checked and cleaned regularly as well. This will need to be documented each time, and the inspectors, insurance companies, and fire marshals will want access to this information on each visit.

Failure to keep up the paperwork, even though the work has been done, can result in large fines, closing of the business, or cancellation of insurance polices, so attention to detail is quite important.

Many Insurance Companies Will Offer Discounts For Vent Fire Suppression Systems

Vent hood grease fires are so destructive and common that many insurance companies will offer a discount for restaurants that install automated fire suppression systems. One of the biggest problems with grease fires Is that once they reach a critical temperature, the grease nearly explodes and the rages out of control.

By installing the proper fire suppression system that monitors temperature, smoke, and fire electronically, then activates automatically, you reduce the lag time between discovery and action considerably. The suppression systems can cover the hood alone, or be designed to cover the entire kitchen area, as there are many sources of possible fires in a commercial kitchen.

Complete Vent A Hood And Fire Suppression Systems Are Best Installed Together

While many systems can be upgraded, and made safer by adding extra safety features, the best hood systems are installed as a complete package that was designed from the bottom up to be integrated together. This is the best way to know that every part of the system will work seamlessly if a problem does arise. Like you always hear “Safety Is No Accident.”

When you vent a hood in your kitchen it’s important to do your research, use only the best products and the most experienced installers. Then, make sure that good records are kept at every stage of the process to ensure that there never will be a problem, and the regulators and insurance companies know that as well.