Learn About Fire Extinguishers with Fire Safety Store - Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

01/04/2019
by Curtis Worthington
Learn About Fire Extinguishers with Fire Safety Store - Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Learn About Fire Extinguishers with Fire Safety Store

The Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are designed to deal with Class F fires such as grease fires resulting from chip pans or deep fat fryers. We are here to show you how these unique extinguishers work and when they should be used.

We are the Fire Safety Store and your safety is our number one priority. The first step to safety is to be aware of the risks; the second step to safety is having the equipment to combat them. This series of articles is all about the second step to safety. Once you have identified a fire risk in your property, having the right extinguisher to hand is the best way to maximise your personal safety and minimise any property losses. Each type of extinguisher has its own distinct properties and specialisms and we hope this guide will help you find the one which is right for you.

Why Choose A Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher?

The Short Answer

  • The only extinguisher rated for use on Class F fires
  • Can also be used on Class A fires
  • Legally required for any business containing a chip pan or deep fat fryer

 

The Long Answer:

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are designed to deal with Class F fires. Class F fires are grease fires resulting from chip pans or deep fat fryers. They are extremely long-burning and at such high temperatures that they can be very dangerous to tackle. No other kind of fire extinguisher has any real effect on a grease fire, which is what makes the wet chemical fire extinguisher so special. Wet chemical fire extinguishers work in a unique and incredible way. The chemical component reacts with the hot oil, turning it into soap via a process known as saponification. The soap cannot burn, and the reaction itself is endothermic, meaning it cools the surroundings. The layer of soap forms on top of the oil, preventing further oxygen from heating the fuel. This makes the wet chemical fire extinguisher unique in dismantling the fire tetrahedron so thoroughly by removing the heat, the oxygen and the fuel, so no chemical reaction can take place. Wet chemical fire extinguishers also have some effect on Class A fires and the lance is usually made from a nonconductive material, so it is safe to be used around electrical equipment in the kitchen.

Who Benefits From Having A Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher?

Any home or business which has a chip pan or deep fat fryer present should have a wet chemical fire extinguisher installed. Canteens, restaurants, mobile food services, caterers and takeaways should all consider a wet chemical fire extinguisher. Whilst a wet chemical fire extinguisher can be used on Class A fires (fires involving combustible solids like wood or fabric) there are far more effective extinguishers for this purpose such as the water or foam extinguisher.

What Types Of Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher Are Available?

Wet chemical fire extinguishers have a yellow panel on the side and the words ‘WET CHEMICAL’ written clearly also. In situations where you are uncertain an extinguisher ID sign should also be installed nearby. Here at Fire Safety Store we supply wet chemical fire extinguishers in 2l, 3l and 6l sizes for all situations. Wet chemical fire extinguishers pair well with fire blankets for use in emergency situations and these can also be found here. If you have any questions with regard to our fire extinguishers please call our experienced team on 0800 316 0890.

Maintaining a Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher:

Any fire extinguisher needs to be installed and maintained properly in order to be of use in an emergency. Successful maintenance begins with correct commissioning and installation of fire extinguisher by a BAFE certified professional. Wet chemical fire extinguishers should be installed within 10m of a chip pan or deep fat fryer. If you are unsure where to place your extinguishers for maximum safety, please contact our advisors. We are part of a national network of qualified site surveyors and maintenance professionals.

Maintenance You Can Perform Personally

Maintenance Which Should Be Carried Out Professionally

Once a month you should perform a visual inspection to determine the following:

  • That the pin in the handle has not been tampered with
  • That there are no dents in the canister
  • That there are no signs of leakage
  • That there are no signs of damage or corrosion around the seals
  • That where applicable the pressure dial remains in the green
 
  • It is a legal requirement for a yearly maintenance inspection to be carried out on your extinguisher by a professional. They will run through a maintenance checklist and sign the paperwork required for your insurance
  • Wet chemical fire extinguishers have a five year lifespan after which they should be completely discharged and refilled
  • If your wet chemical fire extinguisher has been used, even partially, it should be fully discharged and refilled at your earliest opportunity

 

How to Tackle a Fire with a Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher:

When a fire breaks out it is important to first determine whether it is small enough to be extinguished using a fire extinguisher. In any circumstances the fire and rescue services should be notified, and any extraneous personnel evacuated. The PASS acronym is used to remember the standard steps for tackling a fire with a fire extinguisher:

P- Pull the pin from the handle to release the lock. Stand well back from the blaze.

A- Aim the hose at the base of the flames for Class A fires. For Class F fires aim above the fire

S- Squeeze the handle to release the wet chemical component. Keep the pressure steady and be mindful that an extinguisher has only a limited charge.

S- Sweep the hose from side to side to cover the fuel completely in cases of Class A fires. For Class F fires move the lance in gentle circles above the burning oil, allowing it to settle gently on top of the oil. This is to prevent splashing which could spread the blaze and cause serious burns. Where possible empty the whole extinguisher to enable as much of the hot oil to be converted as possible. The saponification process can release dangerous fumes, and therefore the area should be well ventilated once the fire has been put out.