What is a Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher?
Wet chemical fire extinguishers in comparison to the rest of fire extinguishers have a special ability in dealing with class F fires caused by cooking oils and fats that has a flashing point of 37 degrees. In this article, we will uncover why the wet chemical fire extinguisher is our supplier preferred choice for class A fires by understanding where it’s used, why its recommended to combine with C02 fire extinguishers, its pros, and cons and how to ensure good maintenance for an effective fire protection system.
How To Identify A Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher?
In Australia, wet chemical fire extinguishers have a red body and will have an OATMEAL colour band wrapped around the tank. You can also identify a foam extinguisher by looking at the description label imprinted on the red tank as we explain below. The label should include:
- Type: Wet Chemical
- Size: 2.5L & 7.0L
- Use Instructions
- Accepted Materials For Use
What are Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers used for?
Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers are designed to combat during times of cooking heat. They are the perfect solution for kitchen ranges where oils such as lard, olive oil, maize, and butter are being used daily. Due to their potassium element, they are perfect to combat class A and F fires in kitchen areas including restaurants, industrial and warehouse kitchens that involve large cooking and food processing sections. It is also recommended to have C02 fire extinguishers as a precaution to combat these fires and cover kitchen hazards most effectively.
If you would like assistance in choosing the right extinguisher for your needs, feel free to talk to one of our friendly (20+ experience) experts.
Suitable Class Fires For Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher
- Class A Fires: These involve ordinary combustibles including wood, paper, textiles, and many plastics.
- Class F Fires (Most Used): These involve cooking fats and oils. The high temperature of these types of fats and oils when on fire exceeds that of other flammable liquids which means that normal fire extinguishers should not be used.
How Does A Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher Work?
Due to its potassium solution, wet chemical fire extinguishers work in two ways. First, the mist of the fire extinguisher and lowers the temperature to a cooling point that prevents the fire from spreading. Second, the extinguishant reacts with the cooking hot oil to form a soapy substance through a process called saponification. When applied to a burning liquid that has a flashpoint of 37 degrees Celsius, the process cools and emulsifies acting as a barrier between the fat and oil, extinguishing the flame and sealing to prevent flame reignition.
Pros of Wet Chemical Extinguishers:
- Quick Knock-down: Wet chem extinguishers provide a fast knock-down in creating a barrier and sealing to prevent reignition of flames.
- Clean up (No residue): Wet Chemical extinguishers after use is quick and easy.
Cons of Wet Chemical Extinguishers
- Corrosive: Wet Chemical extinguisher solution is alkaline which will react nicely with certain kinds of metals.
How Do I Use A Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher?
- Check that the extinguisher is fully charged by ensuring the pressure gauge is in the green area and that the safety pin is not bent
- Turn of the heat source if it is safe to do so
- Ensure you remain a safe distance from the fire and remove the safety pin this will break the tamper seal
- Hold the lance at arm’s length, well above the fire with its nozzle at least 1 metre away from the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly to begin discharging the extinguisher
- Apply the fine spray in slow circular movements, this allows the wet chemical agent to fall gently onto the surface of the fire and helps to prevent hot oils splashing on to the user.
- Discharge the entire contents of the extinguisher to ensure that all of the fire has been extinguished, the wet chemical formula helps to prevent re-ignition.
Wet Chemical Extinguisher Maintenance
It is routine for fire extinguishers to be checked every six months by a service team as required per regulations. However, we recommend once a month to ensure the following:
- The extinguisher is not blocked by equipment, coats or other objects that interfere with access in an emergency.
- The pressure is at the recommended level, this means the needle should be in the green zone- not too high and not too low.
- The nozzle or other parts are not obstructed
- The pin and tamper seal is intact
- There are no dents, leaks, rust, chemical deposits and other signs of abuse/wear. Wipe off any corrosive chemicals, oil, gunk etc. that may have landed on the extinguisher.
- Fire extinguishers should be pressure tested (a process called hydrostatic testing) after a number of years to ensure that the cylinder is safe to use. We provide our partner, majestic fire with pressure testing and maintenance services.
Wet Chemical Fire Extinguisher Identification Signs
It is compulsory to have an extinguisher identification sticker as well as fire extinguisher label visible at all times. We offer an extensive range of sticks and labels as accessories to fire extinguishers. Please ensure you also have a maintenance service tag.
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