When it comes to kitchen fires, some people may be wondering – what’s better, a fire extinguisher, or a fire blanket?
It all depends on the type of fire. A fire blanket is safer for smothering smaller pan fires, extinguishing the fire. However, a fire extinguisher is better to use when you can’t get close the fire.
The main fire extinguisher recommended for use in commercial kitchens is a Wet Chemical Extinguisher, as these are used for Class F fires (fires involving cooking oil, fat or grease). Wet chemical extinguishers have a yellow identification band, and they allow fires to be extinguished from further back than a fire blanket, as using a fire blanket involves standing close to the fire to attempt to smother the flames. In domestic kitchens a 2kg dry powder extinguisher and a fire blanket are recommended.
Fighting fire from a distance with an extinguisher can be safer, as it doesn’t require you to get as close to the heat of the fire. However, as you’re in a kitchen, what’s likely to be on fire is your oven, or pots and pans containing food.
Getting chemicals into cooking equipment and food may not be the best option when the fire is contained in a small area, as it can make a lot of mess and waste. Choosing to use a fire extinguisher over a fire blanket really depends on the size of the fire, as fire extinguishers stop fires spreading while fire blankets extinguish them at the source.
Fire blankets work by smothering the fire with fire-resistant materials, which means they don’t release any harmful chemicals and reduce the amount of cleanup needed.
Proper use of a fire blanket involves only using it on pan fires involving fat, oil or grease, so it should be easily accessible. It should not be placed near the cooking area, this will avoid having to reach into the fire should you need to use the fire blanket. Place it near an escape route so you have the option to walk away and contact your local fire and rescue service if you feel the fire has become too large to tackle safely yourself.
Ace Fire offers courses in fire extinguisher training. Staff training is a vital part of any companies fire and safety strategy.