Commercial kitchens need to have large, reliable fire extinguishers on hand and working at all times. Unfortunately many restaurant owners and managers don't realize the difference between various types of extinguishers. The materials inside the extinguishers are meant for different types of fires and using the wrong extinguisher on certain fires can actually mean making it worse. Note this quick guide to fire extinguishers for commercial kitchens so you know what to have in your restaurant or diner.

1. Class K extinguisher

This is the most important extinguisher to have in a kitchen, as the class K model is specifically meant for fires started by oil and grease used in cooking. If you attempt to put out a grease fire with water, this can be futile as oil and water don't mix. The water may simply be repelled by the grease itself. Class K extinguishers spray a mist of potassium acetate and potassium citrate, both of which smother a grease fire. The mist doesn't allow the grease to splatter as the chemicals reach the cause of the fire.

Be sure you have class K extinguishers near any stove top or anywhere that you may be cooking with grease. If you have a separate deep fryer apart from your grill, then you need more than one extinguisher in the kitchen.

2. Carbon dioxide extinguisher

Also known as CO2 extinguishers, carbon dioxide extinguishers are used for electrical fires. Remember that water actually conducts electricity so trying to extinguish an electrical fire with water can actually cause the electricity to travel back to you, causing a shock. A CO2 extinguisher works by suffocating the fire and pulling oxygen away from it so that it simply dies out. 

While a CO2 extinguisher is not good for a very confined space that won't have an outside oxygen source, they can be recommended in kitchens that use a lot of electrical devices for cooking. If you have rotisserie ovens, microwaves, pizza ovens, or other such electrical devices that may put the kitchen at risk for an electrical fire, have a CO2 extinguisher on hand.

3. Water extinguisher

Water or class A extinguishers are used for wood, paper, and cardboard. If you tend to stack up boxes and other paper supplies near the back door or have trash receptacles that fill up with paper supplies, you want to have a class A extinguisher in this area. A stray cigarette or even extreme heat can cause them to ignite and a water extinguisher will not only eliminate the flame but also soak the materials so that there are no burning embers left behind.

For more information on fire equipment, contact a company like The Fire Protection Specialist Company Pty Ltd.