Dangers of kitchen fires
Open flames, red-hot surfaces in combination with an environment with saturated grease create a potential fire hazard for the modern kitchen. Such fires spread very quickly and they have proven to be very difficult to extinguish. According to statistics, kitchen fires are the fires that cause the greatest damage in many countries.
When extinguishing kitchen fires we have to be very careful as we can be severely burnt, especially if we go about extinguishing the wrong way. The extinguishing can cause an even greater fire.
Never extinguish burning oil or grease with water. When water is added on burning oil or grease the water is vaporised and does not actually extinguish the fire, since the volume of oil is 1700-times greater than the volume of water. Tiny drops of water vapour are surrounded by a thin layer of oil, around them is enough air and this causes a grease explosion which may allow the fire to spread to kitchen appliances. A quite similar effect to extinguishing oil with water is sprinkling flour or sugar on it. Flour and sugar are both solid organic fuels, and if you sprinkle them on a flame of burning oil, it causes a form of dust explosion. Burning oil will most effectively and safely be extinguished by taking away the source of heat and covering the container with a lid or a wet and wrung-out cloth, thus taking away the oxygen that the fire needs for burning. We securely pick up the pan and carry it out of the house or apartment. In doing so, we must be very careful not to get burned or worse, pour hot content on ourselves! Do not pour boiling contents (oil) into the kitchen sink, because water is present there! Then thoroughly ventilate the room.
The causes of kitchen fires
The main cause for fires in bars, pubs and cafés is negligence, followed by faults in kitchen appliances, power lines… The potential for a fire is greater in kitchens in a hotel, a bar, a residential house, apartment… than in other premises. Among the causes for fires stand out electric cookers, incandescent elements for baking, open flames, elements for baking potatoes, deep fryers, microwaves, conventional ovens, exhaust hoods, greasy exhaust hood pipes, ventilators coated with grease, gas grills…
Stable extinguishing systems in kitchens
For these reasons and the potential dangers of a kitchen fire, mechanical or electro-mechanical stable fire extinguishing systems have been developed, designed and adjusted especially for extinguishing kitchen fires. They are hidden, user-friendly, easy to maintain… and, most of all, effective. Their use has expanded greatly to hotels, shopping malls, schools, sheltered housing, nursing homes, kindergartens, mountain huts, fast food restaurants, bars, ships… wherever food is being cooked and prepared. The percentage of installations in private kitchens and apartments is also increasing. An investment in such a device is several times smaller than the damage that the fire can cause in the kitchen and in the whole building.
Advantages of an extinguishing system in the kitchen:
- 24-hour protection
- Adapted for extinguishing fires caused by fats and oils
- It also protects the vents and exhaust hoods (accumulation of fats and oils)
- No reignition, only cleaning is required after activation
- Minimal damage in case of a fire (response time of a few seconds, the fire is extinguished in the initial stage)
- It has no weaknesses of gas extinguishing systems
- Protection of people and equipment
- Easy maintenance
- A lower cost of insurance than that offered by insurance companies
Buckeye extinguishing system “Kitchen Mister” is a mechanical system for extinguishing/limiting fires with wet chemicals, as defined in the NFPA-17A Standard (»Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems«). It was developed with the intention of protecting commercial cooking equipment in restaurants, exhaust hoods and ventilation ducts.
The system uses a potassium-based liquid extinguisher specifically developed for the purpose of extinguishing grease fires which are common around cooking areas in restaurants. The extinguisher operates in three ways:
- The extinguisher terminates the chemical chain reaction that causes burning, and thus extinguishes the fire.
- The extinguisher is spurted from the extinguishing nozzles in extremely fine droplets which rapidly cool the fire under the autoignition temperature.
- The extinguisher reacts with grease and creates a special layer that looks like foam (saponify),which reduces the oxygen flow and thus stops the burning and prevents reignition.
The system is automatically activated after a fire is detected or it can be triggered manually by using a remote traction station installed at a fire-safe site. When the system is activated, a predetermined quantity of the extinguisher is released through the pipeline system and the permanently installed fire-extinguishing nozzles into the ducts, the drain area of the exhaust hood and the cooking range. The extinguisher is released as very fine mist that quickly extinguishes grease fire.
For proper operation, a monthly inspection by the owner is recommended, and a semi-annual inspection should be carried out by an authorized maintenance worker. It is advisable to make certain of the following on a monthly basis:
- The extinguishing system is at the right location.
- The remote traction stations are freely accessible.
- Indicators and seals are in good condition.
- Maintenance records or certificates are not out of date and are in place.
- There is no obvious physical damage or conditions that could prevent operation.
- The pressure gauge shows the pressure within acceptable limits.
- Fire nozzle caps that can be blown away are in good condition and undamaged.
- The exhaust hood, the ducts and cooking appliances are in the same places, they were not modified or replaced.
After activation, the extinguishing is carried out with a potassium-based liquid extinguisher specifically developed to extinguish grease fires which are common around commercial cooking areas in restaurants.
“Kitchen Mister” from Buckeye Fire Equipement offers cylinders in four sizes. The BFR-5 model has five flow points, Model BFR-10 ten flow points, BFR-15 fifteen flow points and BFR-20 twenty flow points. The cylinder sizes are determined by their ability to supply a certain number of flow points, for example BFR-5 is capable of powering a maximum of 5 flow points. All cylinders are manufactured, labelled and tested in accordance with the DOT 4BW240.
Kitchen Mister uses a Bowden cable to connect a system of fusible elements, gas valves, and/or remote traction stations for the same functions of the Buckeye (it does not need angular pulleys or protective lead). Installation is both quick and easy. A Bowden cable is a stainless steel cable, protected by a flexible bowden.
Automatic activation of the system is carried out with fusible elements Globe ML. These are designed to rupture at a certain temperature thus releasing the voltage of the detection line.
Fire nozzles have been developed especially for extinguishing cooking appliances, ducts and exhaust hood drains.
Each room has a certain amount of flow units and is supplied with a protective cap for the outlet opening which is blown away by the excess pressure in the nozzle. Each nozzle has the model number stamped on the nozzle body and has a unique colour code for easier identification.