Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Yet, only an estimated 25 percent of U.S. households have a kitchen fire extinguisher on hand to help contain or extinguish a small fire.
A study published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that 75 percent of range or stove fires started with food ignitions, of which nearly half began with cooking oil.
This is not a new problem.
Let me take you back to the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, where Thomas Edison lost the contract to power the Palace of Electricity to George Westinghouse’s company, but the resulting mish-mash of electrical installations caused such fear in the insurance companies that the Palace almost didn’t open. To convince insurance companies to insure the buildings, a group of Chicago fire insurance companies hired Boston electrician named William Henry Merrill, who had graduated from MIT. In evaluating the electrical installations in the Palace, Merrill gained broad exposure to all the latest electrical safety equipment, and in 1894, worked to establish the Underwriters’ Electrical Bureau, as a bureau within the National Board of Fire Underwriters. This bureau would later become Underwriters Laboratory. In 1903, UL published its first standard, “UL 10A: Tin-Clad Fire Doors”.
Today, UL publishes over __ standards, including these that I will cover later:
- UL 217, Single- and Multiple- Station Smoke Alarms
- UL 1626, Residential Sprinklers for Fire Protection Service
- UL 1971, Signaling Devices for the Hearing Impaired
- UL 711
- UL 711A
- UL 300 Fryer Protection
- UL 1254
Later, in 1903, Merrill would become Secretary/Treasurer of the National Fire Protection Association (itself an outgrowth of the NBFU), which publishes the National Electrical Code, and many other fire- and life-safety related building code standards.
In 1916, Merrill became UL’s first president.
Let me take you back to Sunday, February 7, 1904… (NIST formation).
UL Public Relations
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- Will it be possible to get access to standards without purchasing?
- Design rules for how I write about the standards without giving the content away
- Who should my primary contact be?
UL 711A Questions:
- Who are your kitchen fire experts?
- Is this the same as K type? (And why isn’t this F-type, like in the UK and Australia?)
- How important is this rating over ABC extinguishers?
- I’ve watched ATK’s videos of extinguisher testing, and read their articles, and don’t believe their evaluation methods were sound. What should I cover to ensure people can get the correct perspective on kitchen fire extinguishers?
- ATK’s testing showed it didn’t put out a burning towel, while an ABC extinguisher did. Was this their technique, or do you also need an ABC extinguisher in the kitchen?
- Is there an official document or standard for the best way to use a fire extinguisher? (I’ve been trained in PASS though a CERT class.)
List of all standards it references
Standard: Outline of Investigation for the Fire Test Method for Portable Hand-Held Extinguishers Intended for Use on Residential Cooking Equipment ($225-$250)
Subject 711A, UL Bulletin, 711A, Edition 1 (July 22, 2005) $314.00-$391.00
What other standards so I need to read to understand 711A?
Is this the same as Class K?
What is UL’s opinion on the way Cook’s Illustrated tested fire extinguishers?
I have long known about NIST, but credit for me learning the story behind their formation goes to The Metric Maven, who wrote about the Baltimore fire in his essay NIST: The Metric Cheese Shop.