Potassium (K) is a chemical element that originally came from potash, the ash of plants, where the name was derived from. Potassium only occurs in nature in ionic salts. Because of this, potassium is very similar to sodium. Potassium is essential for all living cells. Without it, your body can suffer from severe abnormalities in the heart.
When handling potassium metal, it’s important to be extremely careful, as it can react violently with water and can cause hydrogen to be released. In addition, the reaction between water and potassium metal can ignite the hydrogen and cause potassium hydroxide to be splashed everywhere, which can result in severe skin burns. If a potassium fire were to occur, the only safe and effective solutions for putting out the fire are to use dry products such as silicon dioxide (sand), sodium carbonate (soda ash), or sodium chloride (table salt).
In instances where a potassium fire breaks out, water should be avoided at all costs, as it will only add to the flames and fire already burning.