Fire hazards are a constant threat to any business establishment and are more common to some industries than others. Between 2006 and 2010, about 7,640 structure fires in eating and drinking establishments were reported per year to the US fire departments, causing two deaths and 115 injuries. According to the NFPA, between 2010 and 2014, 61% of restaurant fires were caused by cooking equipment.
It’s no secret that fire can cause extensive damage to one’s business, property, and finances, and could cause injuries and fatalities. As such, it’s important for a business owner with commercial kitchens –may it be a cafeteria, restaurant, or a hotel café –to take all the necessary precautions to minimize and prevent the risk of kitchen fires.
Do a Fire Risk Assessment
The best and easiest step for you to start fire-proofing your kitchen is to schedule a professional fire risk assessment service. A qualified professional risk assessor would be able to detect all fire risks in your current operation and setup, as well as provide solutions on how to prevent them from happening.
Clean and Maintain Your Kitchen Extract Systems
Kitchen extract systems are utilized both in homes and commercial kitchens to dissipate heat and vapour from cooking. However, over time, deposits of grease, fat, and oil accumulate and become serious fire risk as these deposits are quite flammable and can rapidly spread through the ventilation system. Additionally, build-up or deposits can cause a blockage which can adversely affect the filtration of carbon monoxide in the kitchen.
In the UK, malfunctioning or poorly-maintained kitchen extract ventilation systems cause around 70% of commercial kitchen fires. As such, it’s important for a restaurant or commercial food business owner to regularly schedule kitchen extract cleaning services from a certified cleaning company to prevent fire risk due to grease and dirt buildup.
Follow Your Kitchen Equipment’s Manufacturer’s Instruction
As mentioned earlier, the majority of the restaurant fires are caused by cooking equipment; evidently, most of these fires can be prevented through proper use of the equipment. So, when using your fryers, pressure cookers, stoves and such, take extra precaution when using deep fat fryers as they are one of the most commonly used kitchen appliances in commercial kitchens and also one of the leading causes of kitchen fires. Follow the prescribed oil levels and avoid overfilling them as the oil can quickly be ignited and spread.
Make Sure the Kitchen Staff Wears Proper Clothing
The staff should be properly trained regarding the safe use of kitchen tools, but they should also be aware of appropriate kitchen attire.
Minimize the risk of fire and injuries in the kitchen. It’s necessary for your kitchen staff not to wear loose clothing which may catch fire, and they should always be wary if their aprons are in contact with the flames. Long hair should also be tied or secured in a hairnet to avoid catching fire.
Kitchen fires are common, but they can be avoided or at least mitigated with proper precautions. While prevention is important, it’s also necessary that you’re well-equipped and prepared to fight and suppress fire if ever it breaks out; so make sure to invest in fire suppression systems and firefighting equipment as well.