Salt Lake City, UT – While restaurants bring a lot of people joy, the fact is they are highly dangerous places. The kitchen is the culprit. Hot equipment, flames, chemicals, and paper products increase the risks of fire significantly. The National Fire Protection Association reports that thousands of establishments report fires every year to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.In other words, as a restaurant owner, a fire could cost you a significant amount of money and could cost you your business altogether. It’s not worth the risk, especially when there are ways to prevent restaurant fires. Here are the steps to take.
Install a Fire-Suppression System
A fire suppression system releases chemicals when it detects a fire. The chemicals suppress the flames, and the system automatically turns off the electrical supply.
Keep Class K Extinguishers Within Arm’s Reach
Place K Extinguishers near all areas where fires could start, such as near the stoves and ovens. ABC extinguishers are best for areas where paper, wood, and electrical fires could occur.
Schedule Inspections Regularly
Inspections ensure everything is in good working order and there are no fire risks. They should be conducted quarterly unless your restaurant is a high-volume operation. >If your kitchen has wood or charcoal burning ovens, you should schedule monthly inspections.
Train Your Staff
Fire safety training for staff is important. All staff should have a refresher every six months. Training should include:
How to clean up grease
How to deal with a grease fire
How to remove ashes
Where to store flammable liquids
The importance of keeping areas tidy
An emergency plan
Maintenance Is Important
You should have all equipment maintained at least every six months. A fire safety professional can check for any loose or frayed wires and broken switch plates. A report will identify any fire hazards you’ll need to take care of to pass inspection.
Los Angeles, CA – Commercial kitchen facilities are required to uphold fire testing standard UL-300, a policy that has been in place since 1994. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, the organization that created the rules to help commercial kitchens deal with and control property and life-threatening fires. To earn UL 300 certification, which is necessary to secure a Property Insurance policy, Underwriters Laboratories must test and certify each piece of fire suppression equipment independently. The goal is to help restaurants reduce the risk of fires by ensuring that all cooking equipment and the kitchen setup minimizes the collection of grease in the duct-work and the air. Fire extinguishing equipment must also be adequate in handling the severely hot temperatures that can be found in most commercial kitchen equipment.
Before 1994, most commercial cooking operations used animal fat and deep fryers that were poorly insulated, resulting in inconsistent and inefficient cooking temperatures. In those days, kitchens used dry chemical systems that would smother a fire if one were to break out.
Modern Fire Suppression Systems
These days, kitchens have done away with animal fat and have instead turned to vegetable oils, which tend to heat to cooking temperatures more quickly. The deep fryers used in today’s kitchens retain heat more efficiently and are well-insulated. However, dry chemical systems are no longer used, as they are incapable of extinguishing fires and keeping them extinguished. UL-300 calls for the use of wet chemical fire suppression systems, which serve two primary purposes. First, UL-300 systems still smother fires similar to the way dry chemical extinguishers did. Second, they are designed to cool the liquids so that the fire doesn’t re-ignite, something dry systems were unequipped to do.
If you hope for your commercial kitchen to pass inspection, the following requirements will need to be put into place.
Fire extinguishing nozzles should be located in all hoods and ducts, as well as above each cooking appliance.
All gas and electrical power sources should have automatic fuel shutoff capabilities.
A manual shutoff pull station should be available for all power sources.
You should have at least one wet chemical fire extinguishing system that adheres to UL-300 (and that is checked semi-annually by a certified professional).
Denver, CO – Fire is always a threat to commercial kitchens. In fact, a single fire outbreak can cost thousands of dollars in damages, not to mention lead to injury and loss of life. As a restaurant manager, owner, or operator, you should know how to prevent fires from occurring in your restaurant or foodservice business.What many don’t realize is that fires can spark from several sources, so it is best to be aware of all the worst-case-scenarios to keep the risk of fire to a minimum to keep your employees and kitchen safe at all times.
Fire Prevention Tips
Install a Fire Suppression System: You should always be prepared for a fire breakout. Having a fire-suppression system installed in your kitchen is your first line of defense. There are many systems to choose from, but a professional installer will be able to tell you which system will be best for your kitchen size and level of activity. Remember to have your fire suppression system inspected at least twice yearly to keep response times at optimum levels.Portable Fire Extinguishers: You should have a few hand-held fire extinguishers easily accessible from several strategic access points around your kitchen, as well as in the dining area. Be mindful that there are various classes of fire extinguisher, one for each type of fire. ABC fire extinguishers are used for fires involving wood, paper, textiles, and plastic. Class K extinguishers are intended for grease fires only.Routine Maintenance: Frequent cleaning and service of your exhaust system and electrical equipment will keep any negative surprises from popping up unexpectedly. Without this, your equipment can become dirty or even malfunction, which happens to be two of the most common reasons for kitchen fires. A certified commercial kitchen cleaning company can help.Regular Testing of Alarms and Sprinklers: A professional should inspect your sprinkler and alarm system at least twice yearly to ensure everything is in fine working order. And, just in case, make sure you have backup batteries for your smoke detectors and change them regularly.Don’t Put Off Repairs: If a piece of equipment breaks or malfunctions, or there are other changes to your fire prevention system, call a professional to fix any issues immediately.Conduct Regular Fire Safety Checks: Management and the owners should make frequent passes through the kitchen and dining room areas to maintain adequate fire safety. Paper and cardboard should be kept away from heat-making equipment, and flame-retardant material should replace as many cloth items as possible.
How to Prevent Grease Fires
Change Grease Filters Often: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that grease filters must be constructed of steel or another material approved by the NFPA. To be acceptable, the alternate material must not bend or crush under normal operation and cleaning procedures. The material also cannot be made of mesh. When installing filters, they should be arranged at an angle not less than 45 degrees so that the exhaust air passes through the filter material. The filters you use should be easily accessible and removable for cleaning purposes.Clean Grease Thoroughly: Any grease left behind on ducts, walls or other surfaces is a potential fire hazard. Make sure staff cleans grease from all equipment, walls, floors, and anywhere else that isn’t a designated grease container. Grease traps should also be cleaned regularly to prevent an overflow or potential fire.Inspect and Clean Your Exhaust System: An exhaust system that hasn’t been cleaned in some time can lose its efficiency. The clean air you come to expect in your kitchen could become contaminated, creating greater danger to your staff. A regular cleaning schedule will keep fans and the rest of your HVAC system operating at optimum levels, maintaining a kitchen environment free of debris, smoke, and of course grease.
Preventing Chemical and Electrical Fires
Regular Maintenance of Electrical Equipment: When checking the electrical equipment around your kitchen, look for frayed cords or wires, as well as cracked or broken switch plates. Some of these may be difficult to spot with an untrained eye, so it pays to have a professional conduct a thorough secondary check. Even if your electrical equipment is working properly, take care that combustible materials are kept away from all power sources.Store Flammable Liquids Properly: Flammable liquids should be kept in their proper containers in a well-ventilated space. The space you choose should be far away from stoves or other heat producing equipment.Safely Store and Use Chemical Solutions: Never mix chemicals unless the directions say so, and make sure the directions come from a reputable source. All spills should be cleaned immediately, and a clean-up space should be provided for employees in case of skin exposure.