Commercial Kitchen Fire Prevention Tips

Commercial kitchen fires happen more often than you may think and they can be very dangerous and costly. They can also have a devastating effect on your business. If the fire was bad enough, you may need to shut down until the necessary repairs are made. According to a recent study, more than half of the fires that need to be controlled by the fire department involve cooking equipment. Most of these fires occur in hotel kitchens, fast food outlets, and restaurants. Commercial fires happen very often because these kitchens use large amounts of flammable cooking oil, a heat source, and often times, an open flame. A devastating kitchen fire can occur within just a few seconds. It is up to you to take the necessary steps to prevent a fire from breaking out in your commercial kitchen.

Have a Fire Assessment Performed

Fire prevention is very important when you are running a food service business. If you are not sure if your kitchen is safe, or if you don't know what steps to take to prevent a fire, you should consider having a fire risk assessment. A fire assessment is often required by law, and it should be carried out by a qualified assessor. If it isn't, the assessment may not be valid. During the assessment, a professional will go through your kitchen and identify any potential fire hazards. You will also learn what steps to take to keep a fire from breaking out.

Download Government Fire Safety Assessment

Make Sure to Follow the Manufacturer's Instructions

If your kitchen equipment is not installed properly or if it is not used properly, it can be a fire hazard. Ovens, deep fryers, and any other kitchen equipment should be installed and used properly. When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your equipment, you should make sure that it is done properly and on a regular basis. Cutting corners with the installation and the maintenance may save you money, however, it will cost you a lot more in the long run.

Use Caution With Deep Fat Fryers

Deep fat fryers are used in most food preparation businesses. They can also be very dangerous. If the oil starts to overflow it can start a fire if it gets ignited. Once this type of fire starts, it can spread very quickly. It can do serious damage to the kitchen and it can be dangerous and even deadly to the kitchen staff. It is important that your staff is trained to only fill the oil to the proper level and to never leave the fryers unattended when they are in use. The best type of fryer is the kind that will turn off automatically once the oil reaches the set temperature. This will keep the oil from getting too hot and over boiling or catching fire.

Install a Remote Power Shutdown System

It is important that you have a backup form of protection in case of emergency. It will protect your staff and further damage to the kitchen in case a fire breaks out. It is important that you can shut off the power or gas supply in the kitchen if there is a fire. If you don't have a remote shut off and the fire has spread too quickly, you might not be able to get into the kitchen safely to cut the power. If the power cannot be cut, the fire will move quickly through the building and there could potentially be an explosion. A remote shutdown system can cut the power when you are outside the building.

Properly Installed Ventilation and Extractor Systems

If the ventilation system and the extractor systems are not installed properly, a fire can spread in half the time. Once the fire gets up into the ceiling, it can travel through the ducts to the rest of the building. It is important that when you have your ventilation, extractor systems, canopy hoods and baffle grease filters properly installed and maintained.

The Kitchen Should Be Neat and Clean

It is obvious that your kitchen should be clean for sanitary purposes. It should also be clean for safety purposes. If there is grease built up on the cooktops and inside the oven, it is a fire hazard. It is important the all surfaces and equipment are cleaned daily. If grease splatters or spills, it should be cleaned up immediately. Any cooking oil waste should be removed from the kitchen as soon as possible. Finally, make sure that there is nothing blocking the exits. If a fire does break out, you want your employees to be able to get out of the kitchen as quickly as possible.

The Kitchen Staff Should Dress Appropriately

It is up to you as the business owner to make sure that your staff dresses properly. They should never wear any loose clothing when they are cooking. Aprons should be worn because they will keep the employee's clothing away from the flame. Also, your employees should always roll up their sleeves. Any staff members with long hair should wear it tied back. When your employees wear the appropriate clothing, it can prevent a dangerous fire.

Train Your Employees Appropriately

It is important to train your employees properly so that they never leave food that is cooking unattended. If more than one thing is being cooked at once, make sure that your employees have timers and they use them. If the employee must leave the kitchen, they should remove the food from the heat before they go. It doesn't take long for a fire to break out. If your employee gets delayed, there will be no risk of fire if the food has been removed from the heat.

Keep Firefighting Equipment in the Kitchen At All Times

If a fire breaks out in your kitchen, you can prevent damage and injury if you can control the fire yourself. If you wait for the fire department, your entire building could be destroyed by the time they get there. You should keep fire extinguishers for Class F kitchen fires handy. For small pan fires, you should keep fire blankets in the kitchen.

Secure the Kitchen at Night

When the kitchen closes, it is important to create a checklist of everything that should be turned off before the last employee leaves. You should put one employee in charge of this duty, and make the check off the items on the list as they are turned off. The employee should also sign off on the checklist before they leave for the night.

Fire safety in your kitchen is just as important as the quality of the food that you are putting out. If you don't follow proper safety procedures, you could end up losing more than just your kitchen.

Further Information...

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