Fire Prevention: How to Prevent Kitchen Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a structural fire is reported every 86 seconds in the United States. Commercial kitchens are especially susceptible to fire because of the kitchen’s hectic environment and the presence of multiple fire hazards. Fire Prevention Week is a yearly campaign sponsored by the NFPA that has been taking place in October since 1922. It’s a national initiative to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.

HOODZ is helping spread the word about the importance of fire prevention across the country. No matter what type of commercial kitchen you manage, Fire Prevention Week is a reminder to make sure you have precautions in place to prevent fires and ensure that you and your employees are prepared in the event of a fire. Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of fire in your commercial kitchen.

Preventative maintenance

Maintain Electrical Equipment
Electrical fires begin when frayed wiring, switches, sockets, or plugs start to project heat onto flammable materials. Although your cooking equipment is crucial to running your restaurant, it can also be detrimental if not properly maintained. To prevent electrical kitchen fires from happening, be sure to keep your commercial kitchen equipment up to code so that it can handle a busy kitchen environment.

Clean the Exhaust Hood System
Cleaning the exhaust hood system is essential to prevent fires because while you’re cooking, grease-laden vapors are pulled from your cooking appliances through your kitchen hood exhaust system. These vapors then travel into the ductwork, through your building, and to the exhaust fan, where they can safely exit the building. Fires can spread very quickly when cooktop flare-ups reach the hood filters or ducting if regular cleaning to remove grease accumulation isn’t adequately performed.

Reduce Grease in the Kitchen
Grease buildup can easily ignite when exposed to the high heat commonly found in commercial kitchens. To minimize the likelihood of fires in the kitchen, regularly clean the areas that are exposed to grease and susceptible to buildup. This includes, but isn’t limited to: walls, stovetops, counters, grills, convection ovens, broilers, and fryers.


In case of a fire

Automatic Extinguishing System
Over half of all restaurant fires begin in the kitchen, so it’s important to have an automatic fire extinguishing system (AES) installed. An AES --also known as a fire suppression system-- is a system that automatically dispenses chemicals to control fires when heat or flames are detected. There are a number of different systems available, so research which is best suited to protect your restaurant or facility. Also, be sure to service your AES every six months to ensure your system is ready to put out a fire in case of an emergency.

Fire Extinguisher
In addition to an AES, always keep a portable fire extinguisher as a backup. Typically, Class K extinguishers are used for kitchen fires involving grease that burns at high temperatures. A restaurant should also have Class ABC extinguishers in addition to the Class K fire extinguisher. These are only used for other types of fires that may occur like paper, wood, or electrical fires.

Prepare Your Staff
Your staff should always have a proper emergency escape plan in case of a fire. Exits should be clearly marked and fire drills should happen at least twice per year. They should also know where all the fire extinguishers are located and they should be properly trained on how to use a fire extinguisher.

How HOODZ Can Help!
Fires can be devastating to your restaurant. Keeping your restaurant clean and grease-free is the number one way to prevent fires in the kitchen. It is a necessary investment that will save you time and money down the road. A properly maintained kitchen can help your business avoid a costly kitchen nightmare. All of these fire prevention tips will keep you and your employees safe and keep your kitchen running smoothly.

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