According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) most current study on Structure Fires in Eating and Drinking Establishments, more than 7,400 fires occurred in restaurants and bars per year between 2010 and 2014. And, on average, these fires take three lives each year, injure over 100 people, and inflict $165 million in property damage.
More than 59 percent of the fires analyzed by the NFPA originated in the kitchen, highlighting the importance of learning and adopting best practices for fire prevention. This article discusses many fire safety best practices in three areas – preventative maintenance, excellent housekeeping, and employee training – that, when combined, can greatly minimize the danger of a kitchen fire.
Preventative Maintenance Best Practices
Electrical or mechanical problems, as well as the malfunction of kitchen equipment and appliances, caused approximately 26% of the fires analyzed in the NFPA research. Clearly, preventative maintenance is critical in the prevention of kitchen fires. We’ll go through the recommended practices for fire safety when it comes to preventative maintenance in two crucial areas: your kitchen appliances and exhaust systems, and the Firefighting systems and equipment
Maintenance of Kitchen Exhaust Systems and Appliances
Inspection and maintenance of all electrical equipment should be done on a regular basis. Hazards such as frayed cables or wiring, which are more prone to ignite and cause an electrical fire, should be looked for during inspections. Check for cracked or damaged switch plates on outlets as well, since these can expose wires and accumulate dust and grease, resulting in a short circuit and fire. Any wires running behind appliances should also be examined or moved to a more apparent location. Stop using the equipment or appliance until it can be fixed or replaced if issues are discovered.
Professionally Repair Any Damaged or Malfunctioning Equipment
Keep your deep fat fryers away from any cooking equipment that uses an open flame. Deep fryers were involved in one out of every five of the incidents investigated, according to the NFPA report. Keep your fryers at least 16 inches away from any open flame or use a vertical divider that reaches at least 8 inches above the top of the fryer. Either technique will help prevent hot fryer oils from splashing into an open flame and igniting. All deep fat fryers should also include a high temperature-limiting device that will turn off the fuel or electricity to the fryer if the oil temperature rises over 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
To avoid grease build-up, get your kitchen’s exhaust system examined and cleaned on a regular basis. This is not only a good idea, but it’s also mandated by fire safety regulations. Depending on the type of cooking operation you have, the NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, specifies varied inspections and cleaning schedules for exhaust systems – monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or yearly. If you’re unsure about your schedule, contact a firm providing Fire Watch Guards to speak with a professional.