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  • M. Villarreal

Simple Fire Prevention - Top 4 Things You Can Do Today

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Fire and heat are what drive almost every commercial kitchen in business today. That said, as chefs, managers, owners and kitchen staff we must all do what we can to ensure it stays within our control.

When fire is under your control it can be your best friend, but when not properly respected and maintained it can quickly humble even the most tenured and skilled chefs, manager and owner.

To avoid the devastating effects of a commercial kitchen fire, follow these simple 4 simple safety recommendations:

1. Clean and Maintain Grease

Cleaning the kitchen is an important part of fire safety. Grease is highly flammable. When fire gets out of control it will look for sources for additional combustible energy, and grease is the number one fuel source in a commercial kitchen.

Grease that builds up in the kitchen on walls, floors, and especially the hood vents and the entire exhaust system is literally the number one source of fuel for the fire. The ventilation system is one of the most volatile and subject to multiplying the effect of a restaurant fire. The entire system is a trap for grease, smoke and particles that are violently combustible.

As outlined in the NFPA96 codes for commercial kitchens, you must ensure a thorough and regular cleaning schedule that includes cleaning off all built-up grease from surfaces, your hood vents and entire exhaust group including the exhaust fan several times a year.

Cornerstone Commercial Services can assist you with all your kitchen deep-cleaning and degreasing needs. Our standard service includes cleaning the hood vent to the exhaust fan and everything in-between. Call Us Today for a FREE ONSITE ESTIMATE! 1-800-274-3905

2. Maintain All Hood Vent Exhaust Systems and Fire Suppression Equipment

67% of restaurant fires are due to improperly maintained exhaust and suppression equipment. Ensure all equipment is in proper working order and is fitted with modern fire suppression systems. Your kitchen’s automatic Ansul or sprinkler system will kick in when the fire gets large enough to activate the suppression system in the ceiling, but ONLY if they are in working condition.

Additionally, these systems shut down gas and electrical in the case of fire, and can mean the difference between a flare up and a devastating fire. Have your fire suppression systems inspected by a professional on a regular basis and correct immediately any deficiencies needed.

If you have a reliable and trusted partner who maintains your hood vent and kitchen exhaust system on a regular business, they should be able to help identify deficiencies and provide written documentation so you can quickly rectify the issues.

3. Have Backup Extinguishers

In addition to your automatic suppressions systems, you should always have back up fire extinguishers throughout your kitchen and restaurant. Fire extinguishers can make the difference between shutting down for the night and being closed for weeks — or even worse, forever. Make sure fire extinguishers are inspected regularly so they’re ready when needed.

4. Provide Proper Training

Lastly, all kitchen staff should have training on how to quickly deal with different types of fires effectively and a proper evacuation plan should be in place for both employees and customers. The wrong time to plan the escape route and practice is when the fire happens. In the case of a fire, time is of the essence.

More importantly kitchen staff needs to perform their duties in a safe way—preventing fires before they happen by maintaining good practices. This includes regular inspection of the exhaust system components and kitchen equipment. Your employees should not fear speaking openly and honestly about what corrections need to be done, they should all feel empowered to communicate openly. An open and honest workplace lends to the overall moral and safety of your employees, customers and the ongoing existence of your business.

Final Thoughts

Being prepared and preventing commercial kitchen fires takes constant vigilance. It demands a proper regular cleaning program for exhaust systems and a cleaning regime the staff can follow. Safety systems must be inspected regularly and ensure your staff is well trained to not be careless with fire and combustible material. If a fire does get out of hand, it’s imperative that you have a safety evacuation plan for your employees and guests.

With careful planning and regular maintenance, you can greatly reduce the chances of a commercial kitchen fire affecting your restaurant and your livelihood. Cornerstone Commercial Services can assist you with all your kitchen deep-cleaning, degreasing and hood vent exhaust system cleaning needs.

Call Us Today for a FREE ONSITE ESTIMATE! 1-800-274-3905

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