Cooking Up Fire Safety: 5 Essential Tips for Commercial Kitchens
As a business owner, you know that having a commercial kitchen can be the backbone of your operations. It’s where the magic happens — where your team creates culinary masterpieces that keep your customers coming back for more.
But with all the heat, flames, and combustible materials around, it’s also where a minor mishap can escalate into a serious fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), about 7,500 commercial fires in eating and drinking establishments break out every year, resulting in $165 million of direct property damage.
Fortunately, following a few key fire protection tips can help to prevent kitchen fires and save you from becoming a statistic.
Fire Protection Tips for Your Commercial Kitchen
1. Maintain and service your cooking equipment
Faulty cooking equipment is among the leading causes of a commercial kitchen fire outbreak.
In between slinging dishes and satisfying customers, it’s imperative that your team ensures all kitchen equipment — from grills to deep fryers — receives daily checks and adequate interval maintenance. Schedule regular professional service for all your appliances and avoid using any equipment with suspected issues.
2. Clean grease regularly
Highly flammable, grease build-up can make your fire risk soar when exposed to open cooking flames.
To reduce grease fire hazards, it’s recommended that you use an oil-based cleaner on your kitchen appliances and any other areas exposed to grease on a daily basis.
While it’s easy to cover the basics like a cooktop, you should also prioritize getting your hands dirty cleaning appliances like grease traps and ventilation systems, which are designed to catch grease.
3. Install a fire suppression system
Installing a fire suppression system doesn’t just help reduce injury and property damage — it’s also required by law.
Designed to protect heat-producing equipment and ventilating fixtures, such as ducts, filters, and hoods, fire suppression systems are the difference between a localized fire and complete destruction. Acting as an on-call firefighter, these systems mitigate fire damage by automatically dispensing chemicals to diffuse flames and cutting off electricity or fuel supply to kitchen appliances.
4. Get Class K fire extinguishers
Having a fire protection backup plan in a commercial kitchen is always safe, and that’s precisely where Class K fire extinguishers come in.
Unlike the popular ABC extinguishers, Class K extinguishers are uniquely designed to diffuse fires involving flammable cooking fluids and grease by forming a soapy foam on the fire surface to cut off oxygen.
Although Class K fire extinguishers should be placed somewhere easily accessible to employees, they should be stored in a separate area of the kitchen and used only after activating a fire suppression system.
5. Train your staff the right way
Even with the most advanced preventative measures, commercial kitchen fires can still occur unexpectedly, leaving a rampage of damage in their trace.
When fires break out, your team needs the know-how to handle them safely and securely. With fire safety training, you can ensure all your employees know how to respond in the event of an emergency, from using fire extinguishers and manual suppression systems to managing mass notification systems.
In addition to providing your team with fire protection training, it’s also imperative that you make everyone aware of your business’ evacuation plan and conduct routine drills for extra preparation.
When the time comes, these steps can make the difference between a minor fire versus a fatal one.
Prevent Commercial Kitchen Fires With Kistler O’Brien Fire Protection
Looking for more fire safety tips to prevent commercial kitchen fire outbreaks?
Kistler O’Brien Fire Protection specializes in full-service fire protection for commercial kitchens throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. We install, inspect, repair, and maintain fire protection systems, with our highly trained team working around the clock to protect your staff, property, and patrons from devastation.
To learn more about how we can help you keep your commercial kitchen up and running, contact a member of our team today.