Preventing Commercial Kitchen Fires
MCFP Preventing Commercial Kitchen Fires
Fires in Commercial Kitchens are particularly hazardous, due to high levels of heat produced from cooking equipment and the fuels that exist within kitchens.
The consequence of un-controlled fire is devastating to the business owner, the premises, business continuity, local environment and staff who are present in the kitchen or other parts of the building.
There is often high fire risk within most professional cooking environments. The potential for a un-controlled fire to occur in these fast-paced, highly pressurised working environments, is accelerated as these environments often contain large volumes of cooking oils, naked flames and heat sources.
Steps To Prevent Commercial Kitchen Fires
Carry Out A Fire Risk Assessment – Commercial Kitchen Fires
This is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform Order 2005. The assessment should be carried out by a competent, qualified person. The Fire Risk Assessor will identify Fire hazards and Fire risks within the kitchen and the rest of the premises. They will recommend measures to reduce and prevent the risk of a un-controlled fire starting and spreading. They will also guide you through the steps required to meet the required Fire Safety Standards, so you remain legal and insured. The importance of this professional advice cannot be understated.
Use Extra Vigilance When Using Deep Fat Fryers – Commercial Kitchen Fires
Deep Fat Fryers are a common cause of fires within Kitchens. Extra vigilance includes taking measures to avoid over-filling the vessel with oil and not leaving it unattended. This will prevent the hot oil from igniting. On ignition, a rapid and scorching fire will occur, which can potentially cause severe or even fatal injury.
Deep Fat Fryers with a thermostat fitted should be used, and the fryer should be maintained as per manufacturer’s instructions.
Replace used cooking oil with new oil on a regular basis according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
Shut Off Valves And Power Supplies – Commercial Kitchen Fires
Ensure that the layout of the kitchen does not compromise the accessibility or access to the Power Shut Off valves/ switches. These switches/valves must be fitted, maintained and remain accessible, to assist in shutting down gas and electricity supplies remotely, from a safe location.
Ventilation & Extraction Systems – Commercial Kitchen Fires
In 1997, a severe fire broke out at London’s Heathrow airport. The flames were able to spread via the extraction system into the roof, which resulted in closing Terminal 1. This incident caused massive disruption to travel and businesses. The cause of the fire was identified as poor design and layout of the ventilation system. This is just one example of the importance that should be considered when kitchen ventilation and extraction systems are installed. The system route should be designed by a professional designer and qualified installers used to install the systems.
The extraction hoods and ventilation/extraction systems must be kept clean. The frequency of cleaning depends on how much cooking takes place, as some kitchens will need cleaning professionally more frequently than others.
Fire Fighting Equipment – Commercial Kitchen Fires
It is essential to have the correct type of Fire Extinguishers in the kitchen. Advice from your Fire Risk Assessor or Fire Safety Consultant should be sought. The Fire Extinguishers should be well positioned, with signage. Maintenance should be provided by qualified persons. A Wet Chemical, F Class Fire extinguisher is used to fight the deep fat fire in the kitchen, so this should be positioned strategically for this protective purpose.
In some larger kitchens, a fixed fire suppression system may be fitted. This should be tested and maintained by a qualified company.
Fire Blankets should be fitted and maintained too.
Staff should be trained in how to use the fire extinguishers, as well as basic Fire Training, to include the fire risks present within the kitchen area,
Kitchen Clothing – Commercial Kitchen Fires
Staff should be aware of Fire Safety rules within the kitchen. Loose clothing should not be worn while cooking, sleeves should be rolled up and long hair tied back. Chef’s Whites and Aprons are ideal for keeping loose clothing away from flames.
Housekeeping – Commercial Kitchen Fires
It goes without saying that the kitchen should be kept clean. However, it is important that all work surfaces are kept clean and that a build-up of oils and grease is prevented. This is especially important in cooker hoods, extraction units, cookers, hobs etc.
Regular cleaning procedures should be introduced and monitored to avoid build-up of fats and oils.
The kitchen walkways should be kept clear. Avoid build-up of combustible fuels within the kitchen and especially Fire Escape Routes. The larder should be used for flammable storage, and safe storage and disposal of cooking oils should be practised. The Fire Risk Assessment should cover this important area for you.
At the end of the workday, a final walk around should be practised as a procedure, to ensure that all cooking appliances and associated equipment is shut down and switched off, cooking equipment has cooled down, fire doors are closed and everywhere has been cleaned down.
A Checklist to ensure that all staff are familiar with the shut-down procedure is good practice and will assist in keeping the premises safe and secure. If you need more info, get in touch. We will be more than happy to help.