How to Fight a Kitchen Fire
Have your staff been trained in how to react to a kitchen fire? Kitchen fires are a major concern for any restaurant manager or owner. Most kitchen fires are extinguished as soon as they start but there are a few that spread into a much bigger problem. A kitchen fire could not only destroy your property but also your business.
Prepare your staff through a fire safety training session so they know what to do if a fire starts and how to stop the fire before it spreads. Employees who understand how to prevent and put out grease fires as well as troubleshoot an automatic suppression system failure are less likely to encounter any serious fires.
- A Clean Kitchen is a Safer Kitchen
Keeping the kitchen clean is not only a food safety issues but is also a fire safety issue. The National Fire Protection Association, between 2006 and 2010, has found insufficient cleaning led to 21% of all kitchen fires.
Not surprisingly, grease causes the majority of kitchen fires. Greases is highly flammable and collect on a lot of kitchen surfaces and appliances. Grease can also build up in the exhaust duscts and appliance hoods in the kitchen which can be easily ignited by a spark or an open flame. While it may start out as a small fire, it can turn into a big fire very quickly. It is important to educate your staff on the dangers of grease buildup so they maintina the cleanliness of all appliances and surfaces.
- Automatic Suppression System Failure
Automatic fire suppression systems are an absolute necessity in any commercial kitchen. These systems help save lives by decreasing the severity of the fire in its early stages. Examples of these systems include fire sprinklers, gaseous fire suppression and condensed aerosol fire suppression.
You cannot rely on your automatic suppression system alone when a fire does break out. There are number of reasons for these systems to fail which include grease clogs, incorrectly positioned nozzles or the spread of the fire to an out-of-reach area.
Your kitchen fire safety plan must include freestanding fire extinguishes and the necessary training to use them properly. Fire extinguishers should be place throughout the workplace and be readily accessible in the event of a fire. All staff need to be trained on how to operate the specific fire extinguishers in your kitchen as well as which extinguishers need to be used for the different classes of fires.
- Class of Fires and Extinguishers
Not all fires are the same and there are separate extinguishers for the difference classes of fires. It is important to educate your staff members of the different classes of fires, how they start and how to put them out.
Most kitchen fires are Class K which means they are fueld by vegetable or animal oils and fats. These are one of the most dangerous fires as they have a high flash point resulting in the fire burning extremely hot. These fires need to be fought with a wet chemical suppression system or a fire extinguisher made to put out grease fires. Always keep the fire extinguisher within 30 feet of areas with a Class K fire potential.
- Comprehensive Emergency Plan
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how careful everyone is and restaurant fire happens. The best thing you can do is prepare and inform you staff. If you find yourself in a situation where you and your employee need to control a spreading fire, everyone should know how and where to shut off electricity and gas, where fire extinguishers are located and how to manually turn on the fire suppression system.
Employees will also need to know how to evacuate the building, where all the exits are and where to assemble once outside the building. Everyone also needs to know the number for the fire department and where the fire alarms are located. Even a small fire can injure an employee which means your kitchen staff will also need to know how to administer first aid for burns.
Fires are a very serious matter and claim many lives each year; it is worth whatever time and effort is needed to educate your staff about fire safety and prevention. This will not only reduce the risk of fires in your restaurant kitchen but will also keep everyone more alert, safe and ready to take action if a fire does occur.