Improve fire safety in commercial kitchens

Kitchens have all the ingredients for a devastating fire.

Fires in commercial kitchens occur for many reasons and can cause a significant amount of damage and disruption. The common reasons for fire include failure of thermostats and electrical faults, but the fire will be worse if your extraction ductwork and filters aren’t cleaned often enough.

Fire events spreading into ductwork that have excessive grease build-up are especially hazardous and can become out-of-control quickly. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help prevent fires, protect people, and reduce disruption.

Kitchen fires can cause devastating losses

Cooking, especially deep fat frying, presents fire risks but these can be controlled much more effectively through correct siting, installation, and maintenance of equipment. Robust training, housekeeping, and maintenance procedures are also important.

The common sources of risk we see during inspections of commercial kitchens include:

  • Cooking appliances that haven’t been maintained properly.
  • Filters not in place when cooking, or not being cleaned properly.
  • Ductwork not being maintained or cleaned frequently enough.
  • Reusing older oil, that is more likely to ignite.
  • Lack of training or compliance with established procedures, such as wedging open fire doors.

Zurich have published their risk topic to help increase awareness of the risks and reduce the likelihood of major fires.

To maximise fire prevention review your key controls

The most common issues be addressed through better maintenance, and asking:
1. Is your ductwork being cleaned in accordance with the TR19 industry standard which is issued by the Building and Engineering Services Association (BESA)?
2. Are your filters being regularly cleaned to avoid excessive grease build-up?
3. If your kitchen is carrying out deep fat frying, do you have an automatic fire suppression system installed?
4. If you have an automatic fire suppression system installed, have staff had training on the action to take in the event of a fire?
5. Is kitchen equipment being regularly inspected and subject to an annual maintenance contract?

How to manage commercial kitchen fire risks

Cooking presents fire risks. When fires happen, they too often result in devastating damage to premises, disruption to business and lost revenue. Fires in kitchen extraction ducting systems are also common because grease build up can remain hidden for a long period of time.

This short guide provided by Zurich includes a one-page Kitchen Fire Safety Checklist which can be downloaded here.

We are here to help

If you are concerned about how this affects you and your business and would like support in assessing your needs, we are here to help. Please do get in touch for confidential advice and guidance.

This article was adapted from an article by Zurich which can be found here.