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Fire Safety in Commercial Kitchens

Commercial Kitchens fire safety

Commercial Kitchen Fire Safety – What You Need to Know

There are a number of commercial environments that are much more susceptible to fire than others. And commercial kitchens are among them. There are not only multiple heat sources, but highly flammable liquids are also widely used. And without due care and attention, it’s very easy for a fire event to occur. So, what do you need to know about fire safety in commercial kitchens?


What are the main fire risks associated with commercial kitchens?


Fire safety in commercial kitchens can be broken down into three main areas.


  • Equipment – Within a commercial kitchen there will typically be multiple pieces of equipment that will produce heat. Or are powered by gas or electricity. Some, such as blow torches, actively produce flames. When these items are used incorrectly, or are poorly installed, serviced, or maintained, they can present genuine fire hazards.
  • Processes – Where cooking fats are combined with heat, it’s easy for fires to ignite. In a commercial kitchen, even where standards are highly maintained, it doesn’t take much for a fire to start. Particularly if safety devices are not installed. It can be something as simple as a pan being left unattended and the oil overheating, cooking oil spilling on to a hot plate, or a paper towel or serviette falling on to a gas burner.
  • People – Most commercial kitchens are extremely busy. As such, it’s easy for items to be moved or knocked, and for equipment to be accidentally switched on. Whether it’s a plastic container being moved and melting on a hob or an oven being heated without its contents first being checked, the actions of people can quickly cause fires. It’s also easy for staff to overlook key safety protocols, such as failing to deep clean certain areas, or failing to report faulty equipment.

All of which means that an extremely detailed fire risk assessment is essential for all commercial kitchens.


Commercial Kitchen Risk Assessment

What should be covered in the fire risk assessment for a commercial kitchen?


There are five key steps that should be in every business’ fire risk assessment checklist. These include the identification of fire hazards and at risk people. The identification of necessary fire safety equipment. The implementation of your fire safety strategy. And the regular review of your fire risk assessment. In commercial kitchens, there are additional areas of focus that you must get right.


  • Equipment, fixture, and fitting installation – All equipment must be installed and serviced by an accredited professional and inline with manufacturer guidelines. Items must be made from non-combustible materials. Appliances must be fixed. Relevant safety equipment must be installed. And appliances must be at a suitable distance from any flammable materials.
  • Servicing and maintenance – All equipment must be subject to a regular servicing and maintenance schedule. Including PAT testing. Equipment must also be properly cleaned on a regular basis, to avoid any build up of flammable materials.
  • Operational practices – Where deep fat friers are used, they must have lids, be cleaned regularly to avoid self-ignition, and there must be a separate high limit non-self-setting thermostat installed. Cooking appliances must never be left unattended when in use. All flammable materials, oils, and gases must be appropriately stored away from heat sources. And staff training must be closely monitored.


What fire safety measures should a commercial kitchen have in place?


To ensure that your commercial kitchen has the best possible protection available, there are five important fire safety measures to put in place.


Kitchen suppression system

Kitchen suppression systems are specifically designed to detect and address commercial kitchen fires. Far more sophisticated than standard sprinkler systems, they can detect and differentiate between high levels of smoke, heat, or flames. They then select the right extinguishant to quench the fire.


Fire alarms

All commercial kitchens are legally required to have a fire alarm system installed. With the right fire alarm, warning can not only be given at the earliest possible opportunity. But it can be given at the right pitch to cut through the noise of a busy kitchen. For optimum protection, fire alarms must be tested weekly, and serviced and maintained on a regular basis.


Fire extinguishers

There are five different types of fire extinguisher. And it is vitally important that you choose the right one to tackle any fire. In a commercial kitchen, you will typically require a wet chemical fire extinguisher to tackle fires ignited on grease. But you may also benefit from a Co2 extinguisher for electrical fires. And a powder fire extinguisher for fires ignited in other areas.


Fire safety training

Your employees are your most important fire safety asset. If they are properly trained, they can stop a fire from spreading, aid evacuation, and help to prevent fires from starting in the first place.


Housekeeping, maintenance, and fire risk assessment

By maintaining good housekeeping standards, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of a fire event occurring within your business. But you also have to ensure that all of your fire safety equipment is regularly tested and serviced, and that any maintenance needs are quickly dealt with. All of this should be covered by your fire risk assessment, which should be carried out on a regular basis.


Commercial kitchens are inherently dangerous places. The high number of fire risks means it’s vital to initiate and maintain a stringent fire safety regime. If you don’t, you not only put your business, staff, and customers at risk. If a fire inspector finds that your fire safety standards are lacking, your premises may be closed.

So, are the fire safety standards in your commercial kitchen up to scratch?


At 1st Class Fire Protection, we have more than 30 years’ experience supporting the businesses of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and the surrounding areas with professional Fire Risk Assessments and fire safety services and equipment. Get in touch to find out how we could help you.


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