A commercial kitchen can be a busy, chaotic place, especially if you’re running a popular establishment that is expected to fill orders quickly and efficiently. While this is a good sign of a successful business, when you’re focusing so much on getting those orders out some other important things can slip through the cracks. For example, fire safety considerations.
Since you are dealing with open flames, grease, oils, and electrical appliances, you run a rather high risk of a fire breaking out in your commercial kitchen, more so than in a lot of other industries. An uncontrollable fire can lead to the loss of property and even lives, so it’s important to ensure that you make fire safety a top priority no matter how busy it gets in your kitchen.
So, is your commercial kitchen safe from fire? Read on to find out.
The number one fire safety risk in a commercial kitchen would probably be untrained staff. Management should ensure that all employees have basic fire safety training, like how to use fire extinguishers and how to manually activate the fire extinguishing system. It’s important that this instruction occurs on a regular basis so that no one forgets anything, as it will help reduce the likelihood of staff making any serious mistakes.
Another potential safety hazard in a commercial kitchen has to do with cleanliness, more specifically the buildup of grease and other debris. Not only are these common sources of ignition, but they may also prevent fire suppression systems from operating properly. Make sure grease and other debris are being cleaned up on a regular basis in your kitchen.
Not all fire extinguishers can effectively put out all kinds of fires, so it’s important that you get the right one for your commercial kitchen. Look for a Class K fire extinguisher, as these can put out fires fueled by grease, cooking oils, and fats. Keep it in an area that is easily accessible by all kitchen staff and inspect it monthly to ensure it will work in an emergency.
Generally, if your kitchen does any deep-frying or grilling, you require a wet chemical system that meets the current UL-300 and ULC/1254.6 codes for commercial kitchens. This system must be inspected semi-annually by a certified fire protection service to ensure it is up to code.
However, since commercial kitchens can vary greatly from one another, before installing a fire suppression system you should have a fire protection service assess your kitchen to make sure it covers every piece of equipment that is required by code. And then, if you make any changes to your kitchen by adding new equipment or moving things around, you should have your system re-evaluated by a professional. It may not seem necessary, especially if it’s a small change, but it is possible that your fire suppression system will no longer cover important pieces of equipment.