How to Avoid Commercial Kitchen Grease Fires
It doesn’t take a lot to start a potentially devastating commercial kitchen grease fire.
Considering the large measure of food the average restaurant cooks, the accumulation of grease on kitchen appliance hoods and in exhaust systems can lead to disaster.
Your restaurant already has certain rules in place to lessen the chance a grease fire will occur.
You know your employees should make sure pots and pans on stoves have the handles turned in to keep overturned liquids from being ignited by the burners.
Your employees already know to keep their shirtsleeves fitting snugly to avoid being caught on fire by open flames.
And you have trained your employees on the proper use of fire extinguishers.
But you may be ignoring one of the most common sources of commercial kitchen grease fires – the kitchen ventilation exhaust system.
Local and state ordinances require commercial kitchens to keep clean kitchen exhaust systems that meet the code standards set by NFPA 96.
While a clean kitchen exhaust system can help you avoid a commercial kitchen grease fire, it is not enough to keep it clean .
If grease and residue are not removed from your kitchen cooking equipment regularly as well, you have an extremely flammable situation.
A mere spark or an open flame in the wrong place can ignite the entire cooking area of the kitchen.
Greasy residue that is allowed to accumulate can potentially result in the loss of not only your restaurant, but the lives of those inside.
While you need to be vigilant in making sure your kitchen exhaust system stays clean, grease residue buildup can be overlooked by the untrained eye.
There are several companies that will inspect your commercial kitchen exhaust system and equipment can make a detailed list of what needs to be cleaned or corrected to keep your system compliant.
They will also check your ceilings, walls and floors to make sure they are clear of buildup as well.
Regular inspections and kitchen exhaust hood cleanings must be performed to prevent grease fires.
The exhaust system is not truly safe until it is cleaned down to the bare metal.
This kind of job is best left to a professional, one who can thoroughly cleanse the entire kitchen exhaust system, from the access panels, to the fans, to the duct-work and even the grease box.
A commercial kitchen ventilation system also must have exhaust fans that are properly engineered to draw contaminants such as grease and smoke out of the kitchen cooking area.
If this does not take place, grease can accumulate throughout the kitchen and increase fire danger.
So you should also have your system checked to make sure it is in proper working order so that you face as little risk of a grease fire as possible.
If it is not, then you need to seriously consider modifying or replacing the entire kitchen exhaust system.
That will be costly, but when you weigh the cost with the risk your present system may be posing to your restaurant, you will likely realize that your restaurant’s safety is worth the cost.