Preventing and being prepared for fire is of vital importance for all business owners – especially those who operate a commercial kitchen.
Every year fires in restaurants, cafes, and eateries are caused by cooking equipment being left unattended, overheating of cooking oils and fats, as well as ignition of grease build-ups inside the kitchen filters and exhaust systems.
In order to enhance commercial kitchen safety, Fire and Rescue NSW, have provided the below pieces of advice on preventing and preparing for commercial kitchen fires.
Tip 1: Train Staff
Create a training program, regarding fire and kitchen safety, for both new and existing staff. This means informing them about workplace safety procedures, evacuation plans, and the importance of keeping emergency exits clear and well marked.
Tip 2: Maintain Kitchen Exhaust Systems
Carry out routine maintenance of your kitchen’s commercial exhaust system. Ensure the ducting, range hoods, filters and fans are all cleaned and replaced as necessary. Approx. 80% of food establishments hire a professional service provider for this task.
Tip 3: Remove Combustible Waste
Remove combustible waste products from the kitchen. Make sure rubbish disposed of is placed in appropriate containers with correctly fitting lids. Do not store combustible products near stoves, fryers, or cookers.
Tip 4: Service Cooking Equipment
Make sure that fryers, cookers and other cooking equipment is serviced on a regular basis, or as per the manufacturer’s instruction. If not already, have your cooking equipment fitted with thermostats.
Tip 5: Turn Cooking Equipment Off
When not in use, such as when the business is closed and unattended, ensure that all equipment is turned off. This does not extend to the pilot light.
Tip 6: Maintain Fire Extinguishing Equipment
Fire extinguishers and fire blankets should be installed and located in easily accessible positions. Keep them away from cooking equipment and waste material. They need to be checked regularly to ensure that they are in good working order.
Tip 7: Implement a Evacuation Procedure
Lastly, implement an emergency evacuation procedure that includes a roll call for staff and customers, and a pre-arranged assembly area. Check that the assembly area will not block or imped the local fire brigade.