commercial gas safety inspections - Fire in the kitchen

How To Reduce The Chances Of A Fire In A Commercial Kitchen

Commercial kitchens can be dangerous places, with lots of activity, gas appliances and constant flames. Therefore, it is not hard to believe there are many incidents of fires every year.

In fact, there is at least one serious fire in a commercial kitchen in the UK every single day, Catering Insight reported.

This could be due to poor ventilation in the building, bad management and cooking practices, and a disregard for health and safety rules.

The repercussions of a commercial kitchen fire can be devastating, as it puts both staff members and customers at risk. What’s more, if it escalates, it could mean the building goes up in flames, which could cripple the business. 

Even if insurance covered the cost of replacing the kitchen, being closed for months on end could cause great financial damage to owners. 

What’s more, their reputation may never be able to recover from the incident, particularly if it occurred with patrons inside, as not many customers will feel confident to eat in the restaurant after re-opening. 

Therefore, it is essential to take precautions to reduce the chances of having a kitchen fire in your commercial premises. 

Never leave cooking equipment unattended

Make sure all staff are aware that cooking equipment should never be left unattended. If leaving the room is necessary, it is essential that the stoves are turned off. 

In addition to this, safe cooking should be practised at all times. Therefore, anything that could catch fire, such as oven mitts or tea towels, need to be kept out of the way of the hob. 

Pot handles should always be turned to the back of the stove so they can’t be knocked into by mistake, and cooking equipment needs to be kept clean and free of debris. 

Chefs should also wear close-fitting clothes or shirts with tightly rolled sleeves, as loose clothing can come into contact with flames. Hair should also be tied back, not just to avoid being found in food, but because it can be set alight by open flames. 

It is also important to remember not to put hot grease in the bin, as it needs to cool down first.

Maintain appliances

One of the biggest causes of fires is poorly maintained appliances. Therefore, as well as undergoing annual commercial gas safety inspections, it is sensible to get the stove and connections regularly checked. 

This ensures all the devices are frequently looked over to reduce the chance of gas leaks, which could cause an explosion when a flame is ignited on the stove.

Having regular inspections will give business owners peace of mind that any small fire will at least not result in a huge blast. 

The gas supply should also have an isolation valve fitted on to it, which enables the gas to be easily and quickly turned off. This, therefore, also needs to be checked to ensure it still works. 

Extraction systems

As well as making sure the gas appliances are properly maintained, keep a close eye on the kitchen’s extraction systems too. 

These filters need to be cleaned once a week at least, while some busy kitchens might require daily cleans. This reduces the build-up of grease in the units, which prevents the removal of gases, smoke, steam, combustion products and heat. 

If the extractor fans are full of grease, flames or even high temperatures in the kitchen could cause the debris to ignite. This results in the fire spreading quickly throughout the room. 

Fire extinguishers

Though fire prevention is key, it is also important to have safety equipment available to put the flames out. 

Therefore, every commercial kitchen should have accessible and workable fire extinguishers. This needs to be situated on the exit route from the kitchen, and should be within date to ensure it can function properly in the event of an emergency. 

It is sensible to train staff on how to use a fire extinguisher when they start, so they are able to operate it if they have to.

Keep fat fryers away from gas

Commercial kitchens that use fat fryers need to keep these far away from gas stoves.

Deep fat fryers can easily overheat if the oil levels are too low or the temperature is too high. While this can cause a fire itself, if it is near a gas appliance, the consequences can be catastrophic. 

If the fire meets the gas supply, there could be a huge explosion. Therefore, fryers and gas stoves need to be separated to reduce the risk of fire.

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