Tips to Prevent Fire in Your Commercial Kitchen
If you own a restaurant, bar or commercial kitchen in Hamilton Mill or Suwanee, reducing fire risk is critical to continued profitable operation. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fire departments responded to over 7,410 structure fires in the kitchen of restaurants and bars in 2017 alone. The majority of these fires were preventable, resulting in three deaths, 110 injuries, and $165 million in property damage annually in commercial kitchens. These tips will help keep you and your staff safe while preventing shut downs due to fire code violations.
What Are My Ducting and Air Movement Requirements to Prevent Fire?
While Chapter 7 of the NFPA 96 Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations covers this extensively, here are a few key items to keep in mind.
First, commercial kitchen ducts should never pass through firewalls, share an exhaust system with the building ventilation, or have obstructed access panels. While doing these things on a commercial kitchen remodel can save costs in the short term, the fire risk increases significantly. If disregarded, your commercial kitchen work will likely not pass inspection.
Make sure to maintain a minimum clearance of 18 inches between combustible materials and the kitchen ducts. This standard is based on Section 4.2 of the NFPA 96, however is one of the easiest to disregard once the kitchen is operational. Ducts can build up high levels of radiant heat that can ignite combustible materials like boxes, cups, plates, utensils, or other kitchen materials.
If you would like additional information on the types of combustible and non-combustible materials that should and shouldn't be kept near the duct, consult Chapter 3 of the NFPA.
What Are My Commercial Kitchen Fire Extinguisher Requirements?
"The NFPA 96 requires automated fire suppression equipment for all grease removal devices, hood exhaust plenums, and exhaust duct systems in a commercial kitchen, as well as any cooking equipment that produces grease-laden vapors." - Koorsen Fire & Security
The NFPA 96 requires use of class K fire extinguishers in conjunction with automatic fire extinguishing systems. These extinguishers also require installed placards stating their extinguisher class. However, in the case of a commercial kitchen fire, it's critical to activate the automatic fire extinguisher system before using portable-type extinguishers. This is because high-efficiency cooking appliances in many modern commercial kitchens are capable of achieving high temperatures that can raise the vegetable oils to intensely high temperatures. When oil ignites at these high temperatures, it can already be so hot that a portable extinguisher is not enough to stop the flames.
Another standard that you should familiarize yourself with is the UL 300 standard.
According to this article by Insureon, a kitchen’s cooking equipment must meet these UL 300 requirements:
- Fire-extinguishing nozzles in the hood, ducts, and above each cooking appliance
- An automatic fuel shut-off capabilities for both gas and electric power sources
- A manual fuel shut-off pull for all power sources
- A wet-chemical fire-extinguishing system that meets UL 300 criteria (one of which is undergoing semiannual checkups by a certified professional)
If you need immediate assistance after a fire, our teams are available 24/7/365. With our promise of being Faster to Any Size Disaster, you can count on SERVPRO of Buford/Suwanee/Hamilton Mill to be there when it counts. Call us today at (770) 945-5355 for rapid assistance.