Commercial Kitchen Fires: Minimize Risk With Clean Hood Filters

One of the most common types of accidents or incidents that occur in a commercial kitchen are fires. Estimates put the number of fires around 8,000 every year in the United States. Having a fire in a restaurant, lunchroom, or café kitchen can do everything from increase wait time due to a burned meal all the way to total destruction of the property and multiple injuries to staff and customers.

The prevention of commercial kitchen fires is one of the top safety-related tasks of both kitchen designers and the staff that works in them. A large part of the solution involves not only proper use of equipment but also how careful chefs and other restaurant employees act.

What Causes Most Kitchen Fires?

Fires occur with the right recipe of fuel and heat mix together and combust. In a professional kitchen, the fuel is frequently grease, oil, or other cooking materials. Even food scraps and entire meals can burn up if the people responsible for them do not take sufficient care. Of course, heat is a constant in a busy kitchen.

Besides pots and pans on the stovetop or in ovens, many fires occur because of a buildup of oil and grease in the exhaust hoods and filters. These filters are designed to safely remove these things from the air and to keep them, odors, and smoke out of the kitchen itself. This makes the area much safer and healthier for the chefs and other cook staff.

However, if the hood filter does not get changed frequently enough or experiences an undue collection of flammable compounds, the risk of a commercial kitchen fire increases by quite a bit. Many people understand that an unattended pot or an overcooked pan can burst into flames. They may forget about the inner workings of kitchen equipment, however.

Minimize Commercial Kitchen Fire Risk

Three methods of fire risk reduction exist: careful cooking practices, equipment maintenance, and detailed policies that everyone understands.

Every single person who does any type of work in a commercial kitchen needs to understand fire risks, preventative measures, and what to do in case something catches fire. This pertains to chefs, who are usually well-trained in the proper techniques to put out small grease and other fires, support staff who may be on hand at any time, and even wait staff who go in and out of the kitchen regularly. The restaurant owner or manager should position and point out fire blankets and extinguishers placed conveniently around the room.

As hood filter fires represent a large cause of many problems, equipment maintenance is a must. These items and the attached ductwork can build up a coating of dangerous grease and oil particles, which greatly increases the chance of catching fire. Instead of letting this happen, create a regular schedule of replacing the filter or cleaning it properly.

A FOG Tank gives restaurateurs the perfect option to eliminate grease and oil buildup before it causes a problem. These safe and efficient pieces of soaking equipment can fit neatly under a counter out of the way. Use it to not only refresh hood filters to prevent dangerous situations but for all the pots and pans in the kitchen, as well.

Finally, proper fire-prevention and safety policies require training, practice, and clear posting at various points around the kitchen. No one should be allowed to enter a commercial kitchen unless they know exactly what to do in case of a fire. Align these not only with best practices for maximum safety but also the regulations and fire codes required by the city or municipality.

While the safety of all workers in a commercial kitchen is the top priority in the case of a fire, the best way to do this and protect your business is to minimize the chance of a fire happening at all. With all the potential fuel and heat in any restaurant or public eatery kitchen, careful precautions are needed. As hood filter fires represent a large number of the thousands experienced every year, using a FOG Tank soaking tub to clean all the residual grease and oil makes good sense.

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