FIRE SAFETY IN COMMERCIAL KITCHENS

Each year a large number of fires occur in commercial kitchens, many of which result in extensive damage to property and crippling business interruption.

Following the guidance below can significantly reduce the risk of a kitchen fire:

Ensure a fire risk assessment is carried out and regularly reviewed per the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Guidance can be found at www.firesafetyguides.communities. gov.uk. If five or more persons are employed, or the premises are licensed or subject to an alterations notice, then the assessment must be recorded.

Take care to ensure all cooking equipment (including deep fat fryers) is installed, operated and maintained per the manufacturer’s instructions. In the case of gas equipment, installation and maintenance needs to be entrusted to a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Deep fat fryers should have a separate high temperature limit control of a non-self-resetting type, designed to shut off the heat source if the temperature of the fat exceeds 210 degrees C.

With deep fat fryers, care should be taken to ensure cooking oil levels are maintained within the manufacturer’s recommended maximum and minimum levels.

Means should be provided for the remote emergency shutdown of power, fuel supply and the extraction system to all cooking equipment. Devices should be clearly labelled and located in safe positions, adjacent to the main escape route.

Where ducting from the extract system passes up through the building, it should be enclosed in a service shaft of non-combustible construction having a fire resistance of at least 30 minutes. All extract ducts, hoods and canopies should have a clearance of at least 150mm from combustible floors, roofs, partitions, linings and ceilings and, where necessary, should be protected by a non-combustible insulating material.

Ensure arrangements are in place for all extract canopies and filters to be cleaned as a matter of weekly routine, and that the services of a specialist contractor are employed for the inspection and deep cleaning of all extract ducts and fans annually, or more frequently where determined by a risk assessment. Guidance on the fire risk assessment of catering extract ventilation is included in the RISCAuthority publication RC44, which can be downloaded at www.riscauthority.co.uk.

Appropriate fire extinguishers should be provided, which should include at least one fire blanket and a Type F fire extinguisher. Extinguishers should be easily and safely accessible, and maintained annually by a specialist firm.

Extract equipment should not be operated with the filters removed.

Ensure all employees are trained in fire emergency procedures.

Consider protecting the cooking range with an automatic fire suppression system approved by Loss Prevention Certification Board, especially when deep fat fryers are used.

At close of business, the premises should be inspected to ensure, all cooking and extraction equipment has been switched off and the premises made secure.

No matter how hard you prepare, accidents can still happen. For more information on how to properly insure your business should the unthinkable happen, contact one of our industry experts on (01905) 21681 or [email protected].

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