About a third of all restaurant fires originate within the kitchen area and are typically flash fires in cooking products. The prevention of these incidents requires two essential steps: control of flammable sources and control of combustible materials. The most typical source of kitchen fire is fat, a natural byproduct of many cooking processes.
When fats are heated, they change from a solid to a liquid. They then drain off as oil, or become atomized particles in the air, propelled upward by thermal currents from the firing process. Low temperature cooking generates more liquid fat; high-temperature cooking produces much more fat-laden steam.
The vapor is drawn into the range hood where, as it cools, it settles on surfaces and becomes a fire hazard within the exhaust program. If the staff in the kitchen area have had the proper training and the correct safety products are available, a stove fire can be extinguished in a few moments. Otherwise, it can rapidly expand in ductwork, reaching 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, as it comes into contact with extremely flammable lint and grease particles.
Consequently, an automatic fire safety program is a must. In fact, most state insurance departments require a fire safety inspection by a range hood expert before insurance coverage companies can issue a commercial fire insurance coverage policy. As we have mentioned, the site generally must be re-inspected every six months to maintain current insurance coverage.
Even if the six-month rule doesn’t apply in your area, it’s still a good idea to have your show professionally cleaned and checked twice a year. The National Fire Safety Association (NFPA) is the authority on this subject and sets strict standards for commercial kitchen area installations. Most canopy manufacturers provide fire safety methods as part of their package, including installation, but you can also hire a freelance installer.
An automatic fire safety system consists of spray nozzles located on each piece of external cookware (not ovens) around the hot line. You will find very particular rules about the number of nozzles and their locations: Cooktops require 1 nozzle per 48 linear inches. Planks require 1 nozzle for every six feet of linear space. Open grills (gas, electric, or charcoal) require one nozzle for every 48 inches of grill area.
Tilt pans need a spout for a 48-inch-wide area. Fryers require 1 nozzle each or 1 nozzle per 20 inches of fryer surface. Nozzles are positioned 24 to 42 inches above the top of the equipment. (This varies depending on the type of appliance.) The nozzles activate instantly to shoot water or perhaps a liquid fire retardant into the cooking area when the temperature reaches 280 to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
The heat detector may be located in the ductwork or inside the hood. Within the ductwork, there is also an internal fire protection system: a fusible link or perhaps a separate thermostat is wired to instantly close a fire damper at the ends of each section of the ductwork. The exhaust fan shuts off, along with a water spray or liquid fire retardant being released into the interior. Other similar systems can be operated by hand instead of instantly.
Some keep the exhaust fan running to help remove smoke during a fire. In addition to the fire protection of the exhaust system, several portable fire extinguishers must be mounted on the kitchen walls, and employees must know how to use them. The automated program, when activated, is so thorough that you have to close the kitchen and start a major cleanup, so a handheld fire extinguisher is often enough for minor outbreaks, plus much less mess.
These days, most insurance coverages require Type K fire extinguishers in commercial kitchens. The NFPA classifies fires by the type of material burning; “K” (for “kitchen”) was added to the list in 1998. These fire extinguishers work on the principle of saponification, the term for applying an alkaline mixture (for example, potassium acetate, potassium carbonate, or potassium citrate ) to cook on fire. oil or fat.
The combination creates a soapy foam that puts out the fire. Finally, as with any public work, ceiling-mounted sprinkler methods are also worth investigating, simply because installing them could significantly reduce your insurance coverage costs. There is a typical misperception that if you detect even one stray flame, the entire sprinkler program will shut down the entire process, but this is generally not the case.
In reality, most restaurant sprinkler systems have heads that activate only when a fire is detected directly below them. Ask your local fire department for fire safety training tips and suggestions for employees. And by all means, keep up with those fire inspections. In recent years, insurance companies have challenged kitchen area fire claims, with courts finding that the restaurateur is at fault, and cannot collect insurance money for fire damage, when there has not been Performed routine maintenance and cleaning.