Restaurant fires are one of the biggest threats to the restaurant business. According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 8,000 restaurants in the United States are damaged by fire every year. If your restaurant has a fire, you will be out of business until costly repairs are made.
There are a few simple steps you should take to help prevent fires and minimize the damage in the event of a fire.
Your cooking equipment’s exhaust system removes smoke and fumes from your restaurant, which makes it important to keep the exhaust fans operating at all times. The exhaust of cooking equipment contains grease that accumulates in the ducts.
This is important to know because the majority of significant fires in restaurants involve the ignition of grease accumulated in the ducts. When an exhaust system is cleaned regularly, the chance of a duct fire is reduced. This is why it is important that all parts of the exhaust system be regularly cleaned of grease, including grease traps, exhaust hoods, and hood filters.
A certified employee employed by a company we have approved must inspect and clean grease from all parts of your exhaust system. These inspections and cleanings must be conducted at least every 3 months to prevent excessive accumulation of grease. A list of companies we approved to clean your exhaust system are on the following websites:
After having your ducts clean by an approved company, you should make sure that the filters in your kitchen are free of grease buildup. Also, make sure to keep records of the quarterly cleaning and inspection for when one our inspectors visits your restaurant. Lastly, any records for the quarterly inspection and cleaning must be signed by the person conducting them and these records must be available for our inspection.
If the approved company you hire does the cleaning when your restaurant is closed or when you are not present, you should ask the company for photographs that show your equipment before and after it was inspected and cleaned. You should also remove a grease filter and visually verify that the hood area has been cleaned to bare metal.
Fire extinguishing systems for cooking equipment automatically release chemicals to put out a fire. The system can also be manually activated. When your system is activated, gas and electricity to the cooking equipment will be shutdown. It is important to never cook if the fire extinguishing system is not working. It is also important to have a Master Fire Suppression Contractor that is licensed by the Department of Buildings service your fire extinguishing system at least once every 6 months to ensure the system is working. You must keep records of the company servicing your equipment for our inspection.
Class K extinguishers are needed for kitchen areas when cooking with grease, fats, and oils. Class K fire extinguishers should be used to extinguish a fire only after activating the built-in cooking equipment fire extinguishing system.
Additionally, Class A, B, and C extinguishers are needed in all kitchen areas and in the customer area of your restaurant. The fire extinguishers must be mounted off the floor and serviced every year by a fire extinguisher company approved by us. The list of approved companies is on our website at here.
A sign summarizing the exhaust system cleaning requirements and a sketch of the exhaust system ducts must be posted near the main entrance to the kitchen. A sign must also be posted to indicate how to manually activate the fire extinguishing system.
All kitchen employees must be trained on how to clean the exhaust system grease filters and activate the cooking equipment’s fire extinguishing system. Training on how to activate the fire extinguishing system must be repeated every 6 months. You must maintain training records for our inspection.
All required exits must not be blocked or hidden, and make sure you never have more customers than your restaurant is allowed to have. Blocked exits and overcrowding are dangerous conditions that may prevent customers from getting out of your restaurant in the event of a fire. If your restaurant’s maximum number of allowable occupants is above 75, you will need to comply with additional public assembly requirements.
Your storage area in your restaurant should be arranged neatly and not blocking any stairways. Make certain that trash and recyclables are stored in containers with tight lids and removed from the restaurant on a daily basis.