Each year in the United States an estimated 5,900 restaurant fires are reported to U.S. Fire Departments and cause an estimated average of 75 injuries and $172 million in property loss. Cooking is the leading cause of these fires, most of which are small and confined. Electrical malfunctions and heating are the next leading cause, resulting in larger, nonconfined fire losses. The majority of restaurant fires, not surprisingly, start in cooking areas and kitchens, followed by roof surface areas and exterior wall surface areas.
Leading equipment involved in ignition include deep fryers, ranges, and other kitchen equipment, followed by electrical wiring, grills, hibachis, and barbecues.
A major contributor to the decrease in fire fatalities and injuries over the past 30 years is the improved use of equipment used to detect and extinguish fires. You can best protect your restaurant from a fire situation by following these precautionary steps:
- Cooking appliances and hood and duct systems are protected by a UL 300 compliant automatic extinguishing system. Schedule an inspection of this system by a qualified contractor at least semi-annually.
- Instruct employees in the proper use of fire extinguishers and in the manual activation of automatic extinguishing systems, in the event they fail to operate automatically.
- Protect your building by sprinkler systems and/or smoke/heat detection systems, connected to a central station for continual monitoring.
- Keep electrical systems upgraded, do not overload circuit breakers, and have a qualified electrician inspect your wiring and circuit protection equipment regularly. (Keep records of all inspections for at least seven years).
- Steam clean cooking appliances, filters, and hood and duct areas on a regular basis to minimize grease accumulations (a minimum of semi-annually but more often for the filters).
- Make appropriate fire extinguishers available, including K Class extinguishers in kitchens, and ensure that employees know of their location and how to safely use them.
- Maintain proper clearance between cooking appliances and combustible building materials.
- Maintain an appropriate separation distances between open flame-producing cooking appliances and deep fryers (minimum 16” clearance space or 8” steel or tempered glass baffle).
- Store flammable or combustible materials well away from sources of ignition.
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Acadia is pleased to share this material for the benefit of its customers. Please note, however, that nothing herein should be construed as either legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness. Recipients of this material must utilize their own individual professional judgment in implementing sound risk management practices and procedures.