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How to Keep your Commercial Kitchen Safe Even During COVID

by Jackie Berens

how to keep your commercial kitchen safe even during COVID UberEats is still a thing… how to keep your commercial kitchen safe even during COVID 

Though COVID may have your indoor dining capabilities on hold, the risk of kitchen fires remains. With DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats, and other take-out and delivery services, your kitchen can still be up and running! With cooking equipment being the leading cause of fires, with 61% of incidents, it’s important your kitchen remains safe with the proper equipment in place.

While fire may be essential to your kitchen’s functionality, it’s important that you don’t let that fire let loose on your personnel. Here are a few ways you can protect your kitchen today:

Ensure your cooking equipment is maintained. 

The majority of restaurant fires are due to cooking equipment. Ensure your equipment is in proper working condition and is fitted with suppression systems. Suppression systems can be extremely beneficial, as they shut down gas and electrical when a fire occurs. 

The suppression system’s ability to shut down gas and electricity can be the difference between a flare-up and a devastating fire. It’s important as a business owner to have their fire suppression systems inspected by professionals. 

Provide training for your employees.

Be sure your kitchen staff is informed on the proper fire safety and protocols in place to protect their wellbeing. In a kitchen, there are various types of fires that can occur, be sure your employees know how to handle each fire with care. 

In kitchens, grease fires are common, meaning your employees need to know what to do and what not to do during a grease fire. The nature of grease fires causes a reaction with fire, therefore the flames spread higher and can cause more injury. The best way to handle a grease fire is to smother it, if it can be done safely. 

Another aspect of training that is essential is how to prevent fires before they occur. In order for the kitchen staff to perform their duties in a safe way, they must maintain good practices within the kitchen. 

Ensure you have a proper escape plan in place

Illustrating an escape plan that puts your people out of harm’s way should be a top priority. When a fire grows uncontrollably, your employees need to get out. It should be designed to avoid a crowd of people, and ensure no injury is caused to all those leaving the restaurant. 

Clean up grease

Cleaning your kitchen is an essential part of fire safety for your business. Grease is extremely flammable and extremely dangerous as we mentioned above. When fires get out of control, it looks for a source of combustible energy… aka grease. It literally acts as fuel to the fire. Make sure your team has a thorough and regular cleaning schedule that includes cleaning off all built-up grease from surfaces.

One important place your team needs to clean grease is the ventilation system. This system is one of the most volatile and can multiply the effect of the fire. The ventilation serves as a trap for grease, smoke, and particles that are extremely combustible. Per the NFPA fire code, the hood, fan, and ductwork should be inspected and cleaned regularly. 

Be sure your sprinkler system works effectively.

Your kitchen’s sprinkler system will kick in when a fire gets large enough to activate sprinkler systems. These systems are triggered by smoke from the fire, so it is essential they are working properly. 

While fire sprinkler systems are the last defense against an out of control kitchen fire, they can be extremely effective in saving your building. All employees should be out of the kitchen at the point the sprinklers can be the difference between a burned kitchen and a burned down restaurant. 

Have extinguishers… and then have backup extinguishers

Fast-acting crew members are sometimes needed to help douse the flames and extinguish the fire. Ensure your fire extinguishers are clearly marked and in an accessible area for your team members. These extinguishers need to be inspected regularly by both your building manager as well as an expert inspector. 

Be sure all flammable material is away from flames

As we stated above, fire needs fuel. Once it begins to grow, it will continue if given the proper fuel. Within a kitchen, a fire can get out of control by being close to flammable materials that shouldn’t be close to the flames.

Flammable materials that may cause harm are items like food, clothing, paper, or towels. If your kitchen remains organized, you should be in good shape to prevent potential fires. 

Lastly, watch electrical cords within the kitchen area

Electrical equipment causes a large amount of fires, both within the kitchen and outside the kitchen. Within the kitchen, there are a lot of electrical appliances. When simultaneously running appliances, your restaurant’s electrical system can be burdened, leading to a fire.

Over time, electrical cables can fray and melt. Poorly designed outlets can become damaged. These damages can cause the equipment to malfunction. Inform your employees to look out for obvious damage and report it to management right away. 

At VFS, we understand how important your fire safety systems are to the wellbeing of your employees and the survival of your building. Because of this, we implement the specific fire and security systems needed for your unique building. 

We also provide inspections, testing, and maintenance of fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems, All inspections are conducted by VFS trained personnel as outlined by the requirements of the NFPA and local codes. 

Following every inspection, our staff will submit a report listing any changes or corrections that need to be made in order to ensure continued compliance. Your success is our success. We want to make sure your people and buildings remain safe. Contact us today to learn more! 

how to keep your commercial kitchen safe even during COVID

jackie
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How to Keep your Commercial Kitchen Safe Even During COVID
How to Keep your Commercial Kitchen Safe Even During COVID