Operators of commercial kitchens face a range of pressures every day – keeping hungry diners happy, ensuring staff are productive and safe, and making enough revenue to keep their doors open.

In this challenging environment, it can be easy to ignore the risks that fires pose to their people and property. These threats are real and ever-present, however.

There are three primary types of equipment that are likely to cause such kitchen blazes – deep-fat fryers, cooking ranges and cooking grills. Fryers, for example, use flammable cooking oil that can result in grease build-up in hoods and ducts. If that grease ignites, it can quickly cause a fire that spreads through the kitchen and beyond.

Apart from the threat to lives, a serious fire can also cause considerable downtime, or even put a restaurant or catering facility out of business. 

5 questions for facility managers to consider

Given such high stakes, it is important for all facility owners or managers of commercial kitchens to assess their fire risks.

Ideally, this could involve bringing in fire-safety experts to conduct an inspection and audit of the kitchen. If the assessment is conducted internally, the following questions should be asked:

  1. Does your kitchen rely on equipment that has a high risk of catching fire? This could include deep-fat fryers, cooking ranges, grills and woks.
  1. Do you have wood-fired equipment in your kitchen? Clearly, such equipment is especially vulnerable to fire risks.
  1. Is your exhaust system regularly inspected for grease build-up and routinely cleaned and maintained? Such checks and servicing are a proven risk-mitigation strategy.
  1. Do you have suitable fire extinguishers located throughout the kitchen? This basic measure can make the difference between a fire destroying a business, or being quickly put out.
  1. Are your kitchen personnel trained in how to respond to a fire in an emergency? There is no excuse for overlooking this key safety measure.

These questions are the starting point in the quest for high levels of safety in commercial kitchens. They should also help inform the installation of a dedicated kitchen fire-suppression system that meets all rules and regulations under the Australian Standards regime.

Sophisticated solutions ready for deployment

A range of proven fire-suppression systems are available for commercial kitchen operators that safeguard workers and customers, while also minimising any possible business disruption.

Importantly, such systems can be installed in new kitchens, or retro-fitted for existing kitchen cooker hoods and fry stations.

One proven solution is the Ansul R-102 system, which quickly detects and suppresses a kitchen fire before it has time to take hold. This pre-engineered method uses an advanced suppression agent that has three vital characteristics: fast flame knockdown; vapour securement; and the ability to cool hot surfaces and cooking oils.

Any post-fire clean-up requires no more than flushing the affected area with water or steam, ensuring the kitchen can get back to full operation quickly.

Another option is the Amerex KP-PRM fire-suppression system, which is renowned for combining fire detection and suppression in a single package. It uses linear pneumatic detection technology and a fast-reaction, low-pH, wet chemical suppression agent that targets cooking fat and grease fires.

Tubing is routed through the hood and is designed to rupture when exposed to significant heat. This discharges the suppressant.

Go with experience and a trusted supplier

There are many considerations to factor in when choosing and installing fire-suppression systems. For example, determining where the system components should be mounted is crucial. The selection of manual activation locations also requires expertise.

This highlights the importance of choosing an experienced supplier of fire-suppression systems. Opting for anything else can be disastrous. Why?

Well, the cost of effective kitchen fire-suppression is low compared with the potential lost revenue and expensive repairs that are the inevitable aftermath of an out-of-control fire – not to mention the risk to the lives of staff and diners. 

Installing, servicing and maintaining fire-suppression systems in commercial kitchens can save businesses and lives. So, find out more and contact Australia’s leading provider of commercial kitchen fire-safety solutions here.

Also read: Never cut corners with servicing of fire-suppression systems.

Could your business benefit from some expert fire protection advice?