COVID-19 has caused lockdowns and put severe financial pressure on many restaurants, but as venues start to operate normally again it is crucial to ensure that fire-prevention measures are not being neglected.

In the rush to reopen their establishments after COVID-19 lockdowns, many restaurateurs and caterers will have a long list of tasks to tick off on their checklist.

The chances are that paying attention to fire-safety matters could slip their mind. Such an oversight could be disastrous for the business and its employees given that commercial kitchens represent a high fire risk because of the presence of deep-fat fryers, cooking ranges and cooking grills in such facilities. Highly flammable cooking oil or grease can build up in hoods and ducts of fryers and cause a blaze.

Maintenance the key

Under Australian Workplace Safety Standards, fire systems and other fire-safety equipment must be properly serviced and maintained to comply with various state and federal government rules.

Depending on the equipment or systems, monthly, six-monthly or annual inspections, tests and servicing should be carried out by an accredited professional. Many food-service operators also conduct their own daily or weekly checks, even if it is as simple as ensuring that cylinder gauges are in good condition.

As many kitchens have been closed for extended periods during the pandemic lockdowns, there is a fear that some restaurants may have become lax with their maintenance procedures, or have abandoned them altogether. Others may be seeking to minimise risk-related spending at a time when the hospitality sector has been doing it tough.

Indeed, fire-suppression service providers report that maintenance enquiries have declined in some markets. They believe there is a higher likelihood that stagnant kitchen-protection systems could fail to operate properly, or that there could be a major failure within the system that has not been picked up because of a lack of servicing.

These fire-safety experts urge restaurant owners to ensure that they book maintenance check-ups as soon as possible to prevent possible threats to their people and property.

Sophisticated safeguards available

In commercial kitchens, sophisticated fire-prevention systems that incorporate the latest fire suppression agents and technology can literally starve a fire of air – so long as they have been checked properly.

For example, the Amerex KP-PRM restaurant fire-suppression system is a single package that can both detect and suppress fires. Using an advanced suppression agent, it has the ability to control a fire before the blaze takes hold and encroaches on other areas of a restaurant.

Another popular pre-engineered system for use in commercial kitchens is the Ansul R-102. It can also automatically detect and suppress a kitchen fire quickly using a suppression agent that has three vital characteristics: fast flame knockdown; vapour securement; and the ability to cool hot surfaces and cooking oils.

As good as these systems are in terms of controlling fire risks, they may not provide the highest levels of protection if they have not been adequately serviced.

Don’t take any chances

Fire-safety professionals can advise restaurant and catering managers on an array of fire alarm systems, portable fire extinguishers and an arsenal of delivery systems, ranging from firefighting monitors, gaseous suppression systems and foam concentrates.

Such systems and associated servicing is affordable and can prevent potentially major losses to a business if a fire breaks out. So book in that service – now. Let’s do this, book my service.

Whatever type or size of commercial kitchen you operate, we are confident that you will benefit from our expert fire protection systems. Learn more.

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