by Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions

Commercial kitchen fires account for a large number of fire claims in Canada. The majority of these fires are the result of poor construction or maintenance practices. Fires tend to start when flare-ups ignite the grease residue on the filters or within the exhaust duct. The following tips can help you prevent costly kitchen fires:

Implement a Consistent Cleaning Schedule

Poor maintenance and cleaning practices significantly increase the risk of a fire in a kitchen. Grease and oil build-up is inevitable in most commercial kitchens so these highly-flammable substances should be removed/cleaned as soon as possible. Employees should regularly clean areas of the kitchen that are consistently exposed to grease, including walls, ranges, grills, fryers, and hood filters.

Make Sure Your Fire Suppression System Is Adequate

Since not all commercial kitchens will be the same, it is important to have a certified fire protection provider assess your kitchen to ensure that every piece of equipment that is required by code is covered by the fire suppression system. They will ensure your fire suppression system covers equipment specified in the code. It is also important to have your kitchen suppression system re-evaluated by a certified provider when you install new equipment or move equipment around.

The fire suppression system must be a wet chemical system that meets the current UL-300 and ULC/1254.6 codes for commercial kitchens that do any deep-frying or grilling. The wet chemical fire suppression systems must be inspected semi-annually by a certified provider. The certified provider will place a tag on the system to indicate when it was last serviced.

Keep Ventilation Clean

It is important to keep your hood and exhaust ventilation system clean. A build-up of grease can not only cause a fire but also reduce the overall performance of the kitchen exhaust system. Grease build-up can cause a kitchen hood to crack, swell, blister, or deteriorate, which can cause ventilation hood leaks that require expensive repairs.

The hood is the most visible component and contains filters. The size and make required will be dependent on the number of appliances under it as well as the type of appliances. Kitchen hood and exhaust ducts must be cleaned by a qualified service provider on a semi-annual basis. The servicing company will place a sticker on the hood indicating the date that it was cleaned as well as the next cleaning date.

For more information on fire prevention strategies, please contact one of Western Financial Group’s risk management professionals at 1.800.665.8990.