Kitchen Fire Suppression: Safeguarding Commercial Kitchens

14 May 2024 in Commercial

Kitchen Fire Suppression: Safeguarding Commercial Kitchens

Trying to extinguish a commercial kitchen fire without an effective commercial kitchen fire suppression system is like trying to tame a pack of wolves that hasn’t eaten for a week. 

Fire is voracious, especially in an environment where there are hot fats, flammable gases, and other combustible risks. Read on for disaster prevention tips, common causes of kitchen fires, and how to keep kitchen facilities safe from fire. 

Why is Kitchen Fire Spread Tricky to Contain? 

A bustling kitchen is like a carefully choreographed dance, where chefs, sous chefs and other staff move between stoves and prep stations fast while handling flammable materials.

Grease fires burn hot and will splatter and spread if you add water. It’s important to have effective kitchen fire suppression systems installed that are appropriate for oil and grease fires.

What are Common Causes of Kitchen Fires?

Scenarios that lead to fires breaking out in commercial kitchens include:

  • Build-up of grease around cooking surfaces
  • Electrical malfunctions
  • Fast-paced activity around heat and flammable substances leading to human error
  • Overheating of oil or equipment 

Although human error can’t always be avoided, installing the best fire suppression systems for a commercial kitchen will help in disaster prevention

Why Installing a Commercial Kitchen Fire Suppression System Matters

Kitchen fires are high-risk, not just to the immediate space and kitchen personnel but to the wider building, too. Fires that begin in the kitchen may spread quickly to the rest of the building, without early detection, alarms, and the right equipment to extinguish kitchen flames fast.

Kitchens that lack the necessary firefighting equipment will not pass safety inspections, and thus are a liability risk. 

What Extinguishing Agents are Used to Extinguish Kitchen Flames

The main types of extinguishing agents used in commercial kitchens are:

  • Chemical extinguishing agents: Common kitchen extinguishers typically contain potassium-based agents that react with oil or fat to create a foam-like substance
  • Water-based extinguishing agents: These are most effective against cloth, wood or paper
  • Foam-based extinguishing agents: These agents work by forming a blanket on the surface of a burning hazard, which helps to cool and smother the fire by removing oxygen
  • Dry chemical extinguishing agents: These firefighting agents put out fires by coating the fuel with a thin layer of dust which interrupts the chemical reaction of the fire

The most versatile kitchen fire suppression systems use a combination of these methods, and it is crucial to have a system installed that covers every fire breakout possibility. 

What about Commercial Compliance and Financial Risks? 

South African regulations mandate that building owners/operators install fire safety equipment in commercial establishments.

If you do not have the correct, SABS-approved fire extinguishers in operable condition installed, you could be liable for a fine up to R100 000 plus two years’ jail time, according to OHSA (the Occupational Health and Safety Act).

Add to that the cost of damage to expensive equipment and rented or owned commercial kitchen space, and choosing to install adequate fire suppression systems is a no-brainer. 

How do you Keep Staff Safe in Commercial Kitchen Fires?

To ensure that your staff is safe in the event of a fire breaking out: 

  1. Ensure that staff is trained and educated on common fire risks and hazards. 
  2. Keep strict safety measures and fire-wise storage systems in place. 
  3. Ensure that firefighting equipment is clearly labelled and easy to access in all scenarios.
  4. Conduct regular fire drills so that staff stay prepared for emergency situations. 

ERF Group is an accredited designer and installer of Ansul ® Piranha Kitchen Systems. These systems combine exclusive fire suppression agents (PRX Liquid Fire Suppressant) with water to provide comprehensive protection against fire hazards.

Do you need to have your fire extinguishers serviced, or a  complete commercial kitchen fire suppression system installed? 

Contact ERF Group now for a quote. 




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By browsing this website, you agree to our privacy policy.
I Agree