All commercial buildings need to follow some basic guidelines when it comes to fire safety. For most businesses, that means having a fire safety plan and a functional fire alarm, as well as some form of fire suppression.
However, there are some types of businesses which pose a higher risk of fire, which means that they also need to have a more serious approach to fire safety.
Restaurants are one such business, since they work with heat all the time, including those which work with open flames and flammable natural gas.
Red Truck Fire has some tips about what kinds of fire suppression systems are ideal for a restaurant.
Restaurant Fires Have a Favorite Time of Day
Believe it or not, a vast majority of all restaurant fires happen in the morning, typically around 10 AM. Researchers who have compiled this interesting statistics have not offered any reasoning behind why this is the case, but it is not too hard to figure out.
This is around the time when most restaurants start their furnaces and other cooking equipment, so the chance of something going wrong is the highest.
In fact, the statistics proves that somewhat, because it is listed that more than half of all restaurant fires were caused by faulty equipment or improper handling of said equipment, whereas only a smaller percentage was due to due to failure to clean the cooking oil.
What Causes Restaurant Fires
As mentioned before, at least half of all fires are caused by the equipment itself, but when it comes to the other half, there are various factors which may cause a fire.
The most obvious one is the cooking oil which was either not cleaned properly, or was spilled during the cooking process.
Another very likely cause of a fire is the general mess in the kitchen. Leaving rags, paper and other flammable materials near the open flame which is often used in restaurants has also been known to cause fires.
The first line of defense against kitchen fires should be a lid for the pan the chef is using. Starving the fire of oxygen should very effectively smother the fire and prevent it from escalating into something serious.
However, if the problem does escalate, or the fire was not started due to the cooking oil, it is always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher nearby. Just make sure that it is the proper type, i.e. that it was intended to be used in the kitchen.
In some cases, even the fire extinguisher might not be enough to beat the flames before they escalate into a serious fire.
That is why some business owners are installing sprinkler systems in their restaurants. However, water-based sprinklers are not a great idea for a kitchen fire.
Fortunately, our fire safety technology has advanced to include things like dry sprinkler systems which use a dry chemical which can subdue the flames before they can do any more serious damage. The powder is also neutral towards electricity, which is another advantage it has over conventional water-based sprinkler systems.
Having a good fire suppression system is important, but so is keeping it functional and up to date, like extinguisher servicing and sprinkler system inspections. That’s why there are strict rules and inspections which your systems need to pass every so often.