Restaurant Fires in the United States
Restaurants have all the necessary factors for a fire to flame out of control. Some of these are open flames, cooking equipment, electrical connections, a hot kitchen environment and paper products. It would be a great disaster for a business owner if he experiences such unfortunate accident. It could mean a great loss of fortune for the business or worse, closure of the business venture.
SOME FACTS ABOUT RESTAURANT FIRES IN THE UNITED STATES
These data are taken from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These are informative statistics that might interest you if you are interested to venture in a food business like a restaurant.
- According to NFPA, from 2010-2014, approximately 61% of restaurant fires in America are caused primarily by cooking- with cooking equipment as the main cause. This constitutes three of five fires and 38% of direct property damage. When you think about it, it really makes sense that cooking equipment is the main cause of a restaurant fire since it is the constant source of heat and fuel throughout the day.
- Approximately 22% of these fires were caused by failure of cleaning, 14% due to electrical failure or malfunction, 12% is caused by mechanical malfunction and 8% is due to unattended equipment. If you leave your kitchen equipment unclean over time, the possibility of grease build up arises. A major build-up of grease in the kitchen can also cause fire hazards.
- The major cooking equipment that can contribute to a fire are the following:
- Deep Fryers- 21%
- Cooktops or ranges- 14%
- Cooking grills- 6%
- Ovens- 5%
- Restaurant fires resulted in property damage of about $165 million every year. It is important to know here that not only the restaurant building is affected but also other nearby establishments if the fire is not controlled right away. Also, lives of people can be at risk when a fire accident occurs.
RECENT RESTAURANT FIRE INCIDENT IN THE UNITED STATES
On the evening of July 16, the Michelin restaurant Manresa in Los Gatos was damaged by fire. Fire fighters saw significant damage to the roof and the facilities inside the restaurant. The establishment is still close for business.
BASIC RESTAURANT FIRE SAFETY MEASURES
The best thing to prevent this kind of accident is to have preventive measures on hand. There are many ways to do this but let’s focus on two major ways.
- Preventive Maintenance
- Install a fire suppression system in the kitchen. This one is important because as mentioned earlier, majority of the cause of restaurant fires is because of cooking equipment. This system can help supress flames by automatically dispensing chemicals. Always see to it that your fire suppression system is also well maintained.
- Have fire extinguishers in different areas. These portable fire fighting items can come in handy whenever a small fire starts and can still be controlled.
- Always have a regular maintenance of electrical wirings and equipment. Another cause of kitchen fires is the electrical wirings and equipment. Always check with your contractor for any fayed cords or electrical wiring, cracked or broken switch and other combustible electrical materials.
- Have your kitchen exhaust systems regularly inspected. NFPA-96 Standard calls for a regular inspection of the kitchen exhaust systems installed in commercial kitchens. This can be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually depending on the classification of the business. It is done to prevent grease build-up which can also cause fire in the kitchen.
- Proper staff training
- Train your staff to be familiar and to use fire extinguishers. It is better to stop a small fire before it burns up the whole establishment. Conduct trainings and seminars on the proper use of fire extinguishers as these can be of great help when an emergency arises.
- Always inform your staff to clean the kitchen equipment regularly. This is done to prevent any build-up of grease in your kitchen equipment.
- Inform your staff of proper disposal of cigarettes. Tell them also not to smoke near storage areas and make sure that cigarettes are out before disposing them in trash bins.
- Handle chemicals properly. This goes especially to fire igniting chemicals. Always place them in well ventilated areas and keep them away from supplies, food supplies or any source of flames.
These are just some of the few methods that you can use to minimize the occurrence of a kitchen fire in your establishment. It is always better to prevent this than suffer a great loss of investment, property or even a life.