From 2015 to 2018 Fires in the Kitchen of Healthcare facilities accounted for the highest percentages of fires within the organizations. Why? The grease producing nature of cooking and the increased combustible load in storage spaces.
Reducing Fires in the Kitchen Area:
There are several steps that organizations can take to reduce the risk of and chance for a fire in their kitchen. Some are listed below:
1. Protect: Ensure that the grease producing cooking areas (the highest risk of fire) are protected by one of the following automatic fire suppression systems:
-Carbon dioxide extinguishing systems, NFPA 12, focus on hoods and duct systems to remove flammable gases.
-Automatic sprinkler systems, NFPA 13, include spray nozzles in exhaust ducts, duct collars, and plenum chambers; as well as foam-water sprinkler or spray systems, NFPA 16.
-Dry-chemical extinguishing systems, NFPA 17, interrupt the chemical reaction by removing access to oxygen. They can also be used on flammable liquid fires involving live electrical
-Wet-chemical extinguishing systems, NFPA 17A.2, are the most common ways to extinguish commercial cooking oil fires. The wet chemical system saponifies the fire. Saponification is the
conversion of fat or oil into soap by adding a strong alkali.
2. Test the fire suppression system as required by the manufacturer (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually). The largest finding in this area relates to the nozzles of the suppression system were not pointing to where the fire originated due to equipment being moved or lack of maintenance on the nozzles.
3. Accessibility: Ensure that a Class-K extinguisher is within 30 foot of the grease producing cooking area, is accessible and is never blocked.
4. Drill: Conduct fire drills with staff more frequently than in other areas. Consider a quarterly fire drill that includes all staff. Ensure the fire drill is as realistic as possible to simulate the true environment of what a fire in the kitchen would be like. Drill and more drills.
5. Educate all staff in and around the kitchen on the different types of fire extinguishing systems, how to use the systems and how to activate the fire alarm systems in the event a fire does occur and make certain they are comfortable with handling a Class K Fire Extinguisher.
There are ways to reduce and prevent fires from occurring in the kitchen. The simplest way is to ensure staff are trained and the systems put in place are always 100% functional. Prevention is the best solution to protecting the organization from any fire – especially in the Kitchen.
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