Fireproofing Your Commercial Kitchen

Fire safety is crucial in a commercial kitchen due to the presence of heat, open flames, and cooking oils.

Regardless of whether you are the executive chef at an internationally famous restaurant or the proprietor of a snack shop near the beach, fire safety should be at the top of your list of priorities. If you believe you do not need to worry about fireproofing your commercial kitchen, you already have a problem.


Why Fireproofing Matters

Some restaurateurs do not fully consider the inherent risks found in commercial kitchens. Many commercial kitchens frequently use deep fryers, which are particularly hazardous because of the build-up of fat and cooking oil. This creates a significant fire hazard because these substances have the potential to catch fire without a flame or ignition source.

In addition to deep fryers, oil and grease build-up on kitchen hoods, exhaust ducts, and extractor fans have the potential to auto-ignite. Once established, a blaze can quickly spread throughout the kitchen and into the dining area. The potential for a catastrophic event is very high in this scenario.

The high-temperature cooking equipment in commercial kitchens is also a factor involved in fires. Additionally, alcohol and cleaning products are highly flammable substances typically found in these environments.


Fireproofing is Everyone’s Job

Make sure that all of your team understands that ensuring safety is in everyone’s job description. While your whole staff will not be responsible for many of the more significant decisions that impact fireproofing, all team members must take an active role in fire safety. There are several tasks all staff should be able to do that will enhance the safety of your commercial kitchen. These include:

  • Maintain a clean and organised kitchen – Build-up of grease, oil, and debris all contribute to an increased risk of fire. Assign cleaning tasks to team members and follow up on their compliance.
  • Know what to do in case of fire – All employees should have training so they can act in the event of fire. This instruction should include how to extinguish a fire, detect fires, use fire extinguishers, and an evacuation plan with a backup plan if the initial route is impassable.
  • Know and follow fire safety codes – Your staff should know what is required to adhere to safety codes and should be comfortable enough with the information to instruct others.


Five Ways to Fireproof

1. Design Your Kitchen Based on Safety

A great deal goes into commercial kitchen design. Typically, workflow is a primary consideration in commercial kitchen design. You can maintain a kitchen that runs well while building safety into your design. Ideally, this starts while you are still in the planning phase of your kitchen. Installing a well-planned fire suppression system at the beginning of your build will save time and money rather than retrofitting down the line.


2. Identify the Areas With the Highest Risk

The areas with the most significant risk are usually deep fryers, cooking ranges, and cooking grills. Be sure to focus on these spaces when planning the placement of fire suppression equipment. Also, plan to store flammable materials safely from potential trouble spots.


3. Always Choose Experience

When planning your new commercial kitchen, cutting a few corners to roll back expenses may be tempting. However, choosing your kitchen’s design and installation teams based solely on price could be a huge mistake. Experienced kitchen design and installation teams are essential for safe, organised, and profitable commercial kitchens. After all, your kitchen will not make any profit if it is engulfed in flames.


4. Choose Proven Fire Suppression Equipment

A professional commercial kitchen requires a well-designed fire suppression system that fits seamlessly in place. Ideally, your suppression system will automatically respond to the fire by cutting gas and electricity supply to the area. Other vital abilities to look for include:

  • Flame knockdown
  • Vapour securement
  • The ability to cool hot surfaces as well as hot cooking oil


5. Work With a Company That Stands With You After the Job is Completed

Some companies disappear once the commercial kitchen installation is finished. You need a company that understands the importance of end-to-end customer care. Working with a company that knows follow-up and continued care is essential for kitchen and restaurant safety.

A fireproof commercial kitchen is a safe space for everyone involved in your business. Lead your staff by example and ensure protocols are followed and that the Australian fire safety standards are met.

If you would like assistance with ensuring your kitchen is as safe as possible, feel free to contact Tob Labs. Our industry experts can answer your questions and assist you in making sure your commercial kitchen is as safe as possible.