Promoting Fire Safety In A Commercial Kitchen

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Next week has been given the designation of Fire Prevention Week, and numerous safety agencies and government entities are providing tips on avoiding a blaze.  Much of the advice on hand is focused on things like how to avoid a fire in the home or while out at a campfire, but scant attention is usually paid to commercial fire safety during these types of events.

Cintas, though, has released a series of safety tips focused not on the home or on the outdoors but on commercial kitchens.  This is important, as a lack of training, proper procedures, or fire suppressant materials can contribute to a given blaze spiraling out of control.  This would endanger not just employees but all those persons who frequent whatever business establishment the fire takes place in.  Therefore, it’s imperative that employers and employees alike comb through these tips and take note of any shortfalls in their own workplace.

One of the most important things that needs to take place is the proper training of all employees who are going to be in an environment where a fire could break out.  This training should take place at the beginning of a new employee’s tenure and at regular refresher intervals throughout their time working there.  Any time there’s an update to policy, whether due to a new piece of equipment or a better way to respond to a blaze, every employee should be trained on the new procedures.

Employees should also have some means of getting out of the environment and alerting everyone else when it becomes clear that a fire cannot be contained.  There should be evacuation routes in place allowing an expedient exit, and employees should have a deep understanding of this brought about by constantly revisiting proper directives.

Of course, the safest fire is that which never happens in the first place.   Therefore, the right appliances should not only be used, but used in the proper manner.  Electrical cords, paper, and other types of flammable materials should be far from cooking surfaces, while each worker should have an understanding of what they can and cannot place inside of a microwave.  Items should be unplugged while not in use (which can also reduce shock and laceration hazards), with a thorough inspection at the end of the day ensuring this has occurred.

Also make sure you have the right fire suppressant materials on hand in case a fire breaks out.  The press release notes that an extinguisher rated as Class K will offer the best protection in a commercial kitchen.  You should adhere to the usage recommendations and shelf life noted on extinguishers so that they get replaced on a regular basis.  There should also be multiple units available in case one breaks or fires get out of control.