Preventing grease fires should always be the main goal in any commercial kitchen. Having your kitchen exhaust cleaned and taking the proper precautions should be top priority. Although with all these things you do, a grease fire could still occur. Follow these simple rules if a grease fire does occur.
- Do Not Panic. When there is a fire it is natural to panic and have a slip in judgment. Remember stay calm and you can control the fire quickly and safely.
- Do Not Pour Water on a Grease Fire. Water makes it worse and will only spread the fire. Oil floats on top of water and burns at a much higher temperature than water boils. When water is thrown onto a grease fire the water sinks below the oil and is flash-boiled to steam by the intense heat which blows the oil out like a small explosion. The oil then breaks into thousands of tiny droplets and all those droplets have a lot more surface are than the original pool of oil. With more surface area this allows the oil to mix with oxygen at an increased rate this speeds up the combustion of the oil so much that it transitions from “on fire” to “exploding.”
- Do Not Move Burning Materials. Moving the item on fire could make matters worse. Grease could splatter and cause injury or additional fires.
- Turn Off the Heat Source. If the grease fire happens on the cook top you should immediately turn off the heat. This will stop any further splashes of grease or oil from being ignited. Removing the source of flame gives the fire a chance of going out on its own.
- Cover the Flames. If the fire occurs within a pot or pan simply covering the cookware can help smother the flames. Sliding a wet towel, metal lid, baking sheet, or another pan over the flames from front to back to keep any oil that may splash away from you.
- Use a Fire Extinguisher. If the fire has spread beyond the pot or pan grab the closest fire extinguisher. You have to control the flames before they overtake the equipment and spread to the exhaust hood. Do not aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. Aim it so that the spray goes over and onto the fire while standing several feet back from the flames.
- Activate the Fire Suppression System. If the grease fire has gotten out of control the automatic fire suppression system should activate. However, if for some reason the system does not activate, get out of the kitchen and activate the system manually buy pulling the switch on the wall.
Of course it’s always best to prevent these fires from ever happening in the first place and you can do that by cleaning your kitchen exhaust system regularly and staying in compliance with the NFPA 96 Code. If you are in need of commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning, contact us at 877.454.6790.