Commercial Kitchen Fire Safety: 5 Essential Preventative Strategies

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: February 13, 2024

Whether you manage QSR locations across the city or own a corner cafe, it’s one of the worst things that can happen to your restaurant. A fire in the kitchen endangers lives, destroys property and shuts down operations indefinitely.

How long has it been since you reviewed your strategies for commercial kitchen fire safety? Do you know who to call when you need commercial fire restoration services?

It’s always a good idea to take a fresh look at established restaurant policies. Your practices and procedures for preventing a commercial kitchen fire deserve top priority.

5  Essential Strategies for Restaurant Fire Safety

When restaurant managers and owners call us in to tackle fire and smoke damage, we sometimes see situations that might have been prevented. Your hard work covers multiple bases every day, so we’ve consolidated five essential commercial kitchen fire safety strategies into an overview for your reference.

1. Make Equipment Safety a Priority

It comes as no surprise that cooking equipment is responsible for the majority of restaurant building fires. On average, 5,900 food service operations sustain substantial damage every year with property losses totaling over $172 million. From fryers to ovens, all equipment must be maintained in top condition.

Keeping your kitchen’s equipment clean on a daily basis is vital to restaurant fire safety. Back up that routine with professional inspections that address repairs before they become dangerous problems. Don’t let equipment outlive its ability to operate safely.

2. Bust Grease on a Regular Basis

Never underestimate the danger of flammable buildup in hoods and grease traps. These components of your kitchen’s cooking system constantly operate under high-heat conditions. Companies that install the equipment are your best source for hood scraping and trap-clearing services that help prevent grease fires.

Grease builds up in kitchen ductwork too posing another potential fire hazard over stoves and fryers. An experienced cleaning and restoration contractor addresses commercial duct cleaning from back to front of house. The service also helps maintain fresh, healthy indoor air quality.

3. Stay on Top of Sprinkler Systems

Automated fire sprinkler systems are critical components of commercial kitchen fire safety. Over time, their performance can be compromised by corrosion that affects sprinkler pipes and heads. Regular inspection identifies and addresses this kind of aging problem.

Often, restaurant remodeling work, buildouts or infrastructure repairs can affect a sprinkler system’s integrity. Always follow up any kind of construction project with a certified sprinkler inspection. It’s a small investment in your commercial kitchens’s long-term safety.

4. Verify Your Suppression System’s UL Compliance

UL 300 compliance was established as a safety benchmark for fire suppression systems in the early 1990s, but many commercial kitchens still operate with older systems. The newer technology continues to impress the food service industry with a track record of 95 percent reliability.

If you don’t know the age of your kitchen’s suppression system, verify the information during your next bi-annual inspection. If you aren’t familiar with its manufacturer and original installer, get those details too. You may want to consider an upgrade to ensure your kitchen’s safety.

5. Empower Your Employees

The best equipment and top-notch maintenance are never enough to prevent restaurant fires. Your best line of defense against a disaster stands with well-trained employees. Keep them ready for restaurant fire emergencies with monthly meetings and drills, and encourage their input for addressing safety issues.

Cover the basics, and include details about different fire extinguisher types and evacuation plans. When you empower new hires, kitchen and wait staff and front of house personnel with life-saving information, you help them protect themselves, your customers and your property.

Depend on Professional Backup

We list this strategy separately because it isn’t about prevention. It’s about quick recovery with the help of a professional restoration company. The best systems can fail, so getting your restaurant’s doors back open depends on immediate help from industry-trained specialists who take care of your property with:

  • High-tech water removal and drying techniques.
  • Expert smoke and soot cleanup.
  • Structural repairs and restoration.
  • Approved Vendor Status for working with insurance carriers.
  • Extensive experience navigating the claims process.

Fire damage cleanup isn’t a project for you or your employees. The work can be dangerous and often involves techniques requiring industry certification. It’s a process that belongs in the hands of highly trained professionals who get the job done safely, efficiently and up to code.

Here to Answer Your First Call

servicemaster fire damage crew

As the leading fire damage cleanup company in Chicago and the suburbs, we’re committed to sharing information that helps keep area businesses safe. We hope our strategic overview makes your job a little easier. Just let us know how we’re doing through our Comments Section.

We’re proud of our reputation as the city’s premier provider of commercial fire restoration services. Our teams maintain that standing by helping affected restaurant operations get their doors open as soon as possible.

If you’re ever faced with the aftermath of a restaurant fire, you can depend on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. We’re here to answer your first call 24/7 with the very best fire damage cleanup and restoration available.