If you can’t stand the heat … prevent kitchen fires

Whether you’re whipping up fried chicken for a family picnic or for a hungry crowd of diners in your restaurant, chances are you’ll be playing with fire. Some easy safety measures will keep you — and your meal — from getting burned.

Commercial kitchensCommercial kitchens

Keep your fire-suppression system up to code. Although you can’t eliminate every fire hazard, by meeting the UL 300 standard for fire-extinguishing systems you will be equipped to fight fires in your kitchen and avoid major losses. The UL 300-listed fire extinguishing systems use wet chemicals, trapping the combustible vapors and oxygen that sustain a fire while also discouraging re-ignition.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking accounted for nearly 30 percent of nonresidential fires in 2013. The NFPA also estimates that fire departments in the United States respond to an average of nearly 8,000 fires in eating and drinking establishments per year, with an average loss of almost $250,000.

Beyond having an up-to-date fire-suppression system, The National Restaurant Association recommends:

  • Keeping portable extinguishers as backup — Class K for high-temperature grease fires and Class ABC extinguishers for all other fires
  • Scheduling regular maintenance on electrical equipment
  • Having your exhaust system inspected for grease build-up

Visit Preventing Losses on grinnellmutual.com for more fire safety talks and resources to share with your kitchen staff.

Home kitchensHome kitchens

Cooking brings people together and creates warm fuzzies all around. But don’t let distractions get the best of you, or you could ruin way more than a dinner party.

The NFPA says about 43 percent of reported home fires result from cooking, and more than a third of those result in injuries. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen just in case there’s a flare-up. The NFPA also offers these other simple tips to prevent a cooking fire:

  • “Stand by your pan,” is an oft-repeated fire-safety tip. Stay in the kitchen.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing if you’re at the stove.
  • Turn pan handles toward the back of the stove to prevent scalding spills on children, pets, or yourself.
  • In the event of a fire, call 9-1-1 first. Avoid the temptation to pour water or flour on the fire. If you’re able to, cover the pan with a lid to smother the fire instead.

More information about fire prevention

This article is part of a series of articles for Fire Prevention Week. Read the other articles in the series.

Visit our Front Porch blog on grinnellmutual.com for more fire safety tips.

The information included in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice, but should be confirmed with alternative sources.

Updated 10.16