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5 Critical Facts and Stats on Restaurant Fires

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

1. According to the NFPA, approximately 61% of all restaurant fires between 2010 and 2014 were caused by cooking – with cooking equipment or materials being the most frequent items initially ignited and therefore the cause of the fire. This makes up three out of five fires and 38% of direct property damage.

It makes sense that cooking equipment results in the most number of fires and property damage for eating and drinking establishments since it is a constant source of heat and fuel throughout the day. A major factor to also consider is why these fires aren’t properly contained or how they spread to the point of resulting in direct property damage. This leads us to our next important fact.

2. Approximately 22% of these fires were a result of failure to clean, 14% electrical failure or malfunction, 12% mechanical failure or malfunction and 8% unattended equipment.

If cooking appliances are not cleaned and maintained at regular intervals, excessive grease can build on surrounding surfaces. These collections of grease buildup exist very close to the cooking surfaces, and if not removed can present a dangerous fire hazard. As well, failure to properly clean your commercial kitchen and associated vents and ductwork can cause large amounts of liquid grease to accumulate and has been directly related to the leading cause of eating establishment structure fires. This truly details the importance of keeping your commercial kitchen clean and maintained.

3. Deep fryers were involved in one of five fires (21%), ranges or cooktops in 14% of fires, cooking grills in 6%, and ovens or rotisserie ovens in 5%.

Deep fryers deal with hot oil and grease more than any other piece of cooking equipment. This statistic illustrates how grease and vaporized oils are powerful fire igniters and fuel sources for uncontained fires. Proper maintenance and cleaning of deep fryers are essential to proper operation and to prevent misuse that could lead to a fire.

4. These fires resulted in direct property damage of $165 million annually.

Excluding the potential lives and injuries affected as a result of the fire, your property and livelihood are at stake. The more neglected and grease laden your kitchen is, the more likely the fire can spread to other parts of the building, or worse, to a building nearby. According to national averages, flame damages often remain contained to the building of origin where the fire started, but not the object that caught fire. This means that oftentimes other cooking equipment or property not directly involved in the fire become damaged. The cost of replacing equipment or restoring structural damage far exceeds the cost of regular equipment and vent hood cleaning.

5. In eating or drinking establishments, direct property damage per reported fire was 75% lower when wet pipe sprinklers were present, compared to fires with no automatic extinguishing equipment present.

Outside of required services, current codes, or “grandfathered” buildings, it is important to note how important it is to have fire preventative services/equipment in place. It is a direct factor in saving property as well as lives.

IN SUMMARY, it’s important to have your kitchen equipment and exhaust system regularly inspected to ensure you are up to current fire safety codes. By sticking to a routine maintenance schedule both for your cooking equipment and for your hood, vents, and ductwork, you are keeping your employees, patrons, building, and community safe.

Source: NFPA Research – Structure Fires in Eating and Drinking Establishments.

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