Running a commercial kitchen is a demanding yet rewarding venture. The fast-paced environment, bustling with activity and high heat, creates a unique set of challenges. One of the most critical concerns is fire safety. In the UK, fire safety in commercial kitchens is governed by stringent regulations designed to protect both your business and your staff.

The team at Hartson Fire will guide you through essential fire safety practices, ensuring your kitchen operates safely and efficiently.

Understanding the Risks

Commercial kitchens are prone to fires due to the presence of flammable materials such as oils and fats, high-temperature cooking equipment, and the use of open flames. Common causes of kitchen fires include:

  • Unattended Cooking: Leaving cooking equipment unattended is a leading cause of kitchen fires.
  • Grease Build-up: Accumulated grease can ignite and spread fire rapidly.
  • Faulty Equipment: Malfunctioning appliances and electrical faults can spark fires.
  • Improper Storage: Storing flammable materials near heat sources increases fire risk.

Regulatory Requirements

The UK Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 mandates that businesses conduct fire risk assessments and implement measures to mitigate identified risks. Key requirements include:

  • Fire Risk Assessment: Conduct a thorough assessment to identify potential fire hazards and determine necessary precautions.
  • Fire Detection and Alarms: Install fire detection systems and alarms to provide early warning of fire.
  • Emergency Lighting: Ensure emergency lighting is available to guide staff and customers to safety during a fire.
  • Firefighting Equipment: Equip your kitchen with appropriate firefighting tools, such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
  • Staff Training: Train all staff in fire safety procedures and proper use of firefighting equipment.
  • Servicing: ensure all equipment and in particular fire extinguishers are serviced annually by qualified engineers.

Fire Safety Best Practices

  1. Regular Maintenance and Inspections
  • Regularly inspect and maintain all kitchen equipment to ensure it operates safely. This includes:
  • Cooking Equipment: Clean and service stoves, ovens, fryers, and grills regularly to prevent grease build-up.
  • Ventilation Systems: Clean ducts, hoods, and filters to prevent grease accumulation and ensure proper airflow.
  • Electrical Appliances: Check for damaged cords and faulty connections to avoid electrical fires.
  1. Implement Safe Cooking Practices
  • Adopt safe cooking practices to minimise fire risks:
  • Never Leave Cooking Unattended: Ensure someone is always present when cooking equipment is in use.
  • Monitor Cooking Temperatures: Avoid overheating oils and fats.
  • Use the Right Equipment: Ensure pots, pans, and utensils are suitable for the cooking method and equipment.
  1. Proper Storage of Flammable Materials
  • Store flammable materials, such as cooking oils and cleaning chemicals, in designated areas away from heat sources. Use fire-resistant storage cabinets when possible.
  • Install and Maintain Fire Safety Systems
  • Ensure your kitchen is equipped with reliable fire safety systems:
  • Fire Alarms and Detectors: Install smoke and heat detectors in strategic locations.
  • Automatic Fire Suppression Systems: Consider installing automatic systems, especially in high-risk areas like above cooking equipment.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Place extinguishers within easy reach and ensure they are serviced regularly.

Install the Correct Fire Extinguishers

In a commercial kitchen in the UK, specific types of fire extinguishers are recommended to handle various fire risks associated with cooking environments. These include:

  1. Class F Fire Extinguishers (Wet Chemical Extinguishers):
  • Use: Designed for fires involving cooking oils and fats (Class F fires).
  • Location: Place near cooking appliances such as deep fryers and stoves.
  • Effectiveness: The wet chemical agent cools the flames and forms a soap-like solution on the surface of the oil, preventing re-ignition.

2,           Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguishers:

  • Use: Suitable for electrical fires and Class B fires (flammable liquids).
  • Location: Near electrical appliances and equipment.
  • Effectiveness: CO2 displaces oxygen, effectively smothering the fire without leaving any residue, making it ideal for use around sensitive equipment.
  1. Foam Fire Extinguishers:
  • Use: Effective on Class A fires (solid combustibles like wood, paper, cloth) and Class B fires (flammable liquids).
  • Location: General areas of the kitchen.
  • Effectiveness: Foam forms a blanket over the burning material, cooling and smothering the fire.
  1. Water Fire Extinguishers:
  • Use: Primarily for Class A fires.
  • Location: Away from cooking areas but accessible for general fire risks.
  • Effectiveness: Water cools the burning material but should never be used on grease or electrical fires.

You should also ensure extinguishers are easily accessible and placed according to the types of fire risks present in different areas of the kitchen.

Conduct routine checks to ensure extinguishers are in good working condition. This includes checking pressure gauges, seals, and overall condition.

Hartson Fire

Fire safety in a commercial kitchen is paramount. By understanding the risks, complying with regulations, and implementing best practices, you can protect your business and ensure the safety of your staff. Regular maintenance and servicing, proper training, and effective emergency planning are essential components of a robust fire safety strategy. S

Investing time and resources into fire safety not only protects your business from potential losses but also fosters a safe working environment for your team. Remember, a well-prepared kitchen is a safe kitchen.

To find out how Hartson Fire can help you to protect your business and staff from the risks of a fire, call us today on the number below or visit