Back to all

Fire Prevention Month: Cooking Safety in Restaurants


October is Fire Prevention Month – and this year’s Fire Prevention Week from the National Fire Protection Association is all about cooking and kitchen safety, whether that’s in the home or at the office.

Cooking safety is important for anyone who uses a kitchen, but no place is it more important than in a restaurant.

In honor of the month, we’re talking about some of the most important fire safety tips for restaurants and commercial kitchens to keep in mind as they work to keep their people and property safe.

Have the Right Fire Suppression Systems

One of the most important things to do in a restaurant kitchen is to make sure you have the right type of fire suppression system in place.

In general, there are two main components to a commercial kitchen fire suppression system – one part for the hood over the cooking station, and another part for the gas line.

iStock-1372451129The goal of any fire is to put it out as quickly as possible to prevent it from spreading. Unlike fires in other places, kitchen fires often have materials like grease or other flammable liquids that cannot be put out with water. Because of this, the fire suppression system in a hood often uses wet chemicals vs. plain water. If the sensors detect a certain level of heat, a series of nozzles in the hood will automatically activate to put out the fire. The hood should also turn on in the case of a fire to help pull smoke out of the air.

For the gas line, you want a mechanism in place to shut it off to cut off the source of fuel for a fire. This part of the suppression system automatically shuts off the gas line if it is triggered.

Along with these automations, it’s important to have a manual pull station in commercial kitchens. This is a mechanism that allows you to manually start the fire suppression process at any time. This is so important because grease fires can start out of nowhere and quickly get out of hand – you want to be sure to have a manual option, just in case.

Finally, kitchens also must have at least one Class K fire extinguisher in the area, per NFPA regulations.

Keep the Environment Clean

Another key component to fire prevention in commercial kitchens is keeping the environment clean and clear of fire hazards.

For example, greasy rags can be a fire threat, because they can be incredibly flammable. These rags should be kept away from sources of heat and properly cleaned once you’re done using them. Keep flammable oils and chemicals away from sources of heat as well – don’t leave them sitting out on counters.

Make sure to routinely inspect all appliances, checking cords for wear and tear, and checking outlets to make sure none are overloaded or improperly using extension cords or power strips. Remember: both should never be used by major appliances, like a stove or refrigerator.

Have a Fire Emergency & Evacuation Plan

To keep your people safe, you need to make sure you have a plan for what to do in case of a fire – for both your employees and your customers. Everyone needs to know exactly what to do in an evacuation, and where to meet up.

Make sure that your restaurant follows all egress guidance for customers, depending on how many you seat at a time. According to the NFPA, some common areas of concern include the tables and chairs cutting down on space to evacuate in the case of an emergency, and secondary exits being lock or blocked due to storage.

Of course, as part of your fire emergency plan, make sure you have the proper alarm system to alert everyone to a fire in the first place. This could include smoke detectors, automatic detection equipment and more. You must also make sure your alarms have voice announcements and visual signals, for patrons who may be hard of hearing or with limited sight.

Cooking safety can be overwhelming, especially in a commercial kitchen setting. This fire prevention month, take some time to review your own fire and life safety measures and when in doubt, call in the professionals for a consultation to create a custom solution for your unique business. Reach out to us today at – we’d love to work with you.

Tags: fire safety, Fire Prevention Month, education