Grease fires are a risk in any commercial kitchen. They can happen in cafes, restaurants, schools, and care facilities. Essentially, if a cooktop is being used, precautions should be taken to avoid grease fires.

Grease fires are a common type of fire caused by cooking oil temperatures ranging from 190°C to 232°C. Do you know what to do if you get caught in a grease fire? Here’s how to extinguish a stovetop fire safely and quickly.

How to minimise the risk of grease fires in your business

1. Install fire protection systems.

In the event of a fire, an automatic fire suppression system is activated. When activated, it sprays water or fire-fighting chemicals into the surrounding area. As a result, a fire suppression system is one of your best fire-fighting tools.

However, these systems do require maintenance. Systems that are not regularly maintained can become ineffective or even dangerous. As a result, make sure that your system is checked and repaired on a regular basis by a professional service technician.

2. Keep fire extinguishers and fire blankets nearby.

When a grease flare-up occurs, you or your staff may only have a few seconds to react.

You can prevent the fire from spreading further if you put it out quickly. As a result, having fire extinguishers and fire blankets on hand is critical.

There are several regulations governing the types of fire extinguishers and fire blankets that must be used in commercial kitchens.

There are also storage and maintenance guidelines.

3. Clean up any grease spills right away.

If grease is spilled, have it cleaned right away by staff. Grease that has been left on floors, walls, or work surfaces can be extremely hazardous. It is not only a fire hazard, but it can also lead to falls and other workplace injuries.

Make it a rule in your kitchen: if there is a spill, clean it up right away!

4. Keep flammables away from the cooktop.

Towels, absorbent wipes, and recipe instructions should be kept away from the cooktop. If a grease fire breaks out, these items can quickly become fuel, extending the flames’ reach.

Any flammable liquids or chemical solutions should be kept away from cooking areas. Ensure that chemical spills, like grease spills, are cleaned up as soon as possible.

5. Do not throw water on to grease fires.

Throwing water on a grease fire may appear to be the logical thing to do.

However, in the event of a grease fire, this is the worst possible course of action.

Water quickly sinks and evaporates when it comes into contact with a grease fire.

This results in an explosion of oil and flames, which spreads the fire.

Always remember to either cut off the oxygen supply by covering the pan with a metal lid or pour baking soda over the fire to extinguish it in the event of a grease fire.

When dealing with a grease fire, it is critical not to move or carry the pot because the burning oil may spill onto you or your home, and not to use any other baking product besides baking soda to extinguish the fire. Another way to keep a grease fire from spreading is to use a damp cloth before, during, and after cooking to prevent ‘jumping’ fires.

Have a Fire Plan

You can reduce the risk of fire in your kitchen by taking all of the precautions listed above. However, a fire plan is still necessary in the event that a fire occurs despite these precautions.

A fire plan should include a simple set of instructions for staff to follow in order to (if possible) contain the fire. As well as instructions on how to evacuate employees and customers. Emergency exits should also be clearly marked and easily accessible.