Building Safety Month is an international campaign by the International Code Council that takes place in May to raise awareness about building safety.
Kitchens are often the hub of our households and businesses. They are places where we bond together as family, where we pass down cooking traditions from generation to generation, and where many people make their living cooking in restaurants and bars.
They can also one of the most vulnerable areas in a home or business for fires.
There are many different ways that a fire can break out in a home or commercial kitchen. Yet, they can all be prevented by following safety regulations, being prepared in case a fire does start and by using common sense.
According to an October 2020 article in the Denver Business Journal, fire departments across America responded to an average of 8,240 structure fires at eating and drinking establishments each year between 2012 and 2016. These fires resulted in two civilian deaths each year on average, along with 115 injuries and $246 million in property damage.
And that’s just restaurants and bars. That doesn’t count fires that started in home kitchens because someone panicked and threw water on a grease fire, or didn’t have a fire extinguisher that worked. That also doesn’t take into account the number of people who catch their houses on fire each holiday season while attempting to fry a turkey. (Hint: Don’t fill the fryer with too much oil!)
So, what can you do to protect your kitchen?
- First, there’s the obvious answer: Make sure you have fire extinguishers in your home or commercial kitchen, and that they have been recently tested and work properly.
- Second, check your equipment: Make sure that your cooking equipment is up-to-date, clean, in good working condition and that you know what you’re doing when you’re using it. That goes for ovens, stovetops, grills, vent hoods, and can even apply to pots and pans.
- Third, try to keep a clean an uncluttered kitchen: We know that is sometimes difficult, but the more flammable materials you have in the kitchen, the more likely that a random spark or grease spatter can ignite something. Rags are great for cleaning up the kitchen, but they can also pose a hazard if not stored properly.
These are just a few of the things you can do to keep your home and commercial kitchens safe.
For more information, regulations and recommendations on kitchen safety, contact the Bryan Fire Marshal’s office at 979.209.5960.