Fire Safety in Commercial Kitchens

17 October 2022

As we are approaching Chef Day on 20th October, this is a good time to mention a review of fire risks for a commercial kitchen and what action is needed to take to mitigate the threat of fire threatening property and people.

Faulty cooking equipment, including fan motors within extraction systems, can lead to fires or sparks being generated, often in the proximity of hot oils/fats. These can also ignite combustible deposits inside extraction ducts.

Good housekeeping, cleaning regimes, controls and regular servicing and maintenance of the cooking equipment (following the manufacturer’s instructions), is vital to minimize the risk of such incidents and should form part of a preventative maintenance schedule.

Fire and explosion can also be caused by poor or no maintenance of gas appliances. To prevent such fires, an annual inspection and maintenance of gas appliances should be carried out by competent people, including the regular cleaning of ventilation filters and ducting.

Fire Hazards in Kitchens

Commercial kitchens use high temperature cooking oils, slow cooking appliances and deep-fat fryers, all of which can represent challenges in maintaining a safe working environment that is health and safety compliant. The main fire hazard in any commercial kitchen is the use of hot oils/fats and the risk of overheating. This can be due either to operator error or a fault with cooking equipment, such as faulty thermostatic controls.

Many chemicals used in general cleaning regimes, such as Caustic Soda, are subject to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health control measures, and in some cases may be flammable themselves. (If you are undertaking cleaning, ensure you follow the Safety Data Sheet recommendations including cleaning residue and PPE requirements).

Fire Suppression Systems

Fire Suppression Systems can ensure a safe working environment by automatically detecting and extinguishing canopy and range fires, using advanced extinguishing agents specifically designed to effectively combat kitchen fires. They can also limit damage so that the operation of the kitchen can be quickly reinstated once the fire has been safely extinguished.

The installation and maintenance of a Fire Suppression System may be a condition of an insurer for providing insurance cover.


Inspection and Maintenance of Ventilation Systems

In commercial kitchens extraction is carried out via an overhead canopy and ducting system that discharges into the atmosphere, so that grease will not be deposited on the building or adjoining properties.

The importance of an effective maintenance program should not be overlooked because it plays an important role in the effectiveness of natural & smoke ventilation system.

Without maintenance, minor issues can go unnoticed and can develop into a complete system failure at the very moment the system is needed most.

In Summary


If you are the owner of a commercial kitchen, take time to review the fire risks in your workplace, and look at ways in which you can improve safety and protection.

WTJ Insurance

Landmark House, 556 Leeds Road,
Outwood, Wakefield, WF1 2DX

Call: 01924 871 111