Commercial kitchen fire suppression systems
5 reasons you should have one
A fire suppression system is an automatic system designed to control and neutralise fires without the need for human intervention. Rather than ‘putting the fire out’, as you would with a sprinkler system (which can cause extensive damage in itself), most suppression systems are designed to starve the fire of oxygen; without oxygen, the fire cannot take hold.
If you run a commercial kitchen, be it in a hotel, restaurant or any other catering facility, a fire suppression system is a sensible investment.
1. Primary fire statistics
Primary fires (i.e. serious fires that harm people and / or cause damage to property) in food and drink premises represent just over 10.5% of all non-domestic dwelling fires*.
Restaurants and cafes account for 42% of all fires within the food and drink sector. Fires not only have the potential to cause harm to people and property, but they can put a permanent end to your business: The Association of British Insurers reports that around 60% of private businesses never recover from a fire.
2. Commercial kitchen fires - common causes
Commercial kitchen fires can arise in numerous ways, including defective or damaged heating controls, unattended devices, burners overheating and grease / dirt residue build-up.
The London Fire Brigade identifies kitchen appliances (25%) and cookers (23%) as the leading causes of fires in restaurants and takeaways, closely followed by electrical distribution at 17%.
3. The benefits of fire suppression systems
Suppression systems not only extinguish the fire but prevent re-ignition - genuine issue in kitchens where liquids are heated to autoignition temperature and extinguishing the fire and removing the heat source may not be enough to cool the liquid down below its auto-ignition temperature.
4. Insurance benefits
To secure suitable buildings and business insurance, commercial kitchen fire suppression systems are more frequently being specified by insurance companies; some even offer benefits to policy terms if such systems are installed.
5.Duty of care for fire protection
Whilst fire suppression systems in a commercial kitchen are not a specified legal requirement, in England and Wales you have a duty to minimise fire liability under the Regulatory Reform Order 2005. The Enforcing Authority - normally the fire brigade, but it may be the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) or the local authority - has the power to penalise, either financially or by imprisonment, those people who have not met their responsibility in regard to fire safety.
* The Home Office Fire statistics data tables, based on incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services, in 2017/18.