Minnesota Certified Food Managers Alert: For Restaurant Fire Hazards

As Minnesota certified food managers we are trained to create a safe eating experience for our guests. But owners and food service managers must bear in mind more than just food safety to protect employees and customers. This is the fourth in a series of blogs that look specifically at the hazards that Scott Futrell, a local fire protection consultant, has provided to assist you in protecting your customers, business and employees.

What can Owners and Minnesota Certified Food Managers do to protect your investment or your facility?

The Minnesota State Fire Code requires you to maintain your fire protection equipment in working condition.  There are procedures you should establish for you and your staff in addition to hiring competent contractors to clean and inspect and test your systems and equipment.

Basically the Codes and Standards require you to inspect, test, and maintain your kitchen hood, duct, fan, and suppression systems in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements.  Thus it is essential you obtain from the contractor the minimum requirements for inspection, testing, and maintenance and then understand your responsibilities and the very limited, or minimal, portions of these requirements that the contractor will actually perform.

Checklist for Kitchen Fire Safety

The owner’s responsibility for inspection and maintenance of wet chemical systems on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis should include the following at a minimum:

Minnesota Certified Food Managers Alert Regarding Restaurant Fire Hazards

It is very important to note that often the fusible links are wired shut during the cleaning process to prevent accidental activation preventing the system from operating automatically. It’s also possible that your system might have been disconnected, damaged, or has accumulated excessive deposits of grease causing your system to become inoperative, see Figure 1.


Minnesota Certified Food Managers Alert: For Restaurant Fire Hazards

Figure 1 – Post Grease
All Image credits: Futrell Fire Consult & Design, Inc

Both of these pictures were taken post-fire, where the suppression system did not operate because the expellant was disconnected.  Note that the grease cleaning was not performed thoroughly. The fire occurred the day after the cleaning!

The bottom line is this:

  • Contractors that you hire for inspection, testing and maintenance do not perform all of the safety checks that need to be done on your systems on a daily, weekly, or periodic basis;
  • your responsibilities include staff education as well as performing daily, weekly, and periodic inspections;
  • your responsibilities include observing the hoods, ducts, and fire protection devices after the contractor’s complete their work; and
  • schedule the fire suppression six-month inspection, test, and maintenance immediately after the hood, duct, and fan cleaning.

If you want more information or have any questions about fire safety in the food preparation environment that you would like Scott to discuss leave a comment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott A. Futrell, PE, FSFPE, CFPS, SET, CFEI, is a fire protection consultant with Futrell Fire Consult & Design, Inc., in Osseo, Minnesota and has over 40 years’ experience designing, specifying, and investigating fire protection system related losses and can be reached by e-mail at: scottf@ffcdi.com, or visit www.ffcdi.com.

For over 20 years Safe Food Training has been known as the # 1 provider of food manager certification in Minnesota. We offer both instructor lead and on-line food safety certification courses. Our instructor lead courses are regularly scheduled at several central Minnesota locations. If you have special training requirements, we can even customize ServSafe training for your group. Which ever option is best for you, we would be happy to serve your needs.

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