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Top 3 causes of restaurant fires

The food services industry has a unique risk for fires. Fire hazards can cause serious burns, sometimes lead to death. If you work in a restaurant, it is imperative you know about the most common causes of restaurant fires. 

Identifying fire hazards and understanding safety measures is key for avoiding and preventing these dangerous events. Below is an overview of the primary fire dangers in commercial kitchens. 

1. Cooking

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), cooking is the most prominent restaurant fire hazard. Cooking accounts for approximately 64 percent of fires in restaurants. Deep fryers and ovens can be especially dangerous. A deep fryer is full of combustible oil that can lead to a severe emergency if something goes wrong.

Ovens are also hazardous if they are not properly cleaned or situated far enough away from other equipment. The buildup of flammable oils and heat transfer can result in fires and explosions.

2. Electrical malfunction 

The USFA also found that electrical equipment accounts for seven percent of restaurant fires. Electrical hazards include:

  • Worn electrical cords
  • Damaged extension cords
  • Faulty wiring
  • Damaged receptacles
  • Ungrounded outlets
  • Faulty electrical appliances

Along with fires, these hazards can cause electrocution or electric shock. 

3. Faulty heating systems

Sometimes, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems cause fires. USFA says heating malfunction causes another seven percent of food service fires. HVAC systems can fail, causing filters and components within to ignite. Bad electrical connections, leaking fuel lines, faulty gas connections and crowded furnaces are common HVAC problems that can cause fires. 

As a restaurant employee, you need to know about the risk of workplace injuries, including burns and scalding. Your employer should properly train you in fire safety and prevention, whether you primarily work on the floor or in the kitchen. If you notice any fire hazards around your workplace, you should make sure you know how to operate fire safety equipment.

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