Restaurants are interesting when it comes to fire damage. In many ways they’re the most-prepared place to deal with the prevention of fire and water damage. But that’s only because they’re the most likely to have a fire in the first place!
So even though restaurants are equipped with cooking hoods, fire suppression systems, and overhead sprinklers throughout, they’re still one of the most common types of fire damage restoration we’re called to complete. Even with all of their precautions, let’s take a look at the many reasons that restaurants tend to catch fire so often.
Why Restaurants are Often In Need of Fire Damage Restoration
They’re Dealing With Flames
Of course, intentional flames are a part of many restaurants, whether they’re cooking a steak or flame-grilling veggies. Often restaurants will have a window open to the kitchen so that you can get a good look at the cooks working with the flames, which seems to give them a more authentic “we’re not just deep-frying everything” feel. Head to a hibachi restaurant and they’ll probably light the grill on fire mere feet from your face. Who needs eyebrows?
It’s when the flames get out of hand that problems start. If the flames get too high they can catch a cook's clothing on fire, or find some other form of fuel that then spreads across the kitchen. Most of these problems are alleviated by fire suppression systems, but if they get out of hand that restaurant might be needing fire damage restoration in the near future.
They’re Dealing With Grease
Not every restaurant deals with grease; healthy restaurants don’t have much need for grease traps. But considering some of the biggest chains in the world like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s all deep-fry their fries, that means there’s a whole lot of hot oil and grease that’s in the restaurant kitchens around the world.
Grease is, of course, flammable. That’s the reason that we’re all familiar with the term “grease fire,” and why we all know why you shouldn’t try to put one out with water. If the fire gets past the fire suppression system, grease fires can become deadly.
Altogether, about two-thirds of all restaurant fires have to do with cooking. But that’s not the only source of fire. Let’s take a look at where these other fires are coming from.
They’re Dealing With Electricity
It should be no surprise that restaurants use a lot of electricity. There’s a lot of 220-volt appliances, but the culprits are more often small appliances that have exposed cords. Cords that get crimped during the craziness of a lunch shift can cause sparks and ignite nearby countertop materials such as paper or cloth napkins. Electrical fires are responsible for about one out of every fifteen restaurant fires.
They’re Dealing with Heat
At first you might not think of heat a being a major cause of fire. While it’s true that the heat itself doesn’t cause the majority of fires, it does cause fires when something is placed against that heat.
Take a waffle iron at a breakfast restaurant, for instance. They certainly get hot enough where an errant piece of paper — say, an order ticket or to-go box — could touch it and catch on fire. If that fire continues spreading across the counter, restoration services might soon need to be called. Fires from heat cause about one in of every fourteen restaurant fires.
They Have Lots of Paper
So we already talked about to-go boxes and order tickets being some of the paper that can catch fire. But there’s also receipt paper, paper towels, toilet paper, menus, files, paper-wrapped straws, and other bulk paper products that can catch fire. Of course, most of these aren’t aren’t in the kitchen, so what’s the problem? The problem comes from the fact that...
They’re Dealing With Cleaning Products
Health inspectors never come to your home, so you don’t have to worry about keeping everything absolutely clean. But the threat of visits from a government official about to judge you on the cleanliness of the kitchen causes many restaurateurs to overdo it on the cleaning products. So the flammable oven cleaner and the harsh cleaning chemicals are kept in the storage closet, the same place as all of those paper products we mentioned. An employee mixing the wrong cleaners (or more likely sneaking a smoke in the closet during the middle of winter) could cause a fire in part of the restaurant that isn’t the kitchen.
There are over 2,000 restaurant fires reported to fire departments in the United States each year, and luckily most of those fires are contained to the object or room of origin. But when you take into account the smoke that accompanies the fire, restoration services are often called to handle putting that room back together. That’s where RESCON comes in. Contact our fire restorations company if you need to fix your restaurant.