Food trucks, with their open flames, hot equipment, electrical connections, cooking oils, cleaning chemicals and paper products; have all the ingredients for food truck kitchen fires to flame out of control. Nearly 8,000 food service establishments report a fire each year, according to 2006-2010 data tabulated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These fires caused an annual average of $246 million in direct property damage.
Today we will look at how to put out fires that occur in your food truck or your commercial kitchen. When a fire starts in these areas you need to act fast to keep the fire from getting out of control. But how you act depends on what kind of fire you have and where it is.
Follow these instructions for putting out food truck kitchen fires:
- If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.
- If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.
- If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.
- If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.
- Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:
- If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.
- Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.
- Smother the food truck kitchen fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
- Use a fire extinguisher.
- Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
- If the food truck kitchen fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone off the truck or out of the building and call 911. Make sure your entire staff knows how to get out of these areas safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape routes at least twice a year.
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The Bottom Line
Food truck kitchen fires can devastate your food truck business, leading to lost revenues and even permanent closure. Take these steps so you can prevent fires and minimize the damage.