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Fire Safety – Deep Fat Fryers in the Catering Industry – 26/2021

By January 14, 2022 No Comments

Following the recent fire in a local restaurant in Ocean Village, the GFRS would like to remind the local catering industry of the importance of adequate fire safety measures when using Deep Fat Fryers.

In the UK and US, statistics show that 21% of restaurant fires are caused by deep fat fryers. Over the past eighteen months, the GFRS has attended to 5 kitchen fires in local restaurants involving deep fat fryers. Luckily, there have been no significant injuries to employees or members of the public but they have resulted in significant smoke and fire damage to the restaurants and affected business continuity.

Deep fat fryers in commercial kitchens may vary in size and type. They may be gas or electrically operated and may have automatic, semi-automatic or manual filtering.

Regular maintenance and cleaning is of the utmost importance and the manufacturer’s user manual should be rigidly followed. The fryers should be inspected and serviced periodically by a competent contractor. These procedures will include but not limited to:

  1. Ensuring that there is no excessive oil build-up in the interior and exterior cabinets.
  2. Making sure all burners, pilot lights, ignitors and gas lines are properly connected and functioning.
  3. Verifying the temperature thermostats and high-limit switches are functioning properly.
  4. Verifying that there are no leaks to pipework and connections are properly tightened.
  5. Verifying the fryer tank and any insulation is in good condition.
  6. Verifying that all safety features such as drain or reset switches are functioning properly.
  7. Ensuring that there are no loose or frayed wires or cords.

Burns from oils can be very serious. Oil takes only 6-7 minutes to heat up but can take 6-7 hours to cool down. Once the oil goes up in flames it can be very difficult to extinguish.

What to do if a Deep Fat Fryer Catches Fire

  1. DO NOT attempt to move the fryer as it could give you significant burns.
  2. NEVER throw water over it.
  3. Turn off the heat if safe to do so.
  4. If you are suitably trained, and it is safe to do so, use an appropriate fire extinguisher (see below) to try to extinguish the fire.
  5. Call the Fire Service Emergency number by dialling 190.

Which fire extinguisher should you use?

These fires are classified as Class F fires involving cooking oils and fats. Once the oil has overheated and ignites, it could reach a temperature of 300°C.

A general fire extinguisher such as Dry Powder WILL NOT extinguish it. You will need to use a WET CHEMICAL FIRE EXTINGUISHER specific for Class F fires.

When Wet Chemical is sprayed, a layer is formed on top of the burning oil that prevents oxygen from reaching the fire. Make sure you empty the entire contents of the fire extinguisher and keep a safe distance at all times.

You can purchase Wet Chemical fire extinguishers locally from service providers who will provide advice on the size and rating of the extinguisher.

For any further fire safety advice, contact the GFRS fire safety department on 20072936 or email: firesafety@gibfire.gi