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The Slippery Slope of Grease Fires

Kitchens that cook with grease are at the greatest risk of fire. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, deep fryers are involved in 21 percent of all restaurant fires.

Grease is extremely flammable, but also extremely messy. Thoroughly cleaning fryers is just the first step to grease fire safety. Surrounding walls and floors should be cleaned daily, since a layer of grease can serve as fuel for any open spark. Fryer ventilation systems should also be cleaned rigorously to avoid a buildup of flammable grease.

“The best thing a restaurant owner can do to prevent grease fires is routine cleaning,” said Jim Miller, vice president claims at Intrepid Direct Insurance. “If you cook with fryers, train employees on how to put out grease fires specifically.”

Miller offers these tips for preventing and managing grease fires:

  • Do not use water — mixing oil and water can aggravate the flames instead of putting them out. Instead, place a lid over the fire to extinguish it and cut off the gas to the stove.
  • Follow standard fryer regulations, such as placing fryers and grills a minimum of 16 inches away from each other. Any distance less than that requires a splatter screen. Fryers should be installed with an automatic shutoff switch at a certain max temperature.
  • Use technology to care for employees. Unfortunately, burns are a serious concern for kitchen workers. New telemedicine technology is available to provide injured workers with immediate diagnostic care and treatment. Tele-emergent care is becoming an increasingly effective first resource for burned kitchen workers.

Intrepid Direct offers app-based technology to immediately connect employees to emergency room doctors 24/7 through video conference. This is often called tele-emergent care. Once connected, doctors assess the severity of employees’ injuries, provide medical treatment, prescribe medications and advise an emergency room or urgent care visit, if warranted. They also immediately communicate any work restriction with the employer.

Additional Steps to Fireproofing Your Insurance Risks

Fire is just one of many risks posed to restaurant owners. Intrepid Direct is the franchise restaurant insurance expert, offering safety tips in topics ranging from delivery driving to employment practices liability.

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Bill Strout

Bill has been in the property casualty business for over 20 years. Diverse insurance experience and leadership from underwriting, sales, and wholesale insurance. Bill’s father was an owner of an agency in Chicago, so he grew up in the business. Outside of work, Bill enjoys time with his 3 kids and wife traveling.