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Fat chance of fire safety?

By February 21, 2013News

If you prepare meals on site for your residents, you will have kitchen extract ductwork – but it’s all too often the one area that gets neglected in an otherwise spotless kitchen. This is a huge fire risk; and not cleaning it thoroughly and regularly can land you in court.

In a care home, with occupants with restricted mobility, fire is a major fear. You’ve probably got all the necessary fire doors, extinguishers and other measures in place. But all too often, we find that kitchen extract ductwork is a forgotten, potentially lethal element of fire prevention.

Kitchen extract ductwork must, by law, be cleaned at prescribed regular intervals, depending on the pattern of usage. This is because during the course of normal cooking, fat, oil and grease deposits collect on the surfaces of the extract ductwork which vents cooking smells and steam away from the kitchen. These are a health hazard, and can provide the perfect breeding ground for cockroaches and bacteria; but they also pose a huge potential fire hazard.

The fat deposits on the ductwork walls can quite easily ignite, and fire can take hold rapidly. When it does, the ductwork acts as a chimney, helping to spread the fire further into other areas of the property. Industry experts tell us that 25% of all fires in buildings with commercial kitchens are made worse by unclean, grease laden kitchen extract ductwork.

The leading industry document covering ductwork cleaning is called TR/19. All our operatives are trained to this standard. They are masters at reaching inaccessible ductwork, installing access doors where they are needed, to ensure that regular, effective and affordable specialist cleaning can be carried out to achieve compliance.

To protect yourself legally, you need to be sure that you can prove you’ve complied with the TR/19 standard. In the event of a fire in which there is a fatality, where the owners, directors or managers of a care home are shown to be negligent, a charge of corporate manslaughter could be brought. If a conviction follows, this could result in a custodial sentence. Also your insurance policy may be considered void if you don’t clean your kitchen grease extract system in line with the policy.

Call us today and we’ll help you ensure that grease isn’t the word in your care home.