Two kitchen extract fires in one Saturday in London demonstrate the risks of not regularly cleaning kitchen extract systems in accordance with TR/19, especially in warmer weather, says specialist building services provider, Swiftclean Building Services. “We see this almost every year,” warns Swiftclean MD Gary Nicholls, commenting on fires on 15th July in Maiden lane, Covent Garden and Connaught Street in Bayswater, in which the extract systems of each restaurant were damaged from basement to first floor. In both cases, a Fire Brigade statement put the blame on a greasy extract system. Following the Connaught Street fire, a London Fire Brigade spokesperson said, “Restaurant and take-away owners should always take care to make sure their extraction systems are kept clean as a build-up of fat and grease within the filters can lead to a fire.”
Gary Nicholls agrees wholeheartedly. “Summer tourism and al fresco dining can mean that grease deposits accumulate more quickly, and the higher ambient temperature does mean that grease does not need to be heated as much in order to spread fire,” he explains. “In fine weather, the capacity of a restaurant can be increased with outdoor seating to provide more covers; logically, that means more cooking and more grease deposited in the extraction system. So, the frequency of TR/19 compliant cleaning may need to be increased in summer in comparison with the colder, quieter months. Seasonal factors can make a big difference; for instance, increased business from the build up to Christmas and New Year can also mean a greater build-up of grease which needs to be removed more frequently.
“That’s why it is essential to use a professional fire safety kitchen extract cleaning provider, preferably a BESA member, that will help you to analyse your kitchen usage and devise a seasonally responsive, cost-effective, TR/19 compliant cleaning programme that will help you to stay legal and compliant and, most importantly, safer from the risk of fire, all year round.”
Swiftclean is an award-winning company which provides specialist TR/19 compliant cleaning for major multi-location restaurant companies, including outlets at airports and railway stations, as well as smaller restaurant groups and independent restaurants and pubs across the UK. MD Gary Nicholls is often called as an expert witness in fire insurance legal cases and was also a co-author of the current and earlier versions of BESA’s TR/19 guidance document on ventilation ductwork hygiene, as a member of the TR/19 steering committee. Swiftclean is a member of BESA (Building Engineering Services Association.)