The greatest potential fire risk in buildings with catering facilities comes from the accumulation of grease-laden deposits in extract ventilation systems, a fire authority representative has warned at an industry seminar recently. Grease extract ductwork often stretches through the entire length of a building reaching to a roof level exhaust, so uncleaned ductwork can put not only the occupants at risk from fire but also the whole premises. Couple this with numerous sources of ignition in a commercial kitchen, such as naked flames, fryers and overheating equipment you have a high fire risk environment. By carrying out a regular preventative maintenance cleaning programme this risk can be significantly reduced.
Filters in canopies help trap some grease particles it is inevitable that some grease-laden air will pass through, allowing grease deposits to cool and settle on the internal surfaces of the ductwork. Apart from the fire risk, the accumulation of grease in the kitchen extract system reduces ventilation efficiency by restricting the movement of extracted air, resulting in over-heating, excessive humidity, possible failure to remove noxious fumes from gas-burning appliances and a continuing source of unwanted odours which can permeate the rest of the building.
The Fire Safety Order requires owners and managers of buildings to ensure the Grease Extract Ventilation System is included in the Fire Risk Assessment and action taken to eliminate any potential risk to building occupants from potentially fire hazardous grease deposits in the ducting.