Thursday, 20 February 2014

Industrial Kitchen Cleaning – Ventilation Cleaners – How Regular Duct Work Cleaning Can Help Prevent Restaurant Fires

Regular Industrial Kitchen Cleaning – A Vital Way to Minimise the Risk of a Restaurant Fire 

Regular industrial kitchen cleaning is vital - that’s the message from Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service after a blaze ripped through a popular Ipswich town centre restaurant.

Eight fire crews tackled the fire which broke out in the kitchen of at the Townhouse Restaurant in Orwell Place on the morning of January 8.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze, but a spokesman for the fire service said it had caused ‘substantial’ damage to the venue.

The cause of the fire was accidental and it had started in the mesh filter of the extraction system, prompting a warning from the investigating fire officer for restaurant owners to regularly maintain their kitchen ductwork.

Officer Chris Gibbs, of Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service, who carried out the investigation into the blaze, said: “Fires in extraction systems are not uncommon. Kitchen extraction systems naturally become contaminated with combustible materials as they remove grease and other products from the kitchen during cooking; these build up over time within the filters and duct work. 

“The filters and ducting should be cleaned regularly to help prevent this and to remove combustible materials.”

He emphasised, however, that regular industrial kitchen cleaning regimes were in place at the Townhouse, and added that he was unsure whether there was a standard to which this should be done.

The blaze, in the kitchen extraction system, ripped through the entire ducting, breaking out at the joins, before spreading to the fabric of the building, causing damage to the first floor and roof.

To help prevent future restaurant fires, Officer Gibbs warned of the importance of industrial kitchen cleaning, saying the risk of fire within a property is increased if duct work is not maintained:

“Fire can spread quickly and unseen throughout an extraction system,” he said. ”It is likely to intensify and may not be seen until it breaks through. Regular cleaning of all parts of the system should reduce the risk of fire starting or spreading.”

He said there are various steps that all businesses should take to minimise the risk of fire. 

This includes completing a fire risk assessment which should take into account the sources of ignition, combustible materials present, and measures to lessen the risk of a blaze in the property.

The kitchen extract system and its ducting should be included in the risk assessment, and any fire prevention measures such as means to isolate the system and installing fixed fire fighting systems within it, to help put out the fire. Or, if it is safe to tackle the fire, the use of portable fire fighting equipment.

Businesses should also have an evacuation plan to ensure the safe exit of staff and customers.

Officer Gibbs said: “In the event of a fire, the best and safest advice is to isolate any apparatus if possible, raise the alarm, evacuate the building and call the Fire and Rescue Service.”

Businesses take time to recover from fire due to the potential delays with insurance payments, staff retention and possible loss of customer base, as well as the time it takes to replace damaged buildings and equipment.

Officer Gibbs added that the best way to ensure business continuity is to prevent a fire from happening in the first place.

Two chefs from the Townhouse raised the alarm at the first sign of smoke, and there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire.

Diversions were in place so fire fighters could tackle the blaze and investigate the cause of the fire.
Duct work cleaning must be carried out every two years by law, although Ingot Services advised that the busiest kitchens should have a more regular cleaning regime. 

Organising industrial kitchen cleaning, including regular commercial ductwork cleaning is one way to prevent kitchen fires. For complete peace of mind and a free of charge quotation, call us today on 0800 731 7892.

Commercial Ductwork Cleaning – Ventilation Cleaners – Respiratory Diseases from Unclean Air Conditioning

Commercial Ductwork Cleaning – Is There a Link Between Dirty Air Conditioning Ductwork and Respiratory Disease?

If you don’t organise regular commercial ductwork cleaning for your business, there’s no getting away from it – it does have its consequences. While putting off ductwork cleaning may save money in the short term, this won’t pay off in the long term as dirty ductwork can pose as a health hazard for staff and customers.

The start of the New Year is always a good time to take stock of your organisation and think about ways to improve it. This should not only be about reviewing staffing and finances, but also to consider ways to eliminate potential hazards in order to keep a healthy and happy workforce.

Cleanliness, in particular, should be high priority as this is vital to the reputation of your organisation and helps your business run more efficiently. Ventilation cleaning is one of the things that should feature on your list, as neglecting this is detrimental to the health of your staff and can ultimately affect the output of your business.

Putting off ventilation cleaning won’t help keep your workforce healthy. Staff sickness leads to lost work hours and this slows down productivity. If deadlines can’t be met, it is hard to make up for the lost time and this is particularly damaging for smaller companies without enough staff to fill the void.

This article spotlights why commercial ductwork cleaning is essential to the smooth running of your company and considers the link between dirty ductwork and respiratory disease – and what you can do to prevent this.

Dirty Air Conditioning Ductwork and Respiratory Disease – Is there a Link? 

With most air conditioning systems, a proportion of the air that supplies your office is taken from outside, and a portion is re-circulated air. If the air does not circulate properly, this can create a hot and stuffy environment which is not only unhealthy, but is also unpleasant to work in. It is vital to organise regular maintenance of your air conditioning ductwork and to remove obstructions, check for leaks in the system, clean components and replace filters. This is for two main reasons:

  • A build up of dirt and grime restricts the air flow and can impact on the air quality within the building. 
  • Germs, mould, and other contaminants can harbour in unclean air conditioning ductwork which creates an unhealthy work environment.
Recent studies have shown that workers who spend a long period of time in air conditioned buildings are more susceptible to respiratory related illnesses such as breathing difficulties, wheezing, and coughing. And, if there are other people sharing the same room, it will put them at risk of infection too. It was recommended that the regular cleaning and maintenance of air conditioning ductwork will help minimise the risk.

Dirty air conditioning ductwork can also put people at risk of hypersensitivity pneumonitis – a disease which can be caused by bacteria and fungi in air conditioning equipment and humidifiers. Among the symptoms are chills and fever, coughing and breathlessness and in more serious cases, a loss of appetite and weight loss.

The best way to reduce the risk in your workplace environment is by organising industrial cleaning, including regular commercial ductwork cleaning and air conditioning cleaning.

For a free of charge quotation, call us today on 0800 731 7892 and you can look forward to a healthier workplace environment in 2014.