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Fire Risk Prevention Measures

Equipment and Machinery

Common causes of fire in equipment are;

  • Allowing ventilation points to become clogged or blocked causing overheating.
  • Inadequate cleaning of heat-shrink packaging equipment such that is used in in-store bakeries.
  • Allowing extraction equipment in catering environments to build up excessive grease deposits.
  • Misuse or lack of maintenance of cooking equipment and appliances.
  • Disabling or interfering with automatic or manual safety features and cut-outs.

All machinery, apparatus and office equipment should be properly maintained by a competent person. Appropriate signs and instructions on safe use may be necessary.


Individual heating appliances require particular care if they are to be used safely, particularly those which are kept for an emergency use during a power cut or as supplementer heating during severe weather. The greatest risks arise from lack of maintenance and staff unfamiliar with them. Heaters should preferably be secured in position when in use and fitted with a fire guard if appropriate.

As a general rule, convector or fan heaters should be preferred to radiant heaters because they present a lower risk of fire and injury.

The following rules should be observed;

  • All heaters should be kept clear of combustible materials and where they do not cause an obstruction.
  • Heaters which burn a fuel should be sited away from draughts.
  • Portable fuel burning heaters including bottled gas (LPG) should only be used in exceptional circumstances and if shown to be acceptable in your Fire Risk Assessment.

All gas heating appliances should be only used in accordance with manufacture`s instructions and should be serviced annually by a competent person. In general staff should be discouraged from bringing in their own portable heaters and other electrical equipment(e.g. kettles) into the premises.

Cooking processes

Typical installations used in cooking processes include deep fat fryers, ovens, grills, surface cookers, ductwork, flues, filters, hoods, extract and ventilation ducts and dampers.

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These cooking processes can operate with high temperatures, involving large quantities of oil and combustible food stuffs. Heat sources used for cooking processes include; gas, electric and microwave. The main cause of fire are ignition of cooking oil, combustion of crumbs and sediment deposits, and ductwork fires from a build up of fats and grease.

The siting of cooking processes close to insulated core panels with combustible insulation can lead to the likely ignition of the panels and consequent rapid fire spread to other parts of the building, this practice should therefore be avoided.

The following should be considered to reduce the risk from cooking processes;

  • Regular cleaning to prevent build up of crumbs and other combustible material.
  • Fire resistant containers for waste products.
  • A fire suppression system capable of controlling an outbreak of fire.
  • Monitoring heat/oil levels, even after the cooking process is complete and installation of temperature control/cut off devices as appropriate.
  • Ducts, joints and supports able to withstand high cooking temperatures.
  • Separation from wall and ceiling panels (with combustible insulation) e.g. 2.5m for walls, 4m for ceilings.
  • Insulation of ducts to prevent heating/ignition of nearby combustible wall and ceiling materials.
  • A regular programme for inspection and cleaning.
  • A programme of electrical and mechanical maintenance.
  • Annual service of all gas heating appliances by a competent person.

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