Alan Gregory Technical Manager Indepth Hygiene Services Ltd & Member of the HVCAâ€™s Ventilation Hygiene Group Branch.
Preventing Fires In Kitchen Ductwork How To Identify A System Which Is “At Risk”
Preventing Fires in Grease Extract Ductwork According to Local Fire Authorities, one of the most common causes of fire spread within commercial premises is the failure to remove combustible grease deposits from the cooking extract ductwork by regular cleaning. The reason for this lack of internal cleaning is usually either a total absence of access panels or poor means of access to the ductwork itself.
Grease Extract Fires Ductwork in this condition
Grease Extract Fires Or this condition
Grease Extract Fires Can lead to this
Grease Extract Fires and to this
How To Identify A System Which Is â€œAt Riskâ€? Many Fire Prevention Officers or Environmental Health Inspectors have not been trained in the design or installation of grease extract ventilation systems, or indeed how they are cleaned, and therefore cannot easily identify if a system has been cleaned.
How To Identify a System Which Is â€œAt Riskâ€? So, how can a layman easily identify if a grease extract system has been cleaned? Answer : If the ductwork can be seen and it does not have any access panels fitted, then it has not been cleaned.
â€œAs a rule of thumbâ€? If access doors are not installed then the system has NOT been cleaned
Poor access for cleaning requirements! Access panels too small to carry out internal cleaning
HVCA – TR/19 Guide to Good Practice – Section 7, gives recommendations on where to install access panels
HVCA TR19 Access doors are recommended at the following locations: • At a minimum of every 3 meters • Either side of air turning vanes • Both sides of sound attenuators • Either side of Volume control dampers • Either side of fan units • At changes of direction
Additional Risk Factors to Look For If there is evidence of grease deposits on the canopy filters – or running through the filters into the canopy – it is likely that the system contains potentially fire-hazardous grease deposits. Similarly, if there is evidence of grease deposits on the point of discharge to atmosphere, such as roofs or walls, then it is likely that the system contains potentially fire-hazardous grease deposits. Certificates of cleaning may be issued by many less reputable contractors when only a partial clean has been undertaken, and fire hazardous grease deposits have not been fully removed.
Legal Duty Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – requires building operators to assess fire risk & to take steps to prevent or remove the risks Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 – requires ventilation systems to be “cleaned as appropriate” Grease is clearly a fire risk therefore it is appropriate to take steps to remove the risk i.e. clean & remove the grease
Insurance Cover Insurance companies will not pay out on claims where it is found that the fire was spread or caused through un-cleaned ductwork
Preventing Fires In Kitchen Ductwork Remember • If there are no access panels, then the system has not been cleaned • If it has not been cleaned then it is breach of the fire safety laws • Urgent action will be required to enforce compliance with the law, to protect lives
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