Common sources of electrical fires and how to protect your business

News & Blog

When you think of potential fire sources in your restaurant, electrical is understandably low on the list. There are burners, fryers and griddles, after all, that spout live fire everyday and probably grab your attention ahead of electrical.

Today, however, we wanted to point out that electrical should be higher on your list.

Research appearing in our “Flash in the pan: What you can do to reduce the risk of food service kitchen fires” eBook shows that while electrical causes account for only 9 percent of all restaurant fires, those fires cause 21 percent of the total damage expenses. Yes, electrical fires aren't as common, but their impact can be severe.

To protect your business, here are some of the most common sources of electrical fires and what you can do to prevent them.

Old appliances

Concerns with aging appliances extend beyond their ability to support the creation of a quality product. Frayed electrical cords are a common cause of electrical fire here but other appliance fire concerns include inadequate switches and receptacles or operating systems pushed past their breaking point.

To reduce your risk of fire, never use an appliance with a frayed cord and always replace aged appliances before they can become a problem. The extra upfront costs could save you considerable expense long term.

Unsafe wiring

Whether the wiring’s problem is long-standing or has developed recently, unsafe wiring is a concern that exists in many of the country's restaurants. If the wiring in your building is old and outdated, it may not be able to handle the electrical needs of modern appliances or it may be unable to keep up with the sheer volume of appliances necessary in today’s kitchens. Either of these problems can cause the system to short circuit and start a fire.

To protect your kitchen, have your wiring routinely inspected and make updates as necessary when systems become old and outdated. The amount of technology necessary to run your kitchen won't abate. Make sure your wiring is up to the task.

Using improper equipment

Sometimes an electrical fire has nothing to do with a faulty or dated solution. Sometimes a fire rises because of a brand new solution that is instantly over-matched. Kitchen equipment bought retail is seldom ready for the excessive demands of a commercial kitchen and when this equipment falters, it poses a fire risk.

If you have questions about any piece of equipment in your kitchen or about to be purchased, NSF International offers certifications for restaurant-grade commercial kitchen equipment. If the item in question has not received such a certification, it’s better left out of your kitchen.

To learn more about how you can prevent electrical and other fires from damaging your restaurant, download our eBook, "Flash in the pan: What you can do to reduce the risk of food service kitchen fires," today.