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Fire Extinguisher Maintenance, Cleanliness and Food Safety

Chemical Fire Extinguisher Safety Around Food | Nationwide Fire Protection

Fire extinguisher maintenance is perhaps one of, if not the most important, factors regarding fire protection. Regular inspections by the local fire station or a trained employee ensure maximum efficiency and proper function during the hazard.

Some people believe that the only time a fire extinguisher needs proper service is when there is a visible abnormality such as a bump, which is very irresponsible. Keeping your equipment clean and well-maintained is at the top of the fire protection and food safety checklist.

Let’s discuss a few topics related to the two aspects of food safety and fire equipment maintenance, especially fire extinguishers. How these are related and what steps you need to take to make sure the standards are met in your kitchen.

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Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Routines

How often do you check on the poor thing? How long has it been sitting in the corner of your kitchen? Fire extinguishers are the symbol of fire protection and there is a good reason why. It is your first line of defense and the first thing you think of when you see a fire.

Many people rely on fire sprinkler systems and smoke detectors and hundreds of other safety measures, not to imply that they are not useful, but they still need electricity to function, and that by itself, reduces their reliability compared to a hand-operated device like a fire extinguisher.

What do We Mean by Fire Extinguisher Maintenance?

I think there is some confusion among people when they think of fire extinguisher maintenance. We want our assets to last longer and our equipment to function properly. That means checking everything from the springs to body defects, grip, and dust buildup.

How Often Do You Need Maintenance?

Every single piece of equipment, electronic or manual, needs regular checkups. An electronic fire suppression system usually has a check-up schedule provided by the service provider. Fire extinguishers also come with an inspection tag that indicates when you need a fire extinguisher maintenance.

Assuming you don’t have those tags or the service provider neglected to give you the proper inspection schedule. It’s optimal to have a monthly checkup routine, dedicating one month to technical checkups and the other to the cleaning of the equipment.

Cleaning  Counts as Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

You see the flames rise from the cooker, you run to the back of the room and towards the darkest corner where your extinguisher is hanging from the wall. You grab it and run towards the flames, you aim, grip the handle tightly, press, and nothing!

Keeping your equipment clean and dust-free is just as important as the technical aspects of fire extinguisher maintenance. Cleaning the dust from the surface is just the first step. Thorough cleaning of the equipment, especially more advanced and automated devices, needs special services from trained professionals.

There are many companies out there providing fire protection services. This ranges from providing proper maintenance and services to installation of various fire suppression devices. Make sure the place you choose has the knowledge and experience to provide the best services for you.

Can I Take Care of Cleaning Myself?

Cleaning the fire extinguisher residue is not an easy task, it needs proper equipment and several safety measures to consider as different types of fire extinguishers contain different types of residues.  You’ll need the right equipment for the job as well as enough time to spare.

Many establishments cannot afford the time to be able to handle a thorough cleaning of all their equipment. Many others do not have the proper training when it comes to fire safety equipment, and that’s where proper cleaning services come in handy.

Let’s discuss how keeping your fire safety equipment can save the quality of your food as well as make it much healthier.

Keeping the Chemicals Away

What is inside your fire extinguisher? They are not all the same of course. Each one has its use and different types of chemicals inside. That’s why it’s usually much safer to keep it away from where you cook your meals. Without proper fire extinguisher maintenance, accidental, even minor discharges, can ruin your food and your reputation.

Water, carbon dioxide, and water mist fire extinguishers have no harmful residue. It is mostly safe to use products that have been in contact with these extinguishers.

On the other hand, dry chemical, metal, and sand extinguishers leave a noticeable amount of inedible and harmful chemical residue. It’s best to keep these away from your cooking area and throw away any food that was sprayed by these extinguishers.

Lastly, Halotron and FE-36 fire extinguishers have no reports of leaving any residue. But I wouldn’t want to put any food that was sprayed by halon agents in my mouth. So, play it safe and throw this food away as well.  

Keep the Equipment Clean

Nothing strikes as an eye sore than a greasy kitchen hood and cooker. Your equipment will not do its job if they are not regularly maintained and cleaned. Many of them explicitly even affect the taste of your food.

Your ventilation system cannot get rid of all the grease particles in the air, the smell, grease, smoke, and even chemical fumes don’t leave your kitchen. This creates a safety and health hazard both for the staff in the kitchen and the customers enjoying the food.

Optimal and regulated equipment check-ups and fire extinguisher maintenance can drastically reduce the number of threats you might face during a fire hazard while also adding to the aesthetics of your restaurant’s kitchen and the taste of your product. 

Exposure to Fumes and Fire

Different types of packaging, conditions, and storage methods have various effects on food and its hygiene. Let’s discuss a few conditions and scenarios that can impact the quality of your food.

· Canned Food

Exposure to fire might cause cans and jars to crack. The contents inside will spill out and get contaminated. Some cans or jars may be intact after a fire, however, exposure to high temperatures causes the food to spoil. The fumes can also penetrate the caps and lids. Just throw them out after a fire.

· Food Stored in Penetrable Packaging

Foils, plastic, and cardboard are penetrable. Smoke has seeped inside and ruined the content. All unwrapped fruits and vegetables must also be thrown out after a fire.

· Fridges and Freezers

An important aspect of fire hazards is the fumes. The seals of your fridge and freezer are not airtight. This means the gasses and fumes might have got inside and ruined the food. After the fire, throw out any item with signs of smoke damage or odors, as well as the ice.

· Power Outage

The main reason why we can’t rely on electronic devices during a fire is their dependency on electricity. We have to check for signs of a power outage after a fire to determine how much of the food inside the fridge and freezer must be thrown away. Melted ice, unusual colors, and odors mean tainted food that must be discarded.

· Food Sprayed by Firefighting Chemicals

The chemicals inside a fire extinguisher and other fire suppression devices that you use are mostly potent enough to put you in the hospital for some time. They can also penetrate packaged items and there is no way to wash them off. Don’t hesitate to throw out anything that was touched by these chemicals.

· Cutlery

Utensils and cutlery, cups, and plastic plates that were exposed to the chemicals and smoke are no longer safe to use and must be thrown away.

· Points to Consider

Keep in mind not to feed pets any food that is considered unsafe for humans. Do not taste the food to find out if it’s safe. Always discard the food if you’re unsure of its safety, it’s not wasting if it can harm you.

We all want to protect our assets and reduce waste to a minimum. Food and organic products in our kitchen are the most fragile and sensitive. That’s why when in doubt, throw it out principal is very important. Putting the health of the customer and your reputation at risk is not worth the effort.


Cleanliness and Food Safety

One of the main subjects when talking about restaurants is of course the quality of our food. HACCP training indicated that ensuring the proper cleanliness of your area and undergoing food safety training is a necessity for all staff.

HACCP certification is not the only one though, SQF certification, ServSafe certification, iso 22000, and many other food safety management systems around the world put cleanliness at the top of the factors of their training. Receiving a food handler certification is a must for every legitimate restaurant owner.

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What is HACCP?

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)  is internationally known as the method of finding and controlling risks related to food safety. Your food safety program must revolve around these principles to ensure maximum food hygiene for the safety of the customers and the public.

Food safety in HACCP refers to the analysis of chemical, physical, and biological threats from every aspect of the process of production, such as raw material, procuring, manufacture, distribution, and consumption.

Fundamental Principles of HACCP

  1. Performing a hazard analysis

This means finding areas where various forms of hazard may come from and making sure that you are following food safety standards. This process involves finding chemical, physical, and biological hazards. With emphasis on biohazards since they have greater risks and consequences.

  1. Finding critical control points

Critical control points (CCPs) are certain steps in the process of food production. You can place an element of control in these points to reduce risks. Using a decision tree that is designed for HACCP, you can find these points inside your process of food production.

  1. Establishing critical limits

Establishing critical limits when it comes to hazards involves certain parameters according to food regulations standards and usually a kind of measurement. This measuring system can be weight, temperature, PH level, or any measuring form that prevents hazards and reduces risks.

  1. Monitoring CCPs

After identifying all of the CCPs, the monitored hazards, and measuring systems. It is time to create a system to increase general health and hygiene based on these factors. This system creates certain procedures for how, when, and where to take these measurements and who is responsible for managing this process.

  1. Creating procedures and reforming actions

There might be times in the process when you find out that the CCP measurement is over the allowed limits for a hazard. In this scenario, we create a new system by reviewing the production process, we try to isolate the problem and create new measures to prevent this incident from happening again.

  1. Make sure your HACCP plan is effective 

After putting your HACCP plan into action, you must make sure that all your actions and systems contribute to a safe process of food production. This needs reviewing records, checking your equipment’s functionality, and testing the final product to ensure the effectiveness of your process.

  1. Keep a record of all processes and actions inside the HACCP plan

You have to make a record of all your CCP monitoring to persuade the inspectors that your process of food production is safe. You can have a copy of your HACCP plan, and information about the analysis of hazards, critical limits, food safety reviews, and other measurements. These records also help the consistency of your standards.

Learning and performing these steps and receiving the food safety certificate is the way to make sure you’re up to the standards and are following guidelines provided by the specialist. As we mentioned before, there are other certificates such as GFSI certification, you need to choose the best one for your region.

While there are centers to receive your hygiene certification with proper on-site training. Nowadays you can get your HACCP certification online. Receiving the food handler certification online has the benefit of reducing your costs and being available anytime from anywhere.

Employees who finish food safety training find a much deeper understanding of their responsibilities towards co-workers and customers. They begin to care more about specific tasks and can make better judgments regarding food safety and hygiene.

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance Services in Utah and Colorado

Finding the best fire suppression system, proper cleaning of the equipment, and technical maintenance of all your equipment is a time-consuming and challenging task. Without enough knowledge, you might even end up damaging your assets.

Our professional team of technicians is here to assist and consult everyone on the appropriate installation and maintenance of all fire suppression equipment.

Here at NFP, we do our best to provide the best installation and maintenance services for your kitchen. Reach out and contact us to let our team of technicians help you out.

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