Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kitchen Hood Fire - Safety precautions to avoid an inferno within our home

It is now very common to have Kitchen hood installed in at our home. Time has changed and with more modern amenities we have to be additional cautious. I am writing this from a recent personal accident that happened within our family. A fire incident that happened, and by sheer luck those involved survived without any injury. The trauma that followed still continues with family including adults and children. It is indeed an eye opener. What do we do to avoid such incidents to recur?.

Indeed, Kitchen Safety should be given high importance.

In kitchens, where deep fat fryers, special baking appliances, tilting-type frying pans, broilers and grills are in use, spontaneous fires must be expected. The chances are more common within Indian families, who use more oil and frying methods while cooking. 

Therefore, if you have installed a Kitchen hood, it has to be cleaned.

Clean fire hoods prevent potentially dangerous particulates from escaping into the air, lowering the air quality and potentially posing a health hazard to all those involved.  Therefore, If a kitchen installed with a kitchen hood is found with a dirty hood, all efforts should be done to clean and maintain it at the earliest to avoid potentially dangerous situation that may happen.

Practice kitchen safety.

Unattended cooking is a common fire-starter, whether you are using a range or a microwave oven. If small children are home, maintain a kids-free-zone of at least 3 feet and use back burners when possible. Unplug small appliances, including toasters and coffeemakers, when they are not in use or you are away for long periods.

Clean range hoods.

Grease build up in range hoods is another fire hazard, so be sure to clean the vents regularly.

Keep dryer vents clear.

Clean your dryers lint screen regularly to avoid lint build up, which was listed as a factor in many fires. Use rigid metal dryer ducts instead of flexible ducts made of foil or plastic, which can sag and let lint build. And check them regularly to remove any lint build up.

Stay in the kitchen when using the range for cooking.

If you are leaving for just a minute, turn off all the burners on the range. Going for a can of tomatoes, or running out to check the mail, going to the bathroom, answering the phone in another part of the house? Simply turn off all the burners. After all, you are just leaving for a minute. You can immediately turn the pot or frying pan back on when you return.

Taking this simple step will prevent one of the most common situations that cause house fires due to unattended cooking.

When cooking with oil, keep a lid or flat cookie sheet close by. If flames appear, simply suffocate the fire with the lid and immediately turn off the stove or fryer to let it cool down. Do not try to move the pan. Do not use water. The super-heated water will explode into steam, and can cause severe burns, and oil can splash and spread the fire.

Don't cook when drinking alcohol, using drugs, or very tired. Eat something prepared, make a cold sandwich, and go to sleep. Cook your meal later, when you are fully conscious.

Check stove vent hoods, clean the filter regularly, and make sure that if it is equipped with an exterior vent, insects or birds do not build nests or otherwise impede the air flow through it.

Please ensure to employ a maintenance team with quality professional service who can provide grease trap cleaning, free waste oil removal, filter exchanges and hood fabrication as well as accessory services such as hinge kits, access panels and grease containment systems.

Each cleaning should include Filters, Fans, inside and out, Accessible Ducts from top to bottom, Fire Suppression Links, pipes and nozzles, detailed polish of all stainless steel exposures in the hood interior.
 In essence, maintain kitchen safety thanks to a clean extractor hood

Measures for a Safe Extractor Hood

If you want your extractor hood to be safer and more efficient, you must clean the casing, inside and the filters, which are usually removable, regularly. The frequency with which it must be cleaned and maintained will depend on the use you give it and the type of cooking you do.

The efficiency and safety of an extractor hood are linked to its cleanliness and maintenance, for if the appliance is dirty, the fans have a lower output and consume more energy in order to perform the same function.

The energy consumption of this electrical appliance fluctuates between 70w/h and 125w/h for the minimum power (depending on the model) and 200w/h and 350w/h at maximum power.

Dirt increases the risk of fire

The accumulated grease in the filters increases the risk of fire, which may start with a flame from a frying pan or by the burners overheating; this grease, on catching alight, will start the fire.

The more you fry, the more you need to clean

If you use your extractor hood a lot and do a lot of frying, you must clean the casing, interior and removable filters once a week. With fat-free recipes (boiling and steaming) the dirt reduces, as such it is sufficient to clean it once every two or three weeks.

The safe method, step by step

Switch the appliance off at the mains, remove the filters, clean the inside of the appliance using a cloth that has been dipped in soapy water and liquid ammonia, and dry it well using a cotton cloth that does not leave fluff behind. Try not to touch the engine or fans.

Continue with the casing

How you clean the casing depends on the material that it is made from. If it is plastic you can use soapy water and liquid ammonia, but if it is made of stainless steel, it is recommendable  that you use a specific product which polishes the steel. Never use this cleaner for the control panel, which will come perfectly clean using the solution that is acceptable for the plastic casing, but rinsing out the cloth completely.

Removable filters keep it like new

The best way of cleaning them involves placing them in a large bucket containing soapy water and liquid ammonia and scrubbing them with a brush used only for that purpose. Then you rinse them with clean water and leave them to dry outside. If it is sunny in your utility room or balcony, hang them up there. You can also put them in the dishwasher, placing them as vertically as possible in the lower shelf. If the filters of your extractor hood are disposable, replace them with new ones as often as the manufacturer’s instructions state.

In the event of excessive dirt

If the removable filters and the structure in which they are inserted are excessively dirty, apply an effective grease remover to both parts, leave it to take effect for five minutes, and then wipe the surface of the hood with a sponge, and scrub the filters with a brush, until you remove all of the grease. Remember that dirt increases the risk of a fire.

Did you know that…

The majority of domestic fires start in the kitchen, and especially in the extractor hood.

Get going, and have a look at your Kitchen hood and if you find it to be cleaned, do not delay.  

Safety First, at all times.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Sunday, 12th May 2013

More photos:

Illustration of dirt and grease accumulation that can turn potentially dangerous and turn in to fire incident:

1 comment:

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