Brazas Fire > Blog > Food Truck Fire Safety Fire Hazards > Booming Food Truck Fire Safety Fire Hazards All Owners Need to Know

Booming Food Truck Fire Safety Fire Hazards All Owners Need to Know

DONE 4 Booming Food Truck Fire Safety Fire Hazards All Owners Need to Know

As a food truck owner, your life depends on your mobile restaurant. You carefully crafted the menu, decked out the truck with custom art, and perfected your micro-kitchen workflow.

But in your excitement to fire up the stoves and start cooking, have you overlooked a critical safety issue? We talk about fire risks!

Let’s walk through the fire hazards specific to food trucks so you can take preventative steps now!

Handle with Care

For most food trucks, propane makes cooking on the go possible. It fuels your grills, fryers, flattops and other essential equipment. But this convenient combustion also introduces danger. Propane’s explosive potential means handling it carelessly courts catastrophe.

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) research, accidents involving propane tanks cause a full 68% of food truck fires. Jostling and vibrations from frequent travel loosen fittings and hoses on tanks and appliances. Propane leaks out filling your truck, awaiting just a spark to ignite.

Most injuries and deaths in food truck blazes over the past few years trace back to propane system failures. Don’t become another sad statistic. Make propane safety your top priority with these measures:

  • Have a qualified technician inspect your propane appliances and tanks every six months – checking for leaks and loose fittings is crucial.
  • Learn to hand tighten fittings yourself properly between professional checks.
  • Never overfill propane tanks, which can cause dangerous pressure buildups.
  • Securely mount tanks in your truck to prevent shifting and damage from road vibrations.
  • Take great care when swapping propane tanks to check all connections are tight before relighting appliances. One loose fitting can prove disastrous.

Handle propane carefully and ensure your system stays in top shape through diligent maintenance. Taking precautions prevents leaks that could cause explosions or suffocation.

Electrical Fires

You depend on electricity to power your truck’s lighting, appliances, point-of-sale system and more. But dated wiring and faulty installation can quickly trigger electrical fires in the tight confines of your truck. Watch for warning signs of an electrical overload like dimming lights or overheating appliances.

Many trucks stem from retrofitted vehicles never intended as commercial kitchens. Upgrading wiring that fails to meet codes prevents hazards before sparks fly. Likewise, correct any DIY installation mistakes that create fire risks. Don’t ignore damaged cords needing immediate replacement to prevent deadly shorts.

If your truck relies on a gas generator, take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning or fires. Only use generators installed by professionals with proper ventilation routing exhaust outside. Safely store generator fuel away from appliances and prevent debris from clogging vents.

Adding Fire Protection inside Your Truck

While regulations continue evolving, you’d be smart to voluntarily install fire suppression equipment inside your truck. Seeking extra protection now prevents paying the price later if flames erupt.

An automatic fire suppression unit designed for food trucks provides compact firefighting power combining nozzles, triggers, and retardant agent in one unit. Position it over appliances and make sure to include a manual trigger for quickly deploying suppressant.

Fire extinguishers also provide portable protection. Keep multipurpose ABC extinguishers on hand for electrical and general fires. But also invest in specialized Class K extinguishers formulated to smother stubborn grease and cooking oil blazes.

Strategically place several extinguishers near appliances and exits for quick access. Check pressure gauges monthly and have a certified company inspect extinguishers annually to keep them charged and functional.

Ventilation Preventing Grease Fires

Here’s an alarming fact: around 21% of food truck fires originate in kitchen ventilation systems choked with grease. As you grill, fry and cook all day, grease accumulates inside the exhaust hood and ducts. Eventually, the buildup ignites into difficult-to-extinguish grease fires.

Routinely cleaning and maintaining ventilation systems averts this danger based on NFPA 96. Degrease hoods weekly with hot water and degreasers to wash away greasy layers before they catch fire. And have professionals thoroughly clean ducts and vents quarterly to clear stubborn accumulations you simply can’t reach.

Well-designed systems also help. Equip your truck with grease traps and filters to intercept grease before it coats ducts. Remember to diligently empty and clean traps to prevent overflow. Watch for signs like blocked airflow indicating it’s time to clean vents. Acting before grease blocks ventilation reduces risks.

What Now?

As you can see, food trucks carry distinct fire hazards from propane systems, electrical wiring, cooking equipment and more.

But being aware of the risks in your mobile kitchen empowers you to take preventative action.

Make sure to adapt these diligent precautions:

  • Handle propane carefully and maintain tanks/fittings to prevent leaks.
  • Watch for electrical issues like worn cords and upgrade faulty wiring.
  • Install fire suppression equipment even if not yet required.
  • Carry ABC and Class K portable extinguishers and keep them charged.
  • Clean kitchen exhaust systems regularly to remove dangerous grease buildup.

Being careful against fire hazards needs discipline. But protecting your food truck is worth every ounce of effort.

Contact Brazas FIre at 505-889-8999 if you need help for a thorough inspection!

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