Starting a new food truck is a trendy business opportunity to consider. According to recent studies, it was identified that the overall value of food truck industry increased by over $1 billion since 2020. It is expected to increase $500 million by the year 2024. This is the main reason why you can see food trucks popping up in American streets along with time.
If you are about to start a food truck, it is important to be aware of the fire hazards associated with it. Let’s take a look at it in detail.
Understanding the fire risks of your food truck
Your food truck runs on gasoline or diesel fuel. However, there are many other factors, which can create a significant fire risk. They include portable generators and propane. You should be mindful about the fire risks that they can lead you to. On top of that, you need to have appropriate fire suppression equipment to minimize the risk of a fire breaking out.
Understanding propane risk
Propane is the biggest fire risk factor that food trucks in the United States face as of now. Approximately 68 percent of food truck fires take place due to propane tank leaks or structural problems. This was verified from a recent study conducted by NFPA. Most of the occurrences result in injuries and fatalities. Hence, you need to pay special attention to the risk factor.
The continuous movement of food trucks and frequent contact with potholes can loosen propane tank fittings and connections. It can also disrupt the structural elements. This is a major contributing factor in the issue. Propane leaks can be caused by the regular shaking of the tanks. It can also happen by improperly tightening the connections while changing out the tanks.
Understanding the portable generator risk
The portable generators that food trucks depend on to meet their electrical requirements can potentially lead to a fire danger. Generally, these dangers are larger in vehicles that have been converted into food trucks as compared to modern food trucks that have been developed for culinary operations.
An improperly vented generator or the electrical system itself can produce carbon monoxide. This is a common issue in older food trucks and cars that have been converted into food trucks. Many people lack the necessary storage to store the gasoline needed to power the generator safely away from sources of ignition in an area as constrained as a food truck.
Preparing food without appropriate fire suppression systems
For a very long time, commercial kitchens have been required to have hood suppression systems over ovens, burners, grills, and fryers. However, older food trucks or cars that have been turned into mobile kitchens could not have hood suppression systems.
Although most food truck operators have portable fire extinguishers with them, they frequently are unaware that they need two different types to cover the different fires they might run into. They include an ABC extinguisher that can put out fires involving paper like napkins and food wrappers, and a Class K extinguisher that can put out fires caused by grease, fat, or cooking oil.
Understanding how to protect your food truck from a fire hazard
Being proactive in addressing the fire risks in your food truck business can help prevent the complete loss of your investment and possibly even your life, even if local regulations are lacking. The following steps can be taken right now to make your business safer:
- Install an automated fire suppression system with a manual switch in your food truck. You need to have the system checked out by a professional every six months.
- Always have portable fire extinguishers available, such as a Class K extinguisher for grease fires and a Class ABC extinguisher for other kinds of fires.
- Have both your fire extinguishers and propane tanks inspected and marked with the testing date to guarantee their functioning is not impacted in any manner.
- Conduct regular inspections and maintenance of your electrical equipment to discover risks such as frayed cables or wiring, cracked or damaged switch plates and flammable materials near power sources.
- Have the kitchen exhaust system inside your food truck periodically examined for grease build-up. The frequency of inspections, which is defined in NFPA 96, will depend on the volume and type of cooking you do in your operation.
If you attend to these tips, you will not have to worry too much about the fire risks in your food truck. It will help you to focus on your core business operations, while keeping peace of mind.