Fire when ready! That’s really not how it happens

Last month, while covering some of the anticipated documentation focuses (foci?) of the coming survey term, we touched on the potential of the monthly inspection of the kitchen fire suppression system becoming a vulnerability, particularly as it is not specifically called out in any of the accreditation organizations’ standards (it kind of is, but you have to do a little digging to find out where the requirements live). When I’ve discussed this during client work, sometimes I get a little pushback from folks who feel the monthly inspection is a little over the top. One of the things I’ve learned over time is that there are certain systems/practices, etc. for which it is better to have and not need, as opposed to needing and not having. And one of the more devastating occurrences can be a fire in a kitchen. You certainly can’t plan for a fire, but there’s a lot you can do to minimize the potential impact of a culinary conflagration.

To that end, I would recommend this article from Health Facilities Management magazine, outlining the components of an effective response to kitchen fires. When you think about the typical risk factors of fires, the kitchen is prime real estate for a focused approach. You’ve got fire, you’ve got combustible materials, you have a fair amount of staff turnover, and a workforce that tends to be a little younger—each a good reason to pay close attention and even more so if you combine any, or all, of these elements. All the more reason to take every measure to ensure that all the protection/response elements are at peak performance and ready; and education and regular inspection of critical systems only enhances readiness.


About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Chartis Group. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is an advisory board member for Accreditation and Quality Compliance Center. Contact Steve at