Specialist building services contractor Swiftclean has launched a campaign to lobby for a change in the recording of fire statistics to include specific reference to the presence of grease deposits in kitchen extract ductwork and suitable fire safety cleaning access. Hidden grease deposits are responsible for both the wider spread and greater intensity of fires in commercial buildings, whereas regularly cleaned ductwork will control the risk of fire propagation via the kitchen extraction system. Swiftclean, which provides expert kitchen extract fire safety cleaning to major food retailers and processors, hotels, stadia, local authorities and facilities management providers, has begun lobbying for the addition of several metrics which will reflect the presence of grease as an accelerant on commercial kitchen fires.
Managing director, Gary Nicholls, said: “We know from forensic fire investigators that their records revealed at least 25% of fires investigated in commercial properties are made significantly worse by the presence of accumulated fat, oil and grease in kitchen extract ductwork, yet so far the presence of these deposits has never been officially recorded. This means it is almost impossible to set meaningful targets for the reduction of the spread of fire due to grease. It's an invisible problem in the statistics, but a very real threat in practice. These fires threaten lives and put companies out of business, so setting a target for reduction ought to be a priority for all of us.”
Swiftclean has approached government, constituency MPs and the official bodies concerned with fire prevention, control and recording in the hope that it can make the problem of hidden grease more visible. “We want to put it high on the agenda for the government, but more importantly for building managers, owners and responsible persons,” said Nicholls. “Cleaning your ductwork system of grease is not just a legal requirement, it can quite literally be a matter of life or death. With accurate statistics, we can set realistic targets for a reduction in fires and hopefully see less severe fires as a result.”
Swiftclean is also appealing for any interested parties to join the campaign, sending a submission to the chair of the IRS Working Group/Department for Communities and Local Government. Details can be found on Swiftclean's website at www.swiftclean.co.uk/MHGV.