Food trucks have gained incredible popularity in recent years. You’ll find them lined up in city parks, catering special events, and so on. They offer a unique way to taste yummy, often experimental dishes. Trying a new one is an enjoyable way to spend a day or night out.

While foodies gather to get their grub, they’re probably not concerned about the fire hazards associated with their new favorite lunch spot. They have that luxury. You, as the owner, do not. 

Let’s discuss some common food truck fire hazards and what type of extinguisher you need to put them out, along with other food truck fire safety tips

Food Truck Fire Hazards: Explained

Food trucks pose significant fire hazards that must be addressed. First of all, food trucks are fully operating vehicles. That means they pose the normal risks you’d expect from other cars that run on gasoline or diesel fuel. 

Aside from those risks, there are five additional fire hazards that are unique to food truck operations: 

  • Propane – Food truck owners use propane to flame-cook their meals. These propane tanks are attached to the outside of the food truck. If attached incorrectly or mishandled, it can result in destructive fire.
  • Portable generators – Similarly, food truck owners use portable generators to power other equipment. If used improperly or if fuel is stored improperly, it could result in fire.
  • Cooking grease – Liquid cooking materials like grease, oils, and fats can result in fires that spread quickly and are difficult to extinguish.
  • Lack of fire suppression equipment – Some food trucks aren’t equipped with the right type and amount of fire suppression equipment, like fire extinguishers
  • Dysfunctional fire suppression equipment – Some food trucks aren’t equipped with effective fire suppression equipment. Because the trucks drive around so often, their equipment could get damaged during travel. 

What Type of Fire Extinguisher Do I Need for a Food Truck?

Just a few years ago, there were no fire safety standards for food trucks from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or any other authoritative entity. Food trucks were just too new at that point. 

But in 2018, the NFPA addressed mobile and temporary cooking in Section 50.7 of the 2019 edition of NFPA 1: Fire Code and the Adoptable Annex B of the 2017 edition of NFPA 96: Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations.  

One of the most important takeaways from these guidelines is that food trucks should be equipped with at least one Class K fire extinguisher. This is in addition to the regular ABC fire extinguisher they need to combat other fire hazards unrelated to cooking. 

What Are Class K Fire Extinguishers Used For? 

Class K fire extinguishers are one type of fire extinguisher used to combat Class K fires that involve flammable liquids commonly used to cook food. These liquids include grease, oils, and fats. 

Grease, oil, and fats are highly flammable under the right conditions. Once they catch fire, the flames spread quickly and are difficult to extinguish. Water will only make the situation worse, so a specialized Class K extinguisher is necessary. 

Class K fire extinguishers are common requirements for other businesses in the food industry, like restaurants and catering establishments. Food trucks, being a sort of “kitchen on wheels,” need them as well. 

Other Food Truck Fire Safety Tips

Besides keeping a Class K fire extinguisher in your food truck, there are a few other fire safety tips you should keep in mind. Here are a few of the most important ones. 

  • Consider installing an automatic fire suppression system (your local government may require it!).
  • Schedule regular fire protection system inspection, testing, and maintenance.
  • Schedule regular inspections of your exhaust system for grease buildup.
  • Train your staff on how to handle and clean up cooking grease properly.
  • Train your staff on how to use a fire extinguisher properly.
  • Never throw water on a grease fire. 
  • Keep your kitchen clean. 
  • Store flammable liquids carefully. 
  • Use chemical solutions properly. 

Protect Your Food Truck Against Fire Hazards With Vanguard

Want to make sure your food truck or restaurant is protected against fire hazards? Vanguard Fire & Security Systems can help. We’re experts in restaurant fire protection, and we’ve come to love working with food trucks as well! We’ll evaluate your current fire protection systems, offer recommendations for improvement where needed, and provide ongoing inspections and service. 

Give us a call at (800) 444-8719 or contact us online today.