Food trucks are increasingly popular these days and as a result food truck fire inspections have become more strict in recent years as well. This means that operating a food truck hasn't gotten any easier and laws and regulations ensuring their safety are more stringent than ever. In this article, we'll show you what regulations you need to meet to pass a food truck fire inspection.
Food Truck Fire Inspections - Why Are They Important?
Fryers, griddles, ovens, and grills are most commonly powered by propane or gas generators. Leaks of gasses like propane can cause fires or explosions, putting you, your equipment, and your customers at risk. These fire regulations are in place for a reason, to keep you, and those around you, safe. Here's a non-exhaustive checklist of the things you'll need to do to pass your food truck fire inspection.
"Food truck" is a catch-all term for any enclosed vehicle, trailer or pushcart selling food, and any food truck needs the appropriate licensing in order to operate legally. Any aspiring food truck operators must first get a local business license before being inspected for fire safety. A fire inspector certified in Colorado must examine, then permit any mobile food vendor that utilizes a fuel source, or who cooks anything that emits fumes.
Food Truck Fire Inspection Checklist
- Start by inspecting the outside of your vehicle before moving inside. First, check that your vehicle's location meets safety criteria; your vehicle (i.e., the kitchen) must be at least 10 feet away from all other vehicles. In addition, you must park within 15 feet of any fire hydrant. As this may be difficult at times, especially in crowded venues, you may consider keeping an abundance of fire extinguishers on hand as an alternative - but it's recommended that you consult a fire safety professional in such cases.
- Compressed Natural Gas:
- Keep in mind that compressed natural gas should be used for cooking purposes only.
- Make sure your gas container meets NGV-2 standards. NGV-2 is a safety and quality standard for onboard natural gas containers that is designed to promote safe storage and prevent leaks. Having an NGV-2-compliant container on board is critical for safe natural gas usage.
- Inspect your natural gas tanks every three years - this is the maximum recommended time between full inspections of your fuel unit.
- Check your valves and tubes before activating your natural gas cooking stations. Ensure every valve is properly set and that every tube is still safe and secure before cooking - things like bumps and potholes can knock valves and tubes loose over time, putting you at risk of leaks.
- Label all components of your system correctly. This minimizes the ever-present risk of human error.
- Hood Exhaust System:
- Label your components correctly, and keep track of when your exhaust was last inspected. Have your date of last inspection somewhere visible, where it won't be overlooked or missed.
- Ensure your hood is situated directly over your cooking area. If it isn't, you may risk having fumes escape into the truck's work area, which poses a health and safety risk.
- Cooking Oil Storage:
- Store no more than 120 gallons of cooking oil in your vehicle. Your cooking oil storage space will need to be inspected regularly, as is the case with all of your on-board equipment.
- Kitchen/Cooking Area:
- Check that all appliances are working as intended and that their wiring is clean, protected, and operational. When checking your wiring, make especially sure that no signs of water or liquid damage is present - signs of liquid damage could mean you're at risk of electrical faults, or that there's a leak somewhere in your vehicle.
- Do not use junction boxes or extension cables. These are a significant fire risk, especially in a narrow, enclosed space like a food truck.
- Know that general inspections may be required as often as every six months, but that in some instances, inspections may be required as often as every month.
- Walking Space:
- Keep your walkways clear and free of obstructions. This helps mitigate the risk of accidental trips and allows for quick and safe escapes in the case of fire.
- Proper fire protection:
- You must have a fire protection system installed, otherwise have fire extinguishers at the ready. Fire protection systems will be inspected every six months.
When it comes to food truck fire inspections in Colorado, don't hesitate to contact our team at Complete Fire. Our experts will help you understand all the relevant rules and regulations, and will periodically perform a food truck fire inspection (and make suggestions if necessary) to ensure you pass the official food truck fire inspection.