IKECA has 92 articles published.

In Memory of Bernard Besal

in IKECA News by
Bernard Besal

It brings us great sadness to share the passing of Bernard Besal. To say that he’ll be missed is an understatement. His journey in this life crossed the paths of many and touched the lives of an uncountable number of people. We mourn the loss of a leader in our industry and a good man.

A dear friend of Barney’s stated, “a gentleman is someone who puts the comfort of others before himself,” and by this definition Barney was truly a gentleman.

Bernard was a founding member of the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association. He served as President and on multiple committees. He has been instrumental in bringing our Association to higher levels of credibility and recognition through his work on the Board of Directors, as a Chairman of the ANSI Standards Development Committee and his work with the NFPA 96 Standards Technical Committee. Barney was influential in the development of the Certified Service Agent program for Gaylord Manufacturing, which has benefited so many around the world.

Barney has left behind a family that loved him dearly, a group of friends that will be at a loss without him and an industry that will likely never again see a man of such character, devotion, and passion.

Barney always left more than he took. This attribute in him contributed more to IKECA than any single influence, and what made him so memorable to us. His dedication and generosity will be painfully missed.

So many of us have benefited from the tireless efforts of this true leader, including countless food service facility owners and operators; his life’s work has saved lives. Because of his giving of himself and his willingness to elevate the industry, there is no way to know how many people have benefited from his work.

Bernard Besal reflected the character, described by Theodore Roosevelt, as a man who contended in the arena of life. Undoubtedly, there were times where he was bloodied and bruised, but he contended. Barney not only contended, but he was a victor in the life he lived.

In the measure of things that matter, the love he has shown and the good he has done, will be memorialized in the hearts of those he has left behind. 

Barney, we will miss you.

Tips for Working with AHJs

in IKECA News by
AHJs fire extinguisher fire prevention

Developing a strong relationship with your local AHJs is necessary for your business. Showing them that you know NFPA 96 inside and out could lead to potential recommendations to restaurants in your area when an AHJ goes to do an inspection.

Here are some tips IKECA learned from an AHJ at a previous Annual Meeting.

1. Know And Abide By The Requirements Wherever Your Work Takes You
Every state, city, and county will have different jurisdictions. Staying aware of relevant codes and requirements builds trust and demonstrates good faith to your local AHJ.

2. Get To Know Your AHJ
Have open communication — keep your AHJ informed of new technologies, techniques and situations you encounter. After all, you are an expert.

3. Get Involved In Your Community’s Public Safety Efforts
Your AHJ will remember you if you take time to help in community-wide fire prevention education events. Look for volunteer opportunities to bud face recognition with your AHJ.

4. Ask For Help If Needed, Accept Responsibility For Mistakes
If you need advice about a particular situation you’ve encountered on the job, always go to your AHJ for guidance. They will work with you to come up with solutions.

Read and share all of the tips here.

What Every Restaurant Owner Should Know

in Uncategorized by
kitchen grease fire

Many restaurant owners don’t know what is considered a properly cleaned kitchen exhaust system. More often than not, they are unaware that simply having a certificate of cleaning is enough to keep them out of trouble with authorities if a grease fire occurs.

Here are two of the most common questions restaurant owners have about kitchen exhaust cleaning.

1. What is considered clean?
The industry standard is “clean to bare metal”. NFPA 96 states that the grease inside of a restaurant’s kitchen exhaust system must be reduced to a minimum of .002 inches.

2. How often should a kitchen exhaust system be cleaned?
This varies based on cooking volume, but every restaurant should have set schedule for regular cleanings by certified and trained KECs. Consult NFPA 96 to view the official guidelines.

View answers to more commonly asked questions here.

4 Cities. 4 Costly Grease Fires That Could Have Been Prevented.

in Fire News by
portsmouth restaurant fire

Grease fires are all too common in the restaurant industry and often the result of improper cleaning of kitchen exhaust systems. In the span of just a few days, four major restaurants experienced fires that could have been easily prevented. The consequences of improperly cleaned kitchen exhaust systems result in tragedies like these. These tragedies are preventable. Always hire certified kitchen exhaust cleaners (KECs) who work closely with AHJs to ensure your system is clean, up to code, and regularly maintained.

Grease fire hazards can be reduced when a restaurant’s kitchen exhaust system has been properly cleared of grease, not just from the hood, but throughout the entire system. If you are a facility manager or restaurant owner, always make sure to have your system regularly cleaned by certified kitchen exhaust cleaning technicians. Locate an IKECA Certified KEC with this tool.

Spokane Valley, WA – A popular Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant called Three Sisters had a grease fire that sparked $35,000 in damages just after 11am. According to NFPA, restaurant fires peak between 10-11am. Everyone inside was safely evacuated. The kitchen staff had fired up the wok and left it unattended. Flames shot up into the hood which caused leftover grease to ignite in the exhaust vent.

More on this story here.

Portsmouth, NH – Local favorite State Street Saloon was completely destroyed in a massive five alarm fire. The fire even spread to a nearby apartment complex, displacing 17 residents – some of which had to be rescued. The saloon collapsed and all that remains of the ventilation duct are twisted and charred pieces. Firefighters from 50 departments responded to the fire. The cause is still being investigated.

More on this story here.

Miamisburg, OH – Early in the morning this past Wednesday, the staff inside a Miamisburg Burger King were evacuated when a grease fire erupted and quickly spread to the hood ventilation system. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before they engulfed the restaurant’s attic. The restaurant underwent extensive cleaning and inspection before reopening.

More on this story here.

Poor kitchen exhaust system maintenance isn’t exclusive to the US. This last fire happened overseas.

London, England – Three people were rescued when built up grease in Mantra Restaurant’s kitchen exhaust system caused a fire. The blaze spread to the building itself and took firefighters an hour to extinguish. A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said, “Restaurant and take-away owners should always take care to make sure their kitchen exhaust systems are kept clean as a build-up of fat and grease within the filters can lead to a fire.”

More on this story here.


Grease Fire at Logan’s Roadhouse Causes $60,000 in Damages

in Fire News by
grease fire

Popular San Antonio restaurant Logan’s Roadhouse had a massive grease fire that resulted in about $60,000 in damages. Everyone inside was safely evacuated and more than a dozen fire units put out the fire.

Regular customer Kris Hampton said, “We looked out the window. We were sitting in the front of the restaurant and we saw black smoke. We really didn’t know what was going on but within 30 seconds the fire alarms went off and the restaurant was cleared”.

This fire could have been prevented if the kitchen exhaust system had been properly cleaned.

Read more on this story here.

Member Spotlight: Grease Stop, LLC

in Member Spotlight by
Grease Stop Spotlight

By Greg Fisher, CECS- President Grease Stop, LLC

1. How and where did your company start?
In November 2004 when I bought a dealership based in Reading, PA.

2. What area does your company service?
We currently cover a 4 hour radius from Reading including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and New York.

3. What does your company stand for?
Most companies will tell you quality. Well, to me that is understood. If you are not a quality company, you will not grow the business.  The main reason, which I have learned while being a sales executive for Xerox, is that people do not make decisions based solely on price, quality, or contracts. All these are factors of the decision making process, but good service and customer satisfaction ranks highest. At Grease Stop, we have national accounts, major stadiums, mom and pops, fast foods, schools and churches. We earn the customer’s trust regardless of size, by providing excellent service and customer satisfaction. This creates a good customer-vendor relationship.

4. How did you get started in the KEC industry?
The commute, the government, and being an employee convinced me to start my own business. Without any knowledge of this industry, I had an opportunity to become a dealer of a hood cleaning company with territory back in Reading, PA, my home town. There was no business plan or process presented.  I was part of approximately 15 other dealers with no experience, learning on our own and paying the price for our mistakes.

5. What did you do in your prior life before KEC?
I was a Xerox sales executive for 22 years, living in Annapolis, MD selling data center mainframe printers to the Federal government in Washington, DC.

6. What surprised you most when you started in the KEC industry?
First of all, I never knew about the KEC industry. What surprised me most was the amount of grease that we had to take out of the kitchen exhaust systems to make it clean. We discovered that not all hood cleaning companies would clean the entire system.  We discovered that the fan did not have a hinge kit or grease containment, horizontal ducts were not cleaned, or access panels were not opened. There didn’t seem to be regulations controlling the process of cleaning within the KEC industry.

7. How did you get your passion for KEC and describe your passion for the industry in words?
In 2011, I broke away from that dealership and created Grease Stop, LLC. I wanted to learn more about the industry so I was reading the information on other KEC websites. One of the sites was Nelbud’s site, and I decided to email Nelson Dilg. He suggested that I look into joining IKECA. I checked out the IKECA website and decided this was exactly what I was looking for to gain this industry knowledge.

8. How did you go about making the quality control changes that brought your company to where it is today? 
The key to do this is in two parts. Part one: thoroughly train and certify your employees. Part two: Maintain the quality and detail of the processes. At Grease Stop, administration, management and clerical work together in the job preparation process. The technicians arrive to start their shift, read their work orders, and confirm appointments to complete their scheduled jobs. Follow-ups with picture reviews, customer calls and deficiency reports are always completed the next day. Every company basically performs the same process in cleaning. However, it is the detail and follow-up with the customer that makes the quality process outstanding.

9. What were some of your goals that IKECA helped you to achieve and how did IKECA help you to achieve them?
I wanted to know the KEC industry to further my knowledge and understanding. I wanted to learn about OSHA, EPA, Worker’s Compensation, liability insurance, personnel issues, and payroll. The bi-annual meetings have opened my eyes to all of this. IKECA has also introduced to me other owners which are willing to work together for the growth of the industry. The C-10 is a perfect example of this.

10. What do you think is the greatest value of being an IKECA member?
The sharing of industry knowledge, helping to make each KEC business successful.

11. What would you most want to say to the AHJ’s about our industry?
Our industry needs to work together with all the local AHJ’s. Please reach out to the IKECA members within your territory so we can help keep the industry safe from fire.

12. What would you most want to say to the restaurants about our industry?
Take our reports more seriously and correct the deficiencies to keep your restaurant safe.

13. What is your favorite hobby?
Boating and fishing in my Cutwater on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

Oakland, CA Warehouse Fire Shows Dangers of Violating Fire Codes

in Fire News by
Oakland Warehouse Fire

One of the deadliest fires in the United States occurred last Friday in a warehouse used as a concert space in Oakland, CA. The fire could have been prevented if fire codes were properly followed.

James Pauley, President of the National Fire Protection Association said, “Perhaps the greatest danger when it comes to fire safety is complacency, a feeling people may develop that disaster is unlikely to strike them because it hasn’t so far”. IKECA Members have come across many customers with this mentality that are unaware of the dangers of not abiding by safety regulations.

Read more about this recent fire here.

Hospital Fires Report by the U.S. Fire Administration

in Fire News by
hospital fires

We encourage you to read the following report on hospital fire statistics and share it with everyone you know. Cooking was the leading cause of 68% of hospital fires between 2012-2014, which totaled about $5 million in damages. Imagine how much lower that number would be if every kitchen exhaust system in hospitals were properly cleaned.

Read the full report from the U.S. Fire Administration here.

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