New fire code provisions planned for mobile cooking operations

New fire code provisions planned for mobile cooking operations

Photo courtesy of iStock.

Kristin Bigda is a principal engineer at the National Fire Protection Association.

By Kristin Bigda

As the summer moves along, more and more outdoor events will be popping up, many of which now include visits by food trucks with cooking operations. The National Fire Protection Association has put forth efforts over the past couple of years to educate and promote the public on the importance of food truck safety.

The 2018 edition of NFPA 1, Fire Code, arriving this fall, will include a new Section 50.7 with provisions specific for mobile and temporary cooking operations. The code is used by authorities having jurisdiction for fire safety.

The new requirements are based primarily on new provisions from NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, 2017 edition as well as NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, 2017 edition.

NFPA 96 was the driving force behind the development of new provisions for food trucks and mobile cooking, and they serve as the expert source for the details regarding installation and inspection, testing and maintenance for the cooking equipment used on the vehicles and other cooking operations.

It should be noted that the 2017 edition of NFPA 96 contains new provisions for mobile and temporary cooking operations in an adoptable Annex B. The NFPA standards development process does not permit another document (NFPA 1) to directly extract from an Annex, so users will not see extract notations from NFPA 96. However, the intent of the NFPA 1 committee was to include technical requirements consistent with those from NFPA 96.

The technical committees will continue to work together over the next revision cycles to further enhance, improve and coordinate the provisions. Many additional requirements are extracted from NFPA 58.

The code defers to the expertise of standards such as NFPA 96 and NFPA 58 for many installation requirements. These include inspection, testing and maintenance details, container installation, storage, use and transportation of LP-Gas. Section 50.7, also includes requirements that are unique to NFPA 1 and are included only in NFPA 1 based on the scope of the code.

In addition to the provisions from NFPA 96 and NFPA 58, here are some of the criteria you can expect to find in new Section 50.7 in NFPA 1, 2018 edition. You can check out the exact provisions now in the second draft report, even before the new document is published.

  • Permits: Where required by the authority having jurisdiction, permits are required for the location, design, construction and operation of mobile and temporary cooking operations.
  • Vehicle Safety: Wheel chocks must be used to prevent mobile and temporary cooking units from moving.
  • Separation: Mobile or temporary cooking operations are required to be separated from buildings or structures, combustible materials, vehicles and other cooking operations by a minimum of 10 feet.
  • Tents: Mobile or temporary cooking cannot not take place within tents occupied by the public.
  • Seating: Seating for the public shall not be located within any mobile or temporary cooking vehicle.
  • Fire Department Access: Mobile or temporary cooking operations cannot block fire department access roads, fire lanes, fire hydrants or other fire protection devices and equipment.
  • Communication and Training: An approved method of communication to emergency personnel shall be accessible to all employees. The address of the current operational location is to be posted and accessible to all employees. Prior to performing mobile or temporary cooking operations, workers are to be trained in emergency response procedures and a refresher training shall be provided every year. Training must be documented and made available to the authority having jurisdiction.
  • Fryers: All fat fryers shall have a lid over the oil vat that can be secured to prevent the spillage of cooking oil during transit. This lid shall be secured at all times when the vehicle is in motion.

How has your jurisdiction worked to improve food truck safety or enhanced regulations at public events with temporary cooking operations? Share your story with us. Follow the ongoing efforts of the NFPA 1, NFPA 58 and NFPA 96 technical committees and check out the resources from NFPA for additional information for your community.


Topics: Food Safety, Independent Operators, Legal Issues, Policy / Legislation / Regulation, Safety

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