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Procedures Following a Fire: Licensed Food Service Facilities

These procedures must be conducted following a fire and before a food service facility is approved to reopen for business. Smoke, soot, water and chemicals from the discharge of the fire suppression system or a fire extinguisher pose certain hazards to food safety and public health. Proper cleanup of the food service facility and disposal of food is essential in ensuring public health is adequately protected. 

Contact 911

If a fire has occurred at your food service facility, you must contact 911, even if the fire has been fully extinguished or is considered minor in nature. The Anne Arundel County Fire Department will evaluate the extent of the fire and determine the possible cause(s).

Notify Department of Health

You must notify the Department of Health at 410-222-7238 weekdays or 443-481-3140 after hours to report the fire.

Discard Food

Any food or food product, including wrapped, prepackaged, canned or any other type of packaging, that was directly exposed to fire, smoke, soot, excessive heat, water or fire suppression chemicals must be destroyed. These agents can adversely affect the contents of the wrapped or packaged item(s), rendering them unsafe. Food products that exceed an internal temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 4 hours must also be destroyed. Discarded food must be properly destroyed to prevent accidental consumption. The most common method is to remove the food from the original packaging, pour liquid bleach generously on top of it, and dispose of the discarded food in garbage bags in a tightly lidded trash can or dumpster for removal to a landfill.

Clean and Sanitize

All food contact surfaces, food service equipment, cooking surfaces and food storage surfaces affected by smoke, soot, fire suppression chemicals or water resulting from the fire must be properly cleaned and sanitized. Surfaces must be cleaned with warm soapy water, rinsed with clean water, and sanitized using a bleach solution equivalent to 100 ppm or a quaternary ammonium solution of 200 ppm (or per manufacturer’s label). Test kits must be available at the facility and used to determine the level of sanitizing agent.

All walls, floors and ceiling surfaces affected by smoke, soot, fire suppression chemicals or water resulting from the fire must be properly cleaned with warm soapy water and rinsed with clean water.

 

When can my food service facility reopen?

Once the above steps have been completed, the food service facility may only reopen upon approval from the Department of Health.

If the hood fire suppression system or a portable fire extinguisher has discharged, servicing by a licensed fire extinguisher service company, approved by the Maryland State Fire Marshal, is required prior to re-use of the fire suppression equipment. Additionally, any defects identified by the Department of Health or Fire Department must be adequately corrected before the food service facility may reopen. Such corrective actions include, but are not limited to, replacing filters, cleaning or repair of the hood by a licensed professional, or repair of food service equipment.

Where can I get more information?

Housing and Food Protection Services Program
Bureau of Environmental Health
Anne Arundel County Department of Health
3 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
410-222-7363