ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND – FEBRUARY 3, 2009.  The International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association announced today that it has been approved as an accredited Standards Development Organization (SDO) by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  Accreditation was awarded by the ANSI Executive Standards Council on January 23, 2009 and announced in ANSI’s Standards Action newsletter on January 30, 2009.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, American fire departments respond to an average of 8,520 structure fires in U.S. restaurants each year. “These fires caused an annual average of 3 civilian deaths, 113 civilian fire injuries, and $190 million in direct property damage,” NFPA reports.  The fire hazards associated with poorly maintained kitchen exhaust systems made national headlines in August 2007, when a restaurant fire took the lives of two Boston City Fire Fighters. The fire ignited in the kitchen and spread into the kitchen exhaust system, where it burned in the duct work for over an hour.  The resulting investigation revealed serious deficiencies in the kitchen exhaust system, and a failure to properly clean and maintain the system.

“Preventing a tragedy like the 2007 Boston fire is easily attainable,” said Timothy Shaw, IKECA Executive Director.  “With American National Standards for kitchen exhaust cleaning, millions of dollars in property loss can be averted and lives will be saved.  IKECA standards will benefit the restaurant and insurance industries, but more importantly they will significantly improve life safety for both first responders and the general public.”

IKECA will fill a void in the world of American National Standards by producing the first comprehensive, consensus-built standards for the cleaning, inspection and maintenance of commercial kitchen exhaust systems.  According to Bernard P. Besal, IKECA President, “It is IKECA’s goal to create standards that work in harmony with existing standards for kitchen exhaust design, installation and operation.  We will be looking for active representation in the standards development process from the fire protection, engineering, insurance, foodservice, manufacturing and contracting industries, to ultimately produce standards that can be applied to restaurant exhaust systems across the country.”

“ANSI facilitates the development of American National Standards (ANS) by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations (SDOs). These groups work cooperatively to develop voluntary national consensus standards. Accreditation by ANSI signifies that the procedures used by the standards body in connection with the development of American National Standards meet the Institute’s essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus and due process,” ANSI states on its website.

IKECA, a non-profit organization founded in 1988, is committed promoting the highest cleaning and ethical standards, creating broader awareness of the need for continually improving fire prevention, and working to create healthier, cleaner and safer environments in which to operate a kitchen.  For more information about the development of IKECA standards, contact Glenn Fellman, IKECA Executive Vice President, at  To learn about the programs and benefits offered to restaurants and cleaning contractors, visit