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Fire Safety in Restaurants


Fire safety is important in all industries and businesses – but in few places is it more relevant than in a restaurant kitchen.

Restaurants are somewhat unique work environments, because you have the combination of fires and electricity for cooking, along with seated guests there to dine. When considering fire and life safety, it’s important to not only consider the safety of the staff and cooks, but also of the guests.

In this blog, we’ll share some top tips to keep in mind as you evaluate your restaurant’s fire and life safety procedures and equipment.

Keep Tabs on the Work Environment

One of the best things you can do to keep your kitchen fire safe is make sure you maintain a clean environment that’s clear of fire hazards.

For example, greasy rags can be a fire threat, because they can be incredibly flammable. These rags should be kept away from sources of heat and properly cleaned once you’re done using them. Keep flammable oils and chemicals away from sources of heat as well. Oftentimes, it can be easy to leave these sitting out on counters next to the stove, and that’s an avoidable risk with proper storage.

Appliances should be routinely checked as well, including checking cords for wear and tear, and checking outlets to make sure none are overloaded or improperly using extension cords or power strips. Both types of tools should never be used by major appliances, like a stove or refrigerator.

Consider your Fire Suppression Systems

iStock-1272482336Fire suppression systems are the equipment that puts out a fire if one breaks out. In a kitchen environment, it’s especially essential to make sure you have the right type of set-up.

There are two main components to a commercial kitchen fire suppression system – one part for the hood over the cooking station, and another part for the gas line.

Whenever a fire happens, the goal is to put it out as quickly as possible to prevent it from spreading. In a kitchen, fires can be especially dangerous because often materials like grease or flammable liquids are involved – and these cannot be put out with water. The fire suppression system in a hood often uses wet chemicals vs. plain water for this reason. If the sensors detect a certain level of heat, a series of nozzles in the hood will automatically activate to put out the fire. The hood should also turn on in the case of a fire to help pull smoke out of the air, increasing visibility for staff and helping maintain higher air quality.

The other step in a fire suppression system is to shut off the source of fuel – the gas line. If this is triggered, it should automatically shut it off. However, there should also be a manual pull station in commercial kitchens so that a staff member can physically start the fire suppression process at any time – even if the automations miss it.

Have a Fire Emergency & Evacuation Plan

iStock-133869910-1Finally, when considering fire and life safety in a restaurant, it’s extremely important to have an evacuation plan not only for your employees, but also for your customers. Everyone needs to know what to do to get themselves out, and also how to help diners get out in case of an emergency.

The first important step to an escape plan is to make sure you have the proper alarm system to alert everyone if a fire breaks out. This could include smoke detectors, automatic detection equipment and more. You should also make sure your alarms have voice announcements and visual signals, for patrons who may be hard of hearing or with limited sight.

Make sure that your restaurant follows all egress guidance for customers, depending on how many you seat at a time. According to the NFPA, some common areas of concern include the tables and chairs cutting down on space to evacuate in the case of an emergency, and secondary exits being lock or blocked due to storage. You want to make sure all exits and aisles are accessible at all times, and also that you have appropriate emergency exit signage as required by code.

Fire safety in a restaurant setting can be a lot to consider and plan for. With a preferred fire protection company, they are your partner and do the work for you keeping you in compliance and as protected as possible.

Tags: preferred protection, business, industry