Fire is a significant issue in restaurants. Most rely on gas stove top burners, deep-fat fryers, and flame grills, all of which are high-risk.
The risk is particularly high in commercial kitchens because of the degree of chaos in them. Multiple chefs move around between appliances, cooking dozens of dishes at a time. It can be hard to keep track of everything.
The purpose of this article is to help you find ways to keep your restaurant safe from fire hazards. Some of these suggestions are established best practices, but only a minority of establishments apply all of them.
So, what do we suggest?
Pin A Restaurant Safety Checklist To The Wall
Pinning a restaurant safety checklist to the wall (preferably with pictures), is a great way to get staff to internalize the procedures they should follow. Things like not leaving burners unattended and always switching off the gas at the end of the shift can be great reminders to keep the place safe.
Maintain A Clean Environment
The next step is to ensure you maintain a clean environment. Grease that builds up on vents and hoods can become a fire risk if not removed regularly.
Install Appliances With In-Build Fire Suppression
Another excellent idea is to equip your kitchen with appliances with in-build fire suppression systems pre-installed. These automatically kick in if units detect a fire, preventing it from spreading or damaging the surrounding equipment. Manufacturers use different types of fire suppression technologies, so choose the one you think will work best in your context.
Create An Emergency Evacuation Plan
You should also create an emergency evacuation plan for your restaurant. Again, write it down and pin it on the wall so everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Also, tell your restaurant insurance about your plans and ask them what strategies you can implement to lower your premiums. Find out which fire mitigation techniques are optimal and how they can help you lower the average cost of running your business.
Install And Maintain Exit Signs
It might sound like a small thing, but installing and maintaining your exit signs is an excellent way to ensure fire safety. Exit signs continue to shine brightly, even in the event of a fire or power outage, enabling people to get to safety quickly. It’s also a legal requirement for many business premises; especially ones with a lot of workers. Without this clear signage, your workers would be within their rights to seek out a workers’ compensation attorney if they were injured in a fire.
Don’t Use Candles Or Vintage Lighting Solutions
While it might be tempting to use candles or vintage lighting solutions in your restaurant, you should avoid it. Open flames are a fire risk and candles will be knocked over. Some restaurants like to use floating teacup candles, but these are also a hazard.
If you want candles, use LED replicas. These look similar to the original but don’t pose the same safety risks.
Train Your Staff On Emergency Procedures
Finally, you’ll want to train your staff on emergency procedures. Your people should know how to respond when a fire breaks out and what to do first. They should also shepherd customers from dangerous areas into safe zones to protect them.