Fire safety procedures for restaurants

Written by lee morgan
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Fire safety procedures for restaurants
The open flames in a restaurant kitchen are sometimes the cause of fire emergencies. (fire image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com)

A restaurant inherently has a major concern with fire safety. In a business where open flames and cooking equipment with high temperatures are continuously used to produce its product, fire safety is of utmost importance. Any restaurant must have fire prevention and emergencies plans in place, and are required by law to have specific equipment in place to contain a fire in the event of an emergency.

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Maintain Fire Suppression Systems

Fire suppression systems in restaurants are somewhat complex devices that are placed in strategic areas within the kitchen. These systems sometimes trigger automatically when temperatures reach a certain level, or they have an emergency pull switch that releases the chemicals onto the fire prone areas to extinguish the flames.

A restaurant should have the proper types of fire suppression in place and professionally installed according to fire codes, and it should also have the required number of hand-held fire extinguishers. Test the system thoroughly after installation. Have the system and the fire extinguishers inspected on a regular basis to comply with safety standards and any local laws.

Good Housekeeping

Keeping the kitchen area clean and organised can reduce fire risks. Employees should be well aware of where fire hazards are and what they can or cannot do in those areas. You should not allow aprons or towels lying about near open flame or hot surfaces, for example, as they could catch fire.

The ventilation system can become quite dirty and clogged by grease and dirt particles, possibly causing a fire hazard over time. Professionally clean these devices at least every 6 months, depending on use or according to local regulations.

Follow Evacuation Plan

Every restaurant should have a fire evacuation plan in place, and the entire management team and key employees must know the route in which the guests should flow out of the restaurant. Getting a crowded restaurant emptied out before an out-of-control fire injures someone is a challenge. However, having one common plan that gets people in various sections out of a nearby exit quickly may save lives. Employees should know to direct people to their designated exit and then get out themselves in order to meet at a decided upon spot.

Alarms and Emergency Personnel

Equip restaurants with a warning alarm to alert the staff and patrons that there is a danger. In the event of an actual emergency, the management should make the decision to pull the suppression system if necessary and to immediately call 911 to contact the fire brigade.

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