When you invite customers through your restaurant doors, you want them to experience great service whilst sampling tasty food. But, most customers are probably blissfully unaware that in just a matter of minutes, an open flame or tiny electrical spark could start a fire that quickly moves from the back to the front of house. So, maintaining fire safety is a crucial part of responsible restaurant ownership. So, to help give you peace of mind, we’ve put together this essential fire safety checklist.
Have an Extinguisher Handy
A fire extinguisher to hand could be the difference between the fire being put out within seconds, or spreading throughout the building. Ideally, you should have multiple fire extinguishers throughout your restaurant; this gives both staff and customers a better chance of being able to grab one from nearby should the worst happen.
Maintain the Sprinkler System
Look for a fire sprinkler company near me, fire sprinkler systems sense heat in a building and immediately open, raining water down to extinguish the flames. So, it makes sense to have a fire sprinkler installation at your restaurant; in some areas, it may even be mandatory by law. Ensure that you keep your sprinkler systems properly maintained; after all, you can’t just turn them on to test them – it’d ruin your restaurant. Fire sprinklers should be checked over by a certified professional at least twice yearly.
Don’t Neglect Repairs
It can be tempting to put off small repairs that don’t seem urgent at the time, but all too often, restaurant owners find that seemingly minor issues can rapidly turn into big fire hazards. As soon as you notice any problems such as frayed wiring, sparking outlets or broken switch plates, it’s vital to call in a certified commercial electrician who’ll be able to repair the issue and check whether any new fire hazards have been caused. For the fire door, in order for it to be judged as safe and fully functional, it’s not enough that the door itself is in an acceptable condition. Make sure to have an expert inspect it and consider an immediate fire door repair if needed.
Prioritize Restaurant Hygiene
Keeping everything squeaky clean in your restaurant won’t just get you a good review on TripAdvisor, it’ll also help to minimize the risk of a fire breaking out. A huge number of commercial restaurant fires such as this one happen because of grease build-up in hoods and traps, which eventually starts to burn and catch fire. This type of restaurant fire is perhaps the most preventable; by hiring a professional cleaning service regularly you’ll keep the risk to a minimum.
Regularly Train Employees
Not only is it important to train all your employees in fire safety at the beginning of their career with you, you should also conduct regular refresher training, perhaps every few months. This enables employees to refresh their memory of what should be done in the event of a fire, and gives them the opportunity to learn new skills, such as maintaining smoke alarms or being a fire warden.
Routine Fire Drills
Lastly, the most important part of dealing with a restaurant fire is being able to get all the customers out safely. Routine fire drills are important; they ensure that the whole workforce is prepared for a fire.
Restaurants are filled to the brim with fire hazards, so be sure to make fire safety a priority.
Excellent tips, Al! One key thing you may want to mention is to ALWAYS use the hood fire suppression system FIRST before using an extinguisher. This will cut fuel and/or electricity from appliances beneath the hood, as well as suppress any fire beneath the hood AND in the hood and exhaust duct. Hood fire suppression systems (aka "Ansul Systems") are required in most parts of the US, and maintaining and using them properly can be the difference between 5 hours of down time or 5 weeks of downtime while your restaurant makes repairs. For more, follow me on Twitter @RestaurantFire.