A sound fire prevention strategy is essential for any business but especially one operating in the food industry. Hazardous equipment and large numbers of staff and customers can create an environment that puts people and property at risk. How do you know if your restaurant is fire-safe or not?
Start with a risk assessment
It’s no surprise that kitchen appliances and cookers make up the most common causes of fire in restaurant businesses. Kitchen appliances can be the most problematic, starting around 25% of fires. However, it’s not always the appliances themselves that are the problem but factors such as the way they are used or maintained. The first step to assessing how fire safe a restaurant might be is to look at all the potential risks. These could include:
Cooking methods used
For example, if you’re overheating oil then this increases the risk of fire.
The electrical system
A restaurant may be poorly wired or the system not well maintained.
These most often occur where appliances have not been properly tested, are very old, were bought cheaply or are not being used for the correct purpose.
A dirty extraction system
If the ducting in an extraction system is not regularly cleaned this can lead to ducting fires. This is especially dangerous if the ducting goes from the restaurant to other buildings or residential dwellings, as it can enable fire to spread, fast.
Looking after electrical lighting
This needs to be properly maintained and kept clear of any flammable material that could be problematic.
Escape routes and rubbish disposal
It’s crucial that fire exits and escape routes are kept clear and not blocked, especially by bags of flammable material like rubbish.
For example, fire pits or shisha coals that are not properly maintained and handled or tumble dryers that are overused and never cleaned.
A fire safety checklist for the restaurant industry
- Carry out a risk assessment, taking into account all the factors mentioned above
- Check ducting has been properly installed and is regularly cleaned
- Ensure every appliance in the restaurant belongs to the restaurant, has been checked and is being regularly maintained
- Don’t let staff bring their own appliances into the restaurant and ensure that they are aware of the fire hazards that exist in the environment that they are working in
- Create a schedule for ensuring your electrical system and appliances are regularly tested. Don’t forget big appliances like a tumble dryer
- Create a fire safety plan so that everyone in the restaurant knows what to do if there is an emergency and can help customers to leave safely if necessary
- Invest in fire protection measures, both passive and active, so that your building is well equipped to handle fire that breaks out and you have tools in place to help you restrict its spread
Fire safety is crucial for businesses in the restaurant industry. From an awareness of the risks, to creating a strategy for coping with an emergency situation it’s essential to be prepared.
Get in touch with Hillmoore Fire for all your passive fire protection needs today.