Restaurants are at a high risk for a small fire to fly out of control. Cooking oils, paper products, electrical connections, cleaning chemicals, hot equipment and open flames all make the areas susceptible to fire. A light fire can lead to destruction of property, loss of revenue and even permanent closure of an establishment.
Here are 10 restaurant fire protection tips to ensure that your working area is safe:
- Install an automatic fire suppression system in the kitchen. More than half of the fires experienced in restaurants result from the cooking equipment, therefore such an installation will successfully dispense chemicals in an automated manner to suppress any flames before they spread. When the system is activated, electricity supply or fuel to the cooking equipment is automatically cut.
- The fire suppression system should be inspected and maintained at least twice every year, to ensure they are in good shape. This calls for a professional team, both for the installation and inspection.
- Portable fire extinguishers should be in place, to serve as backups. Class K fire extinguishers work best in the kitchen area, putting out fires that result from grease, fats and oils which burn at extremely high temperatures. However, class K fire extinguishers are designed for use after the activation of an automatic fire suppression system. Classes A, B, and C fire extinguishers should also be used, because there are several other fires that are caused by electrical faults, paperwork, plastic and wood. These fire extinguishers should be used according to the manufacturer's specifications, and as such they ought to be placed strategically in places that are easy to access, but away from hot areas and places adjacent to vats.
- Have a regular maintenance schedule of your fire protection equipment and systems.
- There are several other hazards you may watch out for, such as cracked switch plates and any combustible items that may be lying idle near power sources.
- If a restaurant has large food preparation and cooking facilities, they should be protected using automated wet chemical installations especially for the deep fryers. Fire blankets as well as fire extinguishers made of wet chemicals should be in place to supplement this automated system, and this applies to small facilities too.
- An automated fire alarm system is also an essential installation that can be added to a restaurant. It is designed in a way to monitor the environment for any presence of unwanted fires. Besides alerting people to evacuate and seek emergency forces, the system may also prepare other structures such as the automated fire suppression system to stop further spread of the flames and smoke.
- Emergency lights and exit signs should be an important consideration, especially in areas of the restaurant where staff and customers congregate. Exits signs too should be installed above exit doors, and together with the emergency lights, they should be inspected and serviced manually every month.
- Smoke detectors are very essential in securing a restaurant from fires. Monitored smoke detectors to be precise are very effective because they can be installed using both the wired and wireless technology. If there is a fire in the restaurant, the smoke detector will trip and send signals to a monitoring station if at all you have a monitored alarm system in place. This is especially important when the restaurant is closed, because it guarantees immediate help when people are away.
- A secure restaurant should not miss an efficient fire sprinkler system, one that will ensure the system is in good working state in times of emergency. Fire pumps and back-flow systems have their role to play in fire safety, therefore they need regular checking and maintenance. A professional installation company will run tests on the sprinklers, valves, gauges and piping, to ensure that they are all ready to handle any emergency.
In conclusion, restaurant fire protection does not entail installation of the various safety systems alone, but also regular checking and maintenance. However, your first step is to ensure that the systems and equipment are in place, both for the security of your structures, people and even increased chances of compensation from insurance providers.