Prioritizing fire safety in your restaurant is not only a legal requirement but an obligation.

Fire safety must always be at top of mind for any restaurant owner. With busy kitchens, open flames, and a constant flow of customers, the risk of fire dangers are all around. Implementing structured fire safety protocols not only protects your business but also ensures the safety of your staff and customers. Let’s look at a few key areas you must consider when setting up or checking your fire safety protocols.

Kitchen safety

The heart of all restaurants is the kitchen. Within this area lies the highest dangers for fire hazards. To minimalize risks in this area, follow these steps.

Ensure all kitchen equipment, such as grills, ovens, and fryers undergo routine maintenance. Faulty equipment is a major fire hazard so check your equipment regularly, at least every 3 months. Regular checks on this equipment will help mitigate fire risks.

Cooking oils pose a potential risk for fire. Train your staff on the safe use and safe storage of all cooking oils. Keep cooking oils away from any heat sources such as ovens, grills and fryers and use designated containers for proper disposal.

Install a quality fire-suppression system in your restaurant’s kitchen. This includes sprinklers, extinguishers, and hood suppression systems. Regularly inspect and test your system, at least once every 6 months to ensure they are in working order. If you are not sure how to properly test your fire suppression system contact a professional.

Staff training

Having a well-trained staff is a very important part of any fire safety plan. Making sure they know what to do in case of an emergency is crucial for the safety of the property, staff, and customers. Consider these following steps to get your staff up to speed on fire safety protocols.

Conduct regular fire safety training for all staff members and crew. Ensure they are familiar with the locations of fire extinguishers; all emergency exits and emergency evacuation routes. Also, train your staff on using fire extinguishers and other firefighting equipment such as manual levers for fire suppression systems.

Hold regular practices for emergency evacuation drills, at least once every 6 months. Doing these exercises will help staff respond quickly in case of an actual emergency. Clearly mark the exit routes and ensure all exit doors are always unobstructed.

Assign certain staff members as part of the emergency response team. These staff members must be trained to take charge during an emergency, helping to guide others to safety and promptly contacting emergency officials.

Restaurant’s infrastructure

The layout of the restaurant is another important thing all employees must understand. By knowing the layout of the establishment, staff can easily get to exits and guide customers out of the building safely.

Ensure all your electrical equipment and wiring are up to code and regularly inspected, at least once every 6 months. Faulty wiring can lead to electrical fires. Train staff to report any electrical issues as soon as they are identified. These can be frayed wires on a slicer to a faulty light switch.

Customer safety

The safety of your patrons must always be at the top of the list. While preventative measures must take precedent to prevent fires from happening, having protocols in place in case of a fire is equally as important.

Mark all exits and make sure they are well-lit. If a fire does break out, patrons should be able to easily find the exits and their way to safety. Check your signs every 6 months to ensure they are functioning properly.

Have your restaurant regularly inspected by a professional at least every 6 months. This includes checking for faulty wires, proper identification of emergency exits, and ensuring fire safety equipment like fire extinguishers are working properly. Promptly address any issues identified by the inspector during the inspection.

Prioritizing fire safety in your restaurant is not only a legal requirement but an obligation. By using these tips and creating a culture of safety within your restaurant, you are protecting your business, staff, and patrons. Having a proactive approach to fire safety will make a world of difference in case of an emergency.

Steve Lockwood is the Owner of Mountain State Fire Protection LLC, a Mesa, Arizona business that offers fire-equipment inspections, sales, service, and repairs. Steve has worked in the fire-safety industry for over three decades and has helped hundreds of commercial businesses meet fire safety regulations.

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