When it comes to restaurants fire safety protocols often take a back seat to pushing out food and servicing the customers. However, neglecting these important issues can be dangerous when it comes to keeping your employees and patrons safe. Fires can start quite easily in restaurants so making sure your fire safety protocols are in place and being taken seriously is key. Let’s look at four areas all restaurant owners and managers must pay attention to when it comes to fire safety.

Maintaining proper kitchen operations

The kitchen is the heart of all restaurants. It is also the main area a fire is likely to start. Have employees regularly maintain kitchen equipment. Clean fryers, stoves, and exhaust systems at least once a week if not more often to prevent grease buildup. Train staff on fire prevention techniques and how to put out any fires that may occur. Hold training sessions at least every 6 months to be sure everyone is up to date on proper maintenance techniques and fire prevention protocols.

Electrical appliance safety

Many electrical appliances exist in commercial kitchens. Meat slicers, microwaves, blenders, and much more are used extensively every day. Keep your appliances in proper working order. Have employees inspect these devices at least once a month. Check for frayed wiring, loose connections, or any other malfunctions. If any issues arise with your electrical devices tag them and put them away so they are not used until they can be fixed or replaced. Also, invest in high quality surge protectors and be sure all outlets are properly grounded to prevent electrical fires.

Evacuation planning

All restaurants need to have an evacuation plan for employees and customers. Keep exits clear of debris, display evacuation maps in highly visible locations, and designate assembly points outside of the restaurant for all staff members and patrons. Train your staff on the restaurants evacuation plan and update your plans if any additions are built onto the building. Hold fire safety meetings where you go over the evacuation plan at least every 6 months so everyone is up to date on how to escape the building in case of a fire.

Fire suppression systems

Taking preventative measures is always better than waiting for something to happen. Fire suppression systems include sprinklers and fire extinguishers and are the first line of defense in a fire emergency. Have your systems regularly checked by a fire safety professional to make sure all systems are in working order. If there is an issue with the sprinklers you must have them repaired immediately. Check your fire extinguishers to make sure they are up to date and charged. All fire extinguishers have a tag on them showing you the last time they were checked. Look at the gauge on the extinguisher to be sure it is charged in case of a fire. By equipping your restaurant with proper fire suppression systems and keeping them working properly will go a long way in protecting your property, staff, and customers if a fire breaks out.

Fire safety protocols are not guidelines that should or should not be followed. They are in place for a reason, to keep your property, staff, and customers safe during a fire emergency. Being prepared, staying vigilant and keeping up to date with safety standards is key for fire prevention in restaurants. Following these guidelines will help keep your restaurant in compliance with all laws and help prevent potentially devasting fires at your establishment.

Steve Lockwood is the owner of Mountain State Fire Protection LLC in Phoenix, Arizona. Mountain State Fire Protection specializes in premier fire equipment and comprehensive fire protection services.

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