With so much to take into account when running your restaurant, thinking about what you’d do in the event of a fire is probably the last thing on your mind. However, with so much going on in the kitchen and the potential for so many fire hazards, it’s important to adopt a few fire safety protocols to minimise risk and keep everyone safe.
Here are just a few fire safety tips for restaurant owners:
Remember the basics
Some of the most basic fire safety rules you probably learnt as a child are still applicable when protecting your business from fire.
For example, it’s important to have a fire alarm fitted, keep fire escape routes free from obstructions and keep flammables and combustibles away from sources of ignition.
Carry out sufficient fire risk assessments
Don’t underestimate the importance of a thorough fire risk assessment. By inspecting your premises with a fine tooth comb and identifying any potential risks, you can protect both staff and customers while also reducing the likelihood of costly damages to your business.
If you’re carrying out a fire risk assessment yourself, not only do you need to identify potential risks, you also need to keep a record of your findings and set preventative measures in place.
It may be more time and cost effective to seek the support of an experienced health and safety consultant. By doing so, you’ll be able to focus on what you do best – running your business, while a fire safety expert identifies potential problem areas and helps you make the necessary changes.
Keep your kitchen clean and tidy
Keeping your kitchen clean and tidy plays a crucial part in fire safety. Not only is it easier for workers to escape from a tidy kitchen in the event of a fire, there’s a smaller chance of a fire breaking out in the first place. After all, clutter can make it difficult for staff to operate in a safe and efficient manner while also giving potential fires more fuel.
Regularly inspect cooking equipment to ensure it’s clean and well maintained. Failure to keep equipment in full working order and identify any potentially dangerous mechanical faults could cause a fire.
Inadequate cleaning of ducting is one of the most common causes of significant fires in kitchens. Ducting should be cleaned in line with TR19 guidelines that have been compiled by the Building Engineering Services Association. It is good practice for duct cleaning contractors to provide before and after photographs. If a contractor advises that further access hatches are required, it’s important to follow their recommendation.