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Restaurant Fire Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Restaurant fires are quite common in the news, no doubt because they are commercial entities with a kitchen that is almost constantly active. As a result the opportunity for an unexpected fire goes way up. Restaurant fires normally start in the kitchen, although they can begin in other places and depending on the training and experience of the kitchen staff, the fires can either be quickly knocked down or become serious conflagrations.
Restaurant fires are preventable through proper education and preparation. Restaurant structures should be built according to local ordinances that pertain to fire with ample ventilation, emergency alarms, lighting, and well-marked exits. Fire retardant materials should be used on as many items located within the establishment as possible and proper evacuation codes should be followed in the kitchen and dining areas, such as having a given amount of evacuation space per number of tables available.
All appliances and other operating units within the restaurantís kitchen area should be kept in good operating condition, with no frayed or worn power cords and no clogging or waste buildup that may cause the units to overheat. The kitchen should be well ventilated, allowing heat and smoke to escape through ventilation ducts. Flammable material such as butane or propane gas should be properly stored when not in use, and correctly connected when they are in use.
All fire alarms should have fresh batteries and be in good working order, with sprinklers or other fire suppression systems installed to take care of any fire that may occur before it has the chance to grow and spread into other areas of the establishment. Fire extinguishers should be readily available at multiple locations with all employees trained on where they are and how to use them.
Exits should be kept free and clear of any obstructions and exit signs should be well illuminated at all times. Emergency exits should remain unlocked and easy to open at all times during business hours.
Similarly, employees should be trained on proper 911 protocols since every second counts in an emergency like a fire. Evacuation plans should also be in place, with employees familiar with the drill and knowing where to meet outside in order to get an accurate head count. Manager should be given the duty of accounting for all personnel, as well as coordinating with the local fire department to let them know where the fire is located and if anyone is not accounted for.
Stored items need to be orderly and neatly packed away. Clutter is one of the main causes of fire problems as well as one of the more notorious impediments to a successful evacuation. Make sure that stored items are not placed into any configuration that might end up trapping an employee, or making it difficult for them to find their way out.
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