Now that pandemic lockdowns are pretty much over, customer influx in restaurants is definitely heating up in the Bay Area. San Francisco, one of the top food cities in the world, has over 4,000 restaurants. That’s about 1 Bay Area restaurant for every 100 individuals!
Of course, that also means 4,000 possible fire hazards. Since there is cooking being done, there are always fires. And the majority of restaurant fires happen in the kitchen! Open flames, induction cookers with hot surfaces and deep fryers combined with the presence of flammable materials, full grease traps, and the frenzy of activity and clutter inside the kitchen are ingredients for a fire accident waiting to happen.
Any single fire accident can result in millions of dollars worth of property damage, along with serious injuries and the loss of lives.
If you’re a restaurant owner, what fire protection measures should you take to ensure the safety of your employees and your clients in case a fire does break out? Read on for our eight tips (in no particular order) to protect your restaurant and its occupants!
1. Have clearly marked fire exits.
In the event of an immediate evacuation due to a fire, one of the most important measures is to have exits clearly marked and accessible to customers, service crew, and kitchen staff. As much as possible, there must be more than one exit for customers in the dining area and for kitchen crew in the kitchen area.
Make sure that exit signs are visible, even in the event of thick smoke filling the area. Make sure as well that the exits will not be blocked by tables, chairs, kitchen equipment, and stored ingredients to allow people to quickly get out of the establishment. And of course, make sure that the doors are easy to open in case of any emergency.
2. Have a good fire alarm system.
Having fire alarm systems in restaurants is a good fire protection measure in a restaurant. It allows both customers and kitchen crews to know that there is a fire, and respond by vacating the premises while the fire is still small.
Fire alarm systems may be a combination of any of the following:
- Smoke detectors
- A loud fire alarm
- Heat detectors
- Strobe lights for the hard of hearing or deaf people
These devices help detect fires, sound the alarm, and send out an emergency call to the fire department.
Of course, make sure that your restaurant has a sufficient power supply to power not only your appliances and equipment but also your fire alarm system!
3. Make a fire safety checklist.
Make fire prevention and protection part of your restaurant’s daily routine operations. That means making sure of the following:
- Your equipment is running well, which lessens the probability of fire accidents
- There are no fire hazards lying around in the kitchen
- Fire exit lights are well lit, and fire exit doors are easy to open
- Anything else you can think of that could be the cause of accidental fires
4. Ensure that your kitchen has proper ventilation.
Since most fires start in the kitchen, it is imperative that the risks and hazards of kitchen fires are addressed. Ensuring proper ventilation, especially for grease-laden vapors is necessary to minimize the risk of a fire breaking out. Remember, with proper ventilation, heat is less likely to be trapped for long in the kitchen. That means sudden fires will be less probable. In short, don’t scrimp on this!
5. Conduct regular inspections of your fire extinguishers.
The proper maintenance and monthly inspection of fire extinguishers is required by the OSHA and NFPA. This is to ensure that the equipment is in order. Make sure the gauge is full, the hose is in place and still structurally good, and the pin is secure.
Most importantly, remember that kitchen extinguishers must be K-class. These are extinguishers that are especially designed for grease fires, and are different from the regular extinguishers found in other areas of the restaurant. You cannot replace K-class kitchen extinguishers with regular extinguishers.
6. Have your kitchen hood cleaned regularly.
While regulations only require kitchen hoods to be cleaned twice a year, a more frequent cleaning cycle is desirable. Frequent cleaning prevents the build-up of grease and debris in the kitchen hood. This in turn will minimize the likelihood of fire originating from the kitchen hood.
7. Hold fire safety training for your employees.
Employee training on fire prevention and safety is an important measure. When a fire breaks out in your restaurant, employees should already know what to do to avoid panic among restaurant patrons. Assigning specific roles to restaurant personnel is a good way of covering all the bases in case of a fire. They must be aware of the evacuation plan and where to lead customers so that they are all safe. A staff member can also be assigned to call 911 once a fire starts while another one can be assigned to turn off the gas valve or kill all electric power.
Employees must also be trained to use fire extinguishers to at least help stave off the fire while waiting for the fire department to arrive.
8. Have your alarm system inspected regularly.
Your fire alarm system will not be of any use to you if it is not working properly. Make sure to have it inspected regularly by fire alarm experts, whether it is just a fire alarm that’s loud, or if it include sprinklers, smoke detectors, heat detectors, and so on.
And of course, always secure the services of a licensed technician for repair or maintenance work to be safe! You don’t want to be inspected by just anyone – that will put your business and lives at risk, right?
Keep your restaurant protected with Fire Alarm Testing Inc.
Your restaurant business should be about great food, comfortable ambiance, and the safety and protection of your customers from unexpected events such as a fire. Minimize the risk of accidental fires by following our tips and of course by complying with local, state, and federal codes, standards or regulations.
If you need professional assistance for fire inspection in the Bay Area, we at Fire Alarm Testing Inc. may just be what you are looking for. Our team of highly skilled and trained Bay Area fire inspection experts are armed with the latest equipment to help protect your business through fire alarm testing and monitoring. We are proud of our reliable track record in ensuring the reliability and worthiness of the fire alarm systems that we test and monitor.
As a California fire inspection company, we take your restaurant’s safety and that of your customers to heart. We know how important your business is to you. Allow us to take care of your business by ensuring its fire safety and protection through a working and reliable fire alarm system with our expert testing and monitoring services.
We are here for you. Give us a call and let us work together to keep your restaurant business safe and protected from fire.
We look forward to working with you soon!