According to data from a National Fire Protection Association report, around 8,000 restaurants report a fire each year. These incidents can be catastrophic, as they are responsible for nearly $250 million in direct property damage annually.
At Koorsen Fire and Security, we understand the budget limitations that many restaurant owners face. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants and bars have been some of the hardest-hit businesses, as public health restrictions and declining revenue forced many establishments to cut back on costs, reduce staff, limit their hours of operation or even close their doors entirely.
These budget limitations prevent many restaurants from installing new, expensive equipment and systems in their kitchens. The good news is that restaurant owners can affordably reduce the fire risk on their property by properly training their staff to prevent and respond to such emergencies.
Essential Fire Safety Training for Staff
In order to prevent fires, staff members should be trained to do the following:
- Thoroughly clean grease: To reduce fire risk, thoroughly clean any grease off of exhaust hoods, fryers, grills, vents, filters, walls, and other work surfaces.
- NEVER smoke cigarettes in or near storage areas.
- Properly store sensitive materials: Flammable liquids should be stored in tightly-sealed, flame-resistant containers. In addition, all flammable liquids and products (i.e., paper and linens) should be kept in a well-ventilated area far away from any source of flames.
- Use chemical solutions properly by only mixing chemicals if directed to and only using chemicals in well-ventilated areas.
- Properly clean wood and charcoal ovens daily. Remove ashes daily, storing them in metal containers 10 feet or more from any buildings or combustible materials, if possible.
If a fire breaks out, staff members should be trained to do the following:
- Use a fire extinguisher the right way: PASS: pull out the pin, aim at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle, and sweep from side to side over the base of the fire as you slowly approach.
- If a grease fire breaks out, staff should not attempt to put it out with water, as the grease could splash and potentially expand the surface area of the flames. Instead, use a fire extinguisher.
- Turn off gas and electrical power to prevent the fire from escalating.
- Evacuate in case of emergency. All staff should know basic evacuation measures and proper exit strategies. At least one staff member should be the evacuation manager, who is in charge of calling 911 and instructing all staff and customers to exit the building safely.
Keep Your Commercial Kitchen Safe
Restaurant owners should put their staff through strict fire safety training, but workers will be at a disadvantage if they operate in a kitchen with an outdated fire suppression system. We recognize that most restaurants have to work within tight budget constraints, which is why our commercial kitchen fire suppression specialists work to design systems that address your kitchen's unique needs within a reasonable budget.
Contact Koorsen today if you have any questions or need an inspection, a repair, or a new fire suppression system.