Restaurant Safety Tips – Fire

No ire image - by Kriss Szkurlatowski

In previous posts we discussed the importance of design on the success of the restaurant. But there is another aspect that many people don’t think about too often: Safety.

We all want to think nothing bad will ever happen but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared for it in case it does. And we do hope it doesn’t.

So here is an important post about an unpleasant subject that we all need to keep in mind at all times, and even more so when restaurants are involved.

Restaurants are some of the most fire hazardous places in the world, especially in the kitchen. The fact that a restaurant is usually a busy place with many costumers makes it even more dangerous.  That’s why it’s very important to install fire extinguishing systems in all restaurants.

The importance of the restaurant seating layout in a case of a fire

If you’re a restaurant owner you must realize that the way you design your restaurant seating layout, as well as the placement of the other restaurant furniture, could be a matter of life and death. First of all, to ensure a safe way out if a fire starts, make absolutely sure that the path to the restaurant’s main door isn’t blocked by anything! You must realize that when a fire breaks loose and the fire alarm starts ringing, people usually panic and seek the way out of the burning structure. Therefore you must ensure a clear, safe path for them to do so!

Wood and Fire don’t mix

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have wood restaurant furniture it only means you need to be careful not to keep wooden furniture close to fire sources. If your layout and design are done properly this is easily achieved and in the long term it might save your restaurant and somebody’s life. Also, make sure that there are no big wooden items in or near the kitchen, and if you have wooden boxes that you use to carry products in and out of the kitchen,  store them is a safe place or outside the restaurant  next to the back door.

The importance of fire extinguishing systems in a restaurant:

In kitchens there is always the risk of fire, and most of it is caused by food that was forgotten on the stove or in the oven and from kitchen towels and rags that were left near an open fire. The biggest risk though, is in the ventilation system of the kitchen.

You see, most restaurants have a special ventilation system in their kitchen that’s meant to get rid of the cooking smells and the fat steams out of the kitchen. With time, fat begins to cover the ventilation system and it can light up and burn very quickly in case of a fire or from heat and smoke that come up during the food preparation. If not cleaned properly and constantly, the ventilation systems could be a source of great danger and might be the cause of a disaster if a fire breaks lose.

So my advice is this:

Make sure you regularly clean and do maintenance on your ventilation system.

Schedule fire drills to all employees (including yourself!) at least 3 times a year and make sure all new employees go through a mini fire drill as soon as they are hired.

Make note of when the smoke detectors batteries need replacing and replace them even if the battery is still working. Never let your smoke detector be turned off!

And finally, make sure there is a clear path from the dining and working areas to the exits.

Now that the bad things are discussed and safety is in the back of our mind you can go back to enjoying your time as a restaurateur with a successful venue and happy, safe customers.

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