If you are the manager or owner of a restaurant, you are responsible for the safety of your customers and employees, and you need to make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions to prevent fire hazards in your establishment.
In this article, we’ll explore the common causes of restaurant fires, as well as the protective measures you can implement to prevent fires in both the kitchen and dining area of your restaurant.
In order to prevent a fire emergency in your restaurant, it helps to identify the causes of restaurant fires. Here are the top 5 risks that could start a fire in your restaurant.
Common Causes of Restaurant Fires
The area which presents the most risk in a restaurant is, of course, the kitchen. However, you might be surprised to find out that the cause of this is the inadequate maintenance of kitchen equipment.
Substances used to cook with, such as oil and grease can build up in areas that don’t receive an adequate level of cleaning. Not only is this unhygienic, but it is also a serious fire risk.
Appliances such as deep-fat fryers, grills, hobs and ovens are all places where a dangerous amount of grease can build up and cause an unseen hazard, especially in places which are hard to reach.
Make sure you give the nooks and crannies of your kitchen a deep clean regularly to tackle the build-up of grease.
Depending on the type of cuisine you serve, your restaurant may allow customers personal use of pieces of tableside equipment such as grills and BBQs.
While these add a unique selling point to your restaurant, their use of propane gas mean that they also present quite a significant risk. These pieces of equipment are often left to the customer, and unsupervised this can lead to a fire emergency; always supervise customers if they’re using heating equipment.
Dining Area Decoration
While you may be trying to achieve a certain aesthetic inside your restaurant, it’s worth noting that another common cause of restaurant fires is decoration placed around the customer dining area.
Items such as candles and lanterns used to create ambience are often placed on top of wooden furniture and table cloths and are seen as harmless, but left unattended they can easily start a fire.
Open Restaurant Kitchens
An open restaurant kitchen refers to the layout where the inside of the kitchen is visible from the customer dining area. This feature is appealing to customers because they can watch their food being prepared, and this trend has increased in popularity in recent years.
However, due to the absence of fire doors or walls, it means that in the event of an emergency, there is nothing to separate the customers from a fire that has started in the kitchen.
Not only does this present a risk to customers, significantly reducing the time they have to evacuate the restaurant, but it also means the possibility of increased damage to the building as fires aren’t contained as well.
Faulty Electrical Wiring
A kitchen contains a lot of equipment and appliances and this presents multiple risks if not regularly checked. For example, if your restaurant has been in operation for a long time, you need to check for old or faulty wiring from overuse.
If your restaurant is based in an old building, there’s a chance that the old wiring can struggle with the voltage needed to power modern appliances.
How to Prevent Restaurant Fires
Now that you are aware of the aspects of your restaurant that you need to keep a watchful eye on, here’s our top 4 fire safety tips to help you prevent a blaze at your restaurant.
Fire Safety Basics
We’re sure that you are already familiar with some of the measures you can take in your restaurant to help prevent a fire, but you need to make sure that they are in place and working, and that your employees are aware and following protocol.
Fire alarm systems are a must have item. In an emergency, every second counts, and these automatic systems are designed to alert your customers and your staff early enough to give to give them time to evacuate.
If there are fire doors on the premises, you need to ensure that they’re always closed. If not, a fire can quickly get out of hand.
It never hurts to make a checklist to make sure you have all of these precautions in place; you may be missing something that could save someone’s life. A fire safety checklist will also help you to keep everything in line in the long term.
Maintenance of Fire Safety Equipment
You may have all of the necessary equipment, but is it working?
There’s no use having a smoke alarm if the batteries have run out, or the detection system as a whole has an unidentified fault. Equally, you need to make sure than any fire extinguishers you have available are positioned in the areas when you would need them the most. You don’t want to have to run through several rooms to retrieve an extinguisher when the fire is in the kitchen, after all.
The Importance of Fire Alarm Testing, Servicing & Maintenance >
Regular Maintenance of Kitchen Equipment and Appliances
Makes sure that all the equipment in your kitchen is safe to use. You can do this by having all of your appliances checked regularly by a professional. For example, electrical appliances need to be PAT tested. You also need to look out for worn or damaged wires that could cause a spark.
It’s also important that maintenance is kept up to date. It’s no use getting your appliances checked once in a blue moon, because you never know when damage can occur. Regular testing saves lives, even if it’s a little inconvenient.
Fire Safety Systems from Sovereign Fire and Security
At Sovereign Fire and Security, we don’t believe in taking shortcuts when it comes to fire safety, and neither should you.
With almost 30 years of experience, you can rely on our end-to-end fire safety solutions to protect you and your restaurant. From design through to installation, we provide bespoke solutions for the hospitality sector.
To find out more about our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today.
Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Fire Detection Systems