If you run a restaurant, you know how you need to take proactive steps to keep your business safe from fire. From developing a good evacuation plan to having a fire protection system installed and properly maintained, there are steps restaurant owners should take to keep their businesses safe from fires.
- Develop an evacuation plan. When a group of 119 businesses ewer surveyed, it was discovered that only 35% had any kind of plan for an evacuation in the event of a fire or other crisis. Businesses such as restaurants that have a lot of customers coming and going need to have a plan in place so that the employees can make sure everyone is able to get out of the business in the event of a fire. The more knowledgeable and prepared they are to handle a crisis, like a fire, the better able they will be to stay calm and help make sure everyone can get out of the establishment if there has been a fire.
- Train everyone on your fire protection system equipment. You need everyone to know what to do if there is a fire at your restaurant.
- Have a fire alarm system installed on your property. This is is an essential part of all good fire protection systems. They do a number of things. They alert your staff to fires and let them know that people need to evacuate the area. They can also set off your fire suppression systems and can be responsible for stopping a fire before it does more damage. These systems can also alert outside entities such as the fire department. The sooner they get to you when you have a fire, the more they will be able to prevent serious damage to your business.
- Put in a fire suppression system that is automatic. In more than 50% of all restaurant fires, the fire was caused by the cooking equipment. This means that having a fire suppression system in the kitchen that will release fire suppressing chemicals automatically when a fire is sensed is the best first line fire protection system that you can have in your business. Not only do these systems pump out chemicals to suppress the fire but they will also shut down the power or gas to the equipment in question.
- Schedule regular inspections and maintenance visits for your fire suppression system. You should have your fire protection company come out to your business at least twice each year to take a look at your fire suppression systems checked and have any maintenance that is needed taken care of. The lack of proper maintenance is responsible for failures with chemical fire suppression systems. It is not enough to have the systems installed, they have to be in proper working order. If you have not had this done and you do experience a fire, not following a regular inspection and maintenance plan may invalidate your insurance and leave you responsible for paying for all of the damages.
- Keep portable fire extinguishers on hand. You always need a plan B. Even the best fire suppression systems, that are inspected and maintained as recommended, can fail. If that happens, you will want to have enough portable fire extinguishers around your restaurant to deal with the fire. They should be put in the kitchen, where most fires are started and where the fires that start are going to burn very hot, but also in the dining room. You can talk to the company that handles your fire protection system about the best fire extinguishers to get and the best places in your businesses where they should be placed.
- Have some fire blankets in your kitchen. These can be very helpful at putting out a smaller fire. You may be able to get the fire under control before it sets off your fire suppression system.
- Make sure your exit signs and emergency lights are in working order and are placed properly. You should have exit signs above any doors leading out of your restaurant. Make sure your emergency lights are working by inspecting and performing needed maintenance at least once a month.
Protecting your restaurant from fire is important to you, your customers and your employees.
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