Whether grabbing an easy dinner from a takeaway, indulging in fine dining in an a la carte restaurant or having a good old fry up in a café, we all have our favourite eateries. The variety of food to one side, they all have one thing they all have in common – Fire Hazards! In this article, we aim to run through the most common hazards and impart some Fire Safety advice specifically for restaurants.
Fire Hazards In Restaurants
Restaurants of all types are high fire risk due to high cooking temperatures, open flames, flammable liquids and cooking oils. It is current legislation for every UK business to perform a Fire Risk Assessment and to ensure the results are communicated to all staff. The Fire Risk Assessment should be conducted by a competent person and should be reviewed on a regular basis (annually or when there are significant changes like the introduction of new equipment).
Fire Safety for Restaurants
Each restaurant will have different requirements, based upon the outcomes of the Fire Risk Assessment, but as minimum Restaurants should have:
- Smoke & CO2 Alarms
- Fire Extinguishers suitable for the environment and/or a Fire Suppression system
- Fire Blankets
- Portable Appliance Testing for all appliances
- Fixed Wire Testing, otherwise known as ECIR (electrical condition inspection report) should be up to date
- Emergency exits should be kept clear and are clearly labelled, and emergency lights should be tested
- Fire Doors should be kept clear and regularly inspected for damage and wear
These are minimum requirements and should not be taken as a comprehensive list. In addition to these measures there are tasks that every team member should perform to ensure the workplace is safe for all users, like ensuring all cooking equipment is cleaned regularly and grease traps/filters are cleaned out weekly.
London Fire Brigade lists the following as the most common fire risks in restaurants:
- Dirty ducting – if you don’t clean the ducting in your extraction system regularly, you’re at a greater risk of ducting fires
- Poor fire-safe separation between units – this is especially dangerous if you don’t keep your ducting clean. Ducting can pass through residential accommodation above and causing secondary fires.
- Electrical fires – because businesses haven’t tested portable appliances (like kitchen radios or blenders), and because the electrical system itself isn’t up to scratch.
- Electrical lighting – can be placed too close to flammable material, increasing the risk of fire.
- Cooking techniques – overheating of oils used for cooking
- Tumble dryers – food businesses can get through a lot of laundry, and face increased risks, for instance when drying towels overheat in the dryer, or staff members forget to regularly clear lint.
- Outdoor areas and shisha bars – patio heaters and their gas supplies need to be handled carefully, and so do shisha coals.
- Storage and rubbish – we often see blocked escaped routes, and piles of rubbish increasing the risk of potential arson or accidental fires from stray cigarettes.
Help is at Hand
The fire safety regulations can be a bit of a minefield, at FTS we are fully conversant with the latest legislative demands and have been keeping our clients safe since 2006. We work within a variety of industries, from pubs, clubs and restaurants to providing safety testing services to large industrial premises, we even provide fire safety services to a number of Fire Brigades!
We will make sure your business is compliant from the initial Fire Risk Assessment through to conducting the required safety testing and supplying required fire safety equipment and signage. We never advise unnecessary equipment or testing but as our job is to keep you, your staff, your premises and your visitors safe, we do make firm recommendations where we see they are required. We will even remind you when your safety tests are due. To discuss the fire safety in your restaurant call us on 0330 6600264 or email enquir[email protected]
Until next time…. Stay safe!