800-220-6547 matt@imc.cc

A fire can devastate your business, leading to lost revenues and even permanent closure. But there are steps you can take to prevent fires and minimize the damage. To help prevent kitchen fires The National Restaurant Association recommends the following staff training.

  1. Find and use a fire extinguisher appropriately.  An acronym you may find helpful is PAST – pull out the pin, aim at the base, make a sweeping motion, (be) ten feet away.
  1. Clean up the grease. Cleaning exhaust hoods is especially important, since grease buildup can restrict airflow. Be sure to hire a qualified contractor that will clean on a regular basis the entire hood system which includes the hood, filters, plenum, ductwork and fan. Make sure your staff also cleans the walls and work surfaces; ranges, fryers, broilers, grills and convection ovens; vents and filters.
  1. Never throw water on a grease fire. Water tossed into grease will cause grease to splatter, spread and likely erupt into a larger fire.
  1. Remove ashes from wood- and charcoal-burning ovens at least once a day. Store outside in metal containers at least 10 feet from any buildings or combustible materials.
  1. Make sure cigarettes are out before dumping them in a trash receptacle. Never smoke in or near storage areas.
  1. Store flammable liquids properly. Keep them in their original containers or puncture-resistant, tightly sealed containers. Store containers in well-ventilated areas away from supplies, food, food-preparation areas or any source of flames.
  1. Tidy up to avoid fire hazards. Store paper products, linens, boxes and food away from heat and cooking sources. Properly dispose of soiled rags, trash, cardboard boxes and wooden pallets at least once a day.
  1. Use chemical solutions properly. Use chemicals in well-ventilated areas, and never mix chemicals unless directions call for mixing. Immediately clean up chemical spills.
  1. Be prepared: Have an emergency plan. If a fire breaks out in your restaurant, your staff must take control of the situation and lead customers to safety.
  1. Be prepared to power down. Train at least one worker per shift how to shut off gas and electrical power in case of emergency.
  1. Have an evacuation plan. Designate one staff member per shift to be evacuation manager. That person should be in charge of calling 911, determining when an evacuation is necessary and ensuring that everyone exits the restaurant safely.  Ensure your staff know where the closest exits are, depending on their location in the restaurant.  Remember that the front door is an emergency exit.
  1. Offer emergency training. Teach new employees about evacuation procedures and the usage of fire-safety equipment. Give veteran staff members a refresher course at least annually.