You can have state-of-the-art fire suppression systems, brand new kitchen hoods, and portable fire extinguishers all over your restaurant kitchen, but if you haven’t properly trained your staff in the rules of fire safety, you’re still risking your business.
There are a few very important things to train your staff on how to prevent fires and how to put them out:
- Everyone in the house needs to know how to find and use a fire extinguisher properly. It may seem simple, but in a panic, people forget. The acronym PASS is helpful:
P – Pull out the safety pin
A – Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
S – Squeeze the trigger completely and consistently
S – Sweep, make a sweeping motion
- Daily cleaning of the exhaust hoods, any grease on tables, walls, and floors, ranges and fryers, ovens, vents, and filters is crucial.
Also be sure to clean up any ashes from wood and charcoal burning ovens at least once a day, depending on use. It should be emptied into metal cans and stored outdoors, no less than 10 feet from the building.
- NEVER throw water on a grease fire. Again, this may seem like common sense for any chef, but it’s an important reminder to make. Water will cause the fire to spread.
- Store flammable liquids properly and in their original containers, tightly sealed. Ensure that they’re in a ventilated area away from any source of heat.
- Be clean and organized, especially with paper products and other flammable items. Have a defined storage area, and be sure to tidy it up throughout the day as needed. A ‘forgotten’ roll of paper towels left on the side of a grill could go up in flames in no time.
- Make sure to use care when using cleaning chemicals. Rinse well (if needed) and wipe dry, and then store everything away from heat or flame. Most commercial cleaning liquids, especially for cutting kitchen grease, are loaded with flammable components, and should be used in a ventilated area with all flames off.
With a little training, maybe even some reminders posted in your kitchen, you can begin and end each day knowing your staff is fully equipped with the knowledge they need to prevent fires from ruining your restaurant.