Fire Safety & Prevention

 

Prevention

 

  • Keep up with regular maintenance of all electrical equipment.
  • Be vigilant about fire hazards, such as frayed wiring, ungrounded outlets/plugs, dust/grease buildup, or combustible items near heat or power sources.
  • Adequately train staff to be aware of fire prevention measures, such as:

    - Using flammable liquids in well-ventilated areas away from heat

    - Not smoking near storage areas

    - Following directions when using combustible chemicals

    - Keeping paper products stored away from heat sources

    - Regularly cleaning grease from work surfaces, ranges, fryers, ovens, hoods, etc.

 

 

Preparedness

 

  • Be prepared if a fire breaks out by planning ahead:
  • Purchase adequate fire suppression equipment for your operation
  • Create an evacuation plan for your establishment and ensure all employees are knowledgeable about it, including a gathering point to meet after evacuation
  • Train employees how to shut off gas and electric
  • Properly insure your establishment:Insure the full value of your operation (get an appraisal if necessary)
  • Consider business-interruption insurance to cover lost revenue until the operation is able to resume
  • Separate policies may be required for things not normally covered under a restaurant’s insurance policy, such as cash
  • Make sure your insurance policy complies with current municipal codes

 

 

Food Safety After a Fire

 

Fire-Fighting Chemicals

While cookware can be washed after exposure to toxic fire-fighting chemicals, food cannot and should be discarded – this includes food stored in the open air, like fruits and vegetables, or stored in permeable containers.

 

Canned goods or sealed jars (not exposed to heat) can be decontaminated by washing in strong detergent, soaking in a bleach solution for 15 minutes, and then rinsing well.

 

Heat

Heat from a fire can compromise the quality and safety of food in cans or jars – the heat can activate food spoilage bacteria or cause the containers to rupture.

 

Fumes

Toxic fumes released from burning materials can contaminate any food stored in the open air, such as vegetables or fruit.  They can also penetrate the packaging of food stored in plastic wrap, cardboard, or other permeable packaging.  Refrigerated or frozen foods can also become compromised if the unit’s seal isn’t airtight.

 

Sources:

 

“Fires and Food Safety” USDA FSIS: www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/emergency-preparedness/fires-and-food-safety/CT_Index

 

National Restaurant Association (NRA): www.restaurant.org/Manage-My-Restaurant/
Operations/Back-of-House/Fire-Prevention-101-The-Basics-on-Restaurant-Fire

 

National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA): www.nfpa.org