Restaurant safety is important for any restaurant owner, manager, employee, and customer. A customer wants to eat at a restaurant where the food is prepared in a safe manner. Less often customers are concerned about the risk of a kitchen fire. For staff and owners however, a kitchen fire could have devastating results in terms of injury and the ability of the business to offer uninterrupted service to customers. To ensure restaurant safety it is important that restaurants take the right steps to guarantee that the kitchen is safe and fire-free. To do that they must learn how to prevent fires from starting in the first place and understand how to put out a grease fire and other forms of kitchen-based fires.
Restaurant Kitchen Safety
Restaurants can be more susceptible to fire and other injury risks than residential kitchens. They are generally busier than home kitchens, and contain numerous electrical cooking equipment that must be properly cared for and maintained. In addition to fire safety, people should be cautious of potential kitchen hazards that are common in busy restaurants such as slips and fall due to spills, and incorrect handling of sharp utensils. Most importantly, all employees who work in the restaurant must behave in a manner that encourages safety.
Safety in the Kitchen: This is an article on restaurant and industrial kitchen safety that is provided by Food Services of America. In addition to fire prevention the article covers safety issues such as preventing slips and falls, injury due to moving heavy loads and handling sharp knives, and burns.
Restaurant and Kitchen Safety Tips: A PDF chart of hazards found in the restaurant kitchens. The chart lists a number of hazards such as housekeeping, knives, proper lifting techniques, and prevention of grease fires. Alongside each of the hazards is a bulleted list of safety tips.
Kitchen/Restaurant Fire Safety – When Fire Strikes!!! A Guide for commercial Kitchen Employees: This is a guide created by the City of Medford Fire and Rescue service. Readers will find the article broken into categories, including prevention, employee attitude, reaction, smoking materials and fire safety, and fire exit drills.
Hospitality – Hotel, Restaurant and Kitchen: The Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology lists kitchen safety links and their descriptions.
Restaurant Fire Safety: This link will take the reader to a page that lists tips about fire safety in restaurants. There is also a link for a downloadable PDF for a restaurant fire safety fact sheet on this page.
Fire Safety – Useful Fire Safety Links: Click on this link for fire safety resources such as government and international resources, organization, and training websites.
OSHA Fire Safety: The United Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration fire safety standards are listed on this page.
Kitchen Fire Prevention
To avoid setting one’s kitchen on fire, it is important to behave in an appropriate manner while cooking. People should never play near the stove, particularly when items are cooking on the stove top. When cooking items using grease or oil, the cook should never walk away and leave the stove unattended. What a person wears also plays a part in preventing fires in the kitchen. Long sleeves, for example, can easily catch fire. Flammable items such as paper or cloth towels should also be kept at a distance away from hot burners. Checking that appliances are functioning properly is also a way of preventing kitchen fires from occurring. Appliances and other electrical cooking equipment should be checked to ensure that plugs are in good condition and that cords are not frayed. Keeping a kitchen clean is also helpful. Wiping up spills and cleaning stoves and hoods will help prevent the build-up of flammable oils and other substances.
Cooking Safety Tips: The National Fire Protection Association lists helpful kitchen fire prevention tips on this page. In addition to tips on preventing fires, the article also lists tips on what to do if there is a cooking fire and includes a PDF tip sheet that may be downloaded.
City of Tallahassee – Kitchen Fire Safety: On this page readers will find fire various prevention tips and tips about what they should do in the event of a fire. Prevention tips involve appliances, what to do when cooking, and general kitchen area fire safety.
Fire Prevention – Kitchen Safety: Clicking on this link will take the reader to a page on the City of Evanston website. On this page the reader will find a list of fire safety tips for the kitchen.
Kitchen Fire Prevention: This PDF brochure lists what it takes to prevent fires in the kitchen, such as keeping the kitchen clean, and cooking habits. A brief paragraph on how to administer first aid on burns is also a part of the document.
Preventing Cooking Fires in the Kitchen: This PDF document explains the common sense steps that can prevent fires, such as not wearing long sleeves near open flames. Kitchen fires statistics are included in this document.
Mid State Fire Prevention Links: Click on this link for a list of fire protection associations and agency links.
Mass.gov Public Safety – Quick Links: Public safety links are listed on this page in alphabetical order. Under “F” the reader will find a number of fire safety and prevention links.
Extinguishing a Kitchen Fire
In the event of a fire, putting it out correctly is crucial to avoid creating a larger blaze and setting the entire kitchen on fire. It is particularly important to know how to put out a grease fire as some methods can make it worse. In the event of a grease fire the best thing to do is to cover the skillet, pan, or other source of fire with a lid or a cookie sheet to smother the flame. Water and flour should never be used to extinguish this type of fire as it can cause it to spread. Baking soda is another method of putting out grease and also other types of kitchen fires. Dry chemical fire extinguishers are also effective at putting out fires but are messy and unsafe for any food that may be nearby.
Fire Safety Fact Sheet – Cooking Safety: This PDF document is in two sections. The first section discusses fire prevention while the second section reviews responding to a cooking fire. The document explains how to put out a stove top fire and how to extinguish a fire in the oven or microwave.
The Wrong Move Can Make a Kitchen Fire Worse: CBS Chicago has an article and video that reviews the proper way to put out grease fires in the kitchen. The article also discusses what not to do.
Extinguishing Kitchen Fires: Click on this link to learn the correct way to put out grease fires within and outside of a pan, and oven fires.
How to Put Out a Kitchen Fire: On this page the reader will find a link to a video on how to put out a grease fire in the kitchen. The article portion of the page explains what happens in the video and why water should not be used on this type of fire.
Why Does Baking Soda Extinguish Fires?: Click this link to read an article that explains how baking soda is helpful in putting out many types of kitchen fires.
Kitchen Grease Fire: The focus of this article is grease fires. It explains what to do and not do in efforts to put out this type of fire.
Public Safety – Fire Safety Links: On this page there is a list of links to websites that educate the public on fires and fire safety.