Fire Protection for Houston Area Restaurants
If you own or manage a restaurant, you have a unique challenge to keep your employees and patrons safe from fire. Between 2006 and 2012, about 7,640 restaurant fires broke out per year, reports the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These fires resulted in an average of two civilian deaths, 115 civilian injuries and $246 million in property damage per year.
Fire Risks in Houston Restaurants
The NFPA states that 57 percent of restaurant fires are caused by cooking equipment. Open flames, hot surfaces, grease and flammable cooking oil all add fuel to a potential fire. Poor habits such as neglecting grease traps, allowing the kitchen to become dirty and storing flammable materials improperly can increase the risk.
Houston restaurant fires can also start outside the kitchen from malfunctioning heating equipment (10 percent), electrical and lighting equipment (7 percent), smoking materials (7 percent), and arson (5 percent).
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How to Mitigate Fire Risk in Houston Restaurants
As a restaurant owner or manager, you must take fire mitigation seriously. Commercial kitchens pose a serious fire threat, so follow these tips to mitigate risk and help keep your employees, customers and building safe from fire.
Install and Maintain Fire Protection Equipment
- Fire suppression systems are the most important part of Houston restaurant fire protection. They activate automatically to suppress the intense flames that can break out in commercial kitchens, saving lives and limiting property damage as a result.
- Fire sprinklers are important for protecting other areas of your restaurant. When installed properly, sprinklers can often extinguish fires before emergency responders arrive.
- Fire extinguishers put firefighting power in your employees’ hands. Make sure you install Class K fire extinguishers in the kitchen area to handle grease fires.
- Fire alarm systems (featuring smoke detectors, pull stations, strobe lights, sirens and other components) alert restaurant patrons of the danger so they can evacuate. An up-to-code fire alarm system is crucial for keeping your Houston restaurant safe from fire.
While selecting and installing the proper fire protection equipment is vitally important, you can’t forget to maintain the equipment in the coming years. Without regular inspections and testing from a qualified company, you could be left without a functioning fire suppression system when you need it most. Make fire suppression system maintenance a yearly priority, or as required for different types of equipment according to Houston fire codes.
Train Your Restaurant Staff
First, teach them to maintain a clean, orderly kitchen to prevent a fire in the first place. This means:
- Clean all ovens and grilling surfaces regularly.
- Clean vent hoods of grease and grime quarterly for high-volume cooking operations (more or less frequent cleaning may be required, depending on your kitchen’s use).
- Wear appropriate clothing (roll up long sleeves, tie hair back and wear aprons to keep loose clothing away from cooking surfaces).
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Secure the premises at night to prevent intruders.
- Clean up high traffic areas to ensure a clean evacuation route if necessary.
Then, teach your employees how to respond if a fire breaks out in the restaurant:
- Activate the nearest pull station to alert everyone in the building to evacuate.
- Never throw water on a grease fire.
- Use a fire extinguisher only if the flames are relatively small and contained.
- Stop, drop and roll if clothes or hair catches on fire.
- Evacuate and let the automatic fire suppression system do its job.
For all your Houston restaurant fire protection needs, please contact Kauffman Co. online or call (713) 893-1090. We offer everything you need to safeguard your business from fire, including equipment installation, maintenance and fire extinguisher training for your employees.
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