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Restaurant fire safety

Fact

Restaurants, cafes and other eating establishments are workplaces that are at a high risk from fire. This is due to the environment with the potential of combustibles in close proximity to hot surfaces and open flames. The most common fires involve unattended cooking, overheating of cooking oil or fat, and the ignition of fatty residues within range hoods and ducting.

Use this checklist, along with your Business Continuity Plan to prepare your restaurant in the event of a fire.

Tips for safer restaurants

  • Train your staff in maintaining clear fire exits, workplace fire safety, evacuation procedures and how to call Triple Zero (000). See In an Emergency Call Triple Zero (000) for more information.
  • Maintain routine cleaning and inspection of kitchen range hoods, ducting, and grease fans. Approximately 80% of food preparation establishments hire contractors to maintain grease filters etc.
  • Disposal of combustible waste products must be included in your maintenance program, ensuring rubbish and recyclables are secured in appropriate containers with close fitting lids.
  • Ensure all cookers/fryers etc. have thermostats fitted, are serviced and cleaned as recommended by manufacturers.
  • Don't store combustible liquids under or near cookers/fryers or blocking exits.
  • Ensure that all equipment is turned off when the business is unattended (this does not include gas pilot lights).
  • It is recommended that larger cooking and food preparation facilities are protected by automatic wet chemical systems for their deep fryers. Wet chemical fire extinguishers and fire blankets should also supplement this system, and also applies to smaller facilities. Ensure that the appropriate fire extinguishers and fire blankets are installed in an easily accessible location and not near vats and hot plates. They must be in good working order and checked as per Australian Standards.

Continuity tips

  • Workers who may have to use fire equipment should be trained in how to use it and know what type of fire extinguishers to use for different types of fires. If you feel your staff require training or you need assistance with emergency procedures, contact Commercial Fire Safety Training [external link] on 1800 78 78 48.
  • Develop a Business Continuity Plan to ensure that your business may recover following the impact of a workplace fire. Always ensure that your business has sufficient fire insurance coverage.

In an Emergency Call Triple Zero (000)

A collaboration of Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Rural Fire Service