Fire safety for franchises is crucial. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 8,000 structure fires in eating and drinking establishments are reported to U.S. fire departments each year, causing $246 million in property damage.
While cooking equipment was the leading cause in these fires, electrical distribution and heating equipment were each responsible for 9% of fires.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that “Fire safety becomes everyone’s job at a worksite. Employers should train workers about fire hazards in the workplace and about what to do in a fire emergency. This plan should outline the assignments of key personnel in the event of a fire and provide an evacuation plan for workers on the site.”
Read on for tips to implement fire safety plans and tips at your franchise.
Fire Safety for Franchises: Planning
As a business, you are obligated to maintain the fire code requirements of your state and city. Emergency action plans may also be required of your business.
Exits and safety signage are subject to annual inspections. Your local fire department will confirm that submitted, up-to-code seating blueprints are reflected by a business’s interior. The same regulations cover maximum occupancy, aisle widths and more.
When creating an emergency action plan, OSHA requires a plan that:
- Describes the routes for workers to use and procedures to follow.
- Accounts for all evacuated employees.
- Remains available for employee review.
- Includes procedures for evacuating disabled employees.
- Addresses evacuation of employees who stay behind to shut down critical equipment.
- Includes preferred means of alerting employees to a fire emergency.
- Provides for an employee alarm system throughout the workplace.
- Requires an alarm system that includes voice communication or sound signals such as bells, whistles, or horns.
- Makes the evacuation signal known to employees.
- Ensures the provision of emergency training.
- Requires employer review of the plan with new employees and with all employees whenever the plan is changed.
Fire Safety for Franchises: Kitchens
Kitchen fires lead to severe revenue loss, property damage and stoppage of operations.
If your franchise has a kitchen, follow these tips to prevent fires in the kitchen:
- Keep kitchen equipment clean.
- Train staff on proper usage of equipment.
- Have the proper smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Install a fire suppression system that can shut off power and gas to burners and dispense a Class K chemical only where needed.
- Schedule regular testing and maintenance of detectors, extinguishers and systems.
- Schedule regular maintenance on ovens, fryers, gas mains and more.
- Include housekeeping procedures for storage and cleanup of flammable materials and flammable waste.
Fire Safety for Franchises: Electrical and Heating
18% of fires are caused by electrical distribution and heating equipment. Overloaded outlets, defective wiring and overheated equipment are just a few of the many fire threats businesses face.
Implement these tips to reduce the odds of an electrical or heating equipment fire:
- Encourage employees to speak up if they notice electrical hazards, such as frayed wiring.
- Replace electrical cords if cracked or damaged.
- Hire a qualified electrician if repairs are needed.
- Plug major appliances directly into a wall outlet.
- Don’t overload power strips or extension cords.
- Have your furnace inspected each year.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.
- Have a qualified professional install central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
Insurance protection for fires
Even with these fire safety tips implemented, your franchise could still experience a fire.
With Property insurance from Lockton Affinity, you can protect your business from the costs associated with fire damage. Protect your business today!