What can I do to prevent fires in my takeaway business?
When it comes to preventing fires, a takeaway business poses extra risks and challenges. This is due to the nature of the business and the equipment used. However, fire safety, prevention and protection must be a top priority for any takeaway business owner. You will need to develop a fire prevention strategy to keep your customers, your staff and of course your premises fire safe. Your job is to control and minimise the risks and maintain effective emergency procedures.
In this blog, we look at why fire protection for your takeaway business should be a priority, what you can do to reduce fire risks and what fire prevention to consider.
- Why should protecting your takeaway from fire be a priority?
- What is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and how does it apply to your takeaway business?
- How to reduce fire risks at your takeaway
- Fire prevention and fire precautions for your takeaway
- What insurance should you consider for your takeaway business for fire protection
Why should protecting your takeaway from fire be a priority?
- You are putting lives at risk
- You have legal obligations to adhere to – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
- You need to complete a Fire Risk Assessment
- Your insurance may be invalid
- Most businesses do not recover from a fire
What is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005, came into force in 2006 to consolidate existing fire safety laws for England and Wales. Scotland is covered under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.
How does it apply to your takeaway business?
Under the order, as the owner of the takeaway business, you will be responsible for taking the necessary steps to protect the people who are using your takeaway premises from the risk of fire. You will be required to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment to identify any possible risks and put in place preventive and protective measures to reduce or remove those risks. You will also be responsible for ensuring you have ways of alerting people if a fire starts and for providing escape routes so that customers and staff can safely exit the building.
How to reduce fire risks at your takeaway
It’s not surprising that the most common causes of fires in takeaways are related to cooking flames and flammable cooking materials. Fires can spread quickly if the flames get into kitchen ducts and exhaust systems, which will fuel and fan the flames.
For fire prevention at your takeaway premises, carry out the following:
- Deep clean grease traps frequently
- Install ducting correctly and clean regularly
- Check for gas leaks by smell, the presence of yellow/orange flames and extinguished pilot lights
- Check the electrical system regularly including wiring, sockets, switches and plugs
- Test and maintain electrical items including ovens, microwaves, hobs, mixers, toasters and kettles
- Check lighting and make sure it isn’t placed too close to flammable materials
- Maintain and clean oven hoods
- Ensure stock, boxes, cartons, ingredients etc. are stored correctly
- Turn off appliances at the end of the day
- Ensure staff do not wear loose clothing
Fire prevention and fire precautions for your takeaway
Keeping your takeaway premises safe from fire will be time-consuming and there will be costs involved. If a fire breaks out, you need to ensure that staff are trained in the fire safety procedures, including who to contact and how to exit the building safely and as quickly as possible.
However careful we are, there is always a risk that a fire will break out. By installing fire alarms, you are protecting your staff and customers during opening hours, even late into the night, but also the surrounding property of your premises. You should fit fire alarms and ensure they are checked regularly.
There are different materials and fluids which can be found in your takeaway business, for example cooking oils and equipment. The appropriate fire extinguishers should be installed in your takeaway. You may need more than one type and depending on the size of your premises you may require more than one extinguisher.
You should also keep them regularly serviced. There are fire protection companies out there who will be able to assist you in ensuring you have the right type and number for your business as well as carry out servicing.
Fire doors are designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke so that people can evacuate safely and save lives. It is so easy to be tempted to prop open a fire door to help with air flow and movement around the premises, but they will only protect your business if they remain closed.
Fire escape routes
Ensure fire escape routes have clear signage and consider installing emergency lighting to guide staff and customers to leave the premises safely. Escape routes should also be kept clear of obstructions and combustible.
It is your responsibility as an employer to make sure your staff are adequately trained in fire safety and fire procedures. This can be carried out in house, by reputable company, or you can opt for a small number of employees to be trained by an external organisation, who in turn would train the rest of the work force.
Areas to cover in staff fire safety training are:
- What to do if they discover a fire
- What to do if they hear the fire alarm
- The fire evacuation plan and where the assembly points are
- The elements of combustion and a basic understanding of fire theory
- The types of fires and information on the different fire extinguishers and their uses
What insurance should I consider for my takeaway business for fire protection?
Fire damage insurance isn’t a specific product on its own but there are several types of insurance to consider which could protect your business in the event of a fire.
Stock and contents insurance
Stock and contents insurance is designed to protect what has been damaged so that there is minimal disruption to the business. In a takeaway business, your stock would be your ingredients and this cover option may compensate you for replacing what you lost. Contents insurance will include items such as your fridges, freezers, food preparation equipment and counter tops. It is not mandatory to have stock and contents cover but it is a good idea to have it in place to protect those items in the event of a fire.
Buildings insurance covers the financial costs of repairing or rebuilding the physical structure of a building in the event of damage. This can include the roof, walls, floors, ceilings, doors and windows, and any permanent fixtures. This cover type is not mandatory nor a legal requirement but may protect your business and help to rebuild in the event of a fire.
Business interruption insurance
Depending on the size of a fire you may be unable to trade due to the damage caused to your business premises and equipment. The extent of the fire damage could mean you are unable to trade for days, weeks, months or even longer. Business interruption cover may provide you with the financial assistance to get back on track if your takeaway business suffers a fire.
Who are The Retail Mutual and what can they do for your takeaway business?
We create business cover specifically designed with your business and its requirements in mind. Our cover options for your takeaway include: