Did you know that, as a restaurant owner, you are required to perform a fire extinguisher inspection every 30-days?
The good news is that you don’t have to call a professional to perform those inspections. You can do the job all on your own with the right checklist in hand.
You’ve likely put a lot of time and money into ensuring your restaurant pleases your customers and remains a hot-spot in town for many years to come. It would be a shame if all your hard work went up in smoke, pun definitely intended.
You’ve worked too hard to allow something as preventable as fire from costing you time, money, and even more investment into fire restoration and rebuilding before you can reopen.
To protect your business from shutting down and to keep your restaurant performing at optimum, crowd-pleasing levels, here is just the checklist you need.
Keep this fire extinguisher inspection list handy to ensure you remain NFPA compliant and that your business is always protected from the front to the back of the house.
Are Fire Extinguisher Inspections Necessary If You Sourced Your Units from a Reliable Source?
Because your fire extinguishers were purchased from a reputable manufacturer, you might think that you can simply trust that your restaurant is fully-protected and merely wait for your next fire inspection.
Not many people know this, but fire extinguishers can sustain damage and malfunction if knocked around in any way. If the fire extinguishers have been used, even minimally and only a single time, a proper inspection should be performed.
It is for this reason that the NFPA requires monthly fire extinguisher inspections on all fire extinguishers, no exceptions.
Step 1: Is the Fire Extinguisher in a Designated Area?
Your fire inspector will let you know where to place your fire extinguishers for maximum coverage. However, there are certain types of fire extinguishers, and each one has a certain designated area that you should know about. Here are those rules so you can ensure you remain compliant the next time the fire inspector comes calling.
Class A: These fire extinguishers are required where you typically keep paper and other combustible materials. The restaurant office is a good example of a Class A area.
Class B: These are required for areas where there are flammable liquids or gasses, such as near your janitorial closet.
Class C: These fire extinguishers are reserved for areas where there are high amounts of energized equipment, such as near your HVAC system or electrical control panel.
Class K: You will typically find these extinguishers in your kitchen, as the materials are designed specifically to fight fires caused by combustible cooking oils and fats.
These are just some examples. Your fire inspector may specify certain types of fire extinguishers in other areas and according to your precise needs.
Step 2: Is the Fire Extinguisher Visible?
Check that you can see the fire extinguisher from most angles. Imagine the area filled with dark smoke. The fire extinguisher should be clearly marked and able to be seen so that it can be snatched up and used at a moment’s notice.
Step 3: Can Anyone Use the Fire Extinguisher Immediately?
Just because the fire extinguisher can be seen doesn’t mean that there aren’t obstacles in its way. Ensure that staff never place dish or glass racks, or objects of any other kind in front of operational fire extinguishers. This ensures that staff can grab the extinguisher and act immediately without hesitation.
Step 4: Identify the Service Tag and Check Service Date
Find the service tag on each of your restaurant’s fire extinguishers and inspect the date. This is the time of your subsequent fire inspection. To be thorough, you should keep a record beside each extinguisher of the inspection date and every monthly inspection to remain NFPA compliant.
Step 5: Identify if the Fire Extinguisher Pointer is in the Operating Range
A fire extinguisher should be able to be lifted and used immediately. That means that the nozzle should be pointed in the proper position so that all anyone has to do is lift, squeeze and aim.
Step 6: Remove Extinguisher from the Wall. Is the Bracket Secure Enough to Hold the Extinguisher?
Check to see if the fire extinguisher can be lifted from its location and used with ease. If the extinguisher gets hooked on something, a fire could quickly grow out of control. You’ll want to ensure that the bracket is working properly so that the fire extinguisher comes clean and into your hands without much effort.
While you’re at it, inspect the bracket itself to ensure the weight of the fire extinguisher can be supported. Your fire inspector can give you a violation if the brackets are malfunctioning in any way. If the brackets need tightening or to be replaced, do that immediately prior to your next fire inspection date.
Step 7: Assess the Presence of the Required Agent
Fire extinguishers are filled with different substances, depending on the class. There are water fire extinguishers, foam, carbon dioxide, and wet chemical fire extinguishers, among others. Each type is designed to fight a different type of fire.
For instance, you would never use water on an oil and grease fire. Instead, water extinguishers are reserved for Class A areas, such as those filled with wood items, paper, and textiles.
Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers are used on electrical fires, as CO2 is not a conductor.
For the kitchen, where oil, grease, fat, and high heat can make for a fire-causing disaster, wet chemical fire extinguishers are used.
Lift each of your fire extinguishers and ensure they’re filled with the proper agent and to the correct capacity. If any fire extinguishers feel light, call a professional fire extinguisher inspection team to refill or exchange your extinguishers as needed.
Step 8: Examine the Fire Extinguisher Shell for Evidence of Damage
Fire extinguishers can get banged around easily. Even if you haven’t moved the extinguisher, things like rolling food prep tables, busboy carts, dish racks, and even people colliding with it can cause dings on the shell of an otherwise fully-functioning unit.
Inspect your fire extinguishers carefully for any sign of damage, including dings, holes, leaks, and corrosion. If you do notice damage, it’s best to have a professional perform your fire extinguisher inspections to ensure proper function when it counts.
Step 9: Is the Visual Inspection Seal in Place?
Every one of your fire extinguishers needs to have an inspection seal in place. If any are missing, you’ll need to get those inspected before you can be considered NFPA compliant. Not having the seal in place also makes you liable in case you do suffer a dangerous fire. The insurance company certainly wouldn’t take kindly to such an infraction and might deny you coverage in case your restaurant sustains damage.
For that reason and just to be safe, make sure the inspection tags are in place and clearly visible for any fire inspector to see.
Step 10: Check for Pressurization
Aside from lifting the fire extinguisher to determine if it’s filled with the required agent, you’ll want to get visual confirmation that the unit is charged.
The pressure gauge should be at full capacity and should not read “Recharge.” If any of your extinguishers are looking a tad light on pressure, call a professional to check for leaks or other damage so that you can remain fully protected.
Step 11: Examine the Nameplates for Damage and Readability
Your fire inspector will give you poor marks if the nameplates attached to your fire extinguishers are faded, damaged or otherwise can’t be read. Every fire extinguisher surrounding your restaurant should be in tip-top shape, from the nameplate and nozzles to shell and gauge. If your nameplates need work, get them replaced as soon as possible to avoid a fire code violation.
Step 12: Assess Potential Damage on the Hose and Nozzle
Next, check each fire extinguisher for holes in the hose or signs of damage to the nozzle that will prevent anyone from activating the extinguisher for proper fire suppression. If there is damage, a fire extinguisher professional should be called.
Step 13: Record the Date of the Inspection
Aside from keeping a log next to each fire extinguisher that identifies the date of each yearly and monthly inspection, maintain a record for yourself. Use an online To-Do list or set a reminder on your phone to perform monthly checks and remain aware of your upcoming yearly inspection. Fire code compliance is no joke and these aren’t dates that you want to necessarily forget. Monthly and yearly reminders can keep you on track to guarantee code compliance.
Step 14: Return the Extinguisher to its Designated Place
After you have performed a thorough inspection of each extinguisher, put it back in its rightful place and have faith that your restaurant is well protected with a cutting-edge restaurant fire suppression system.
Step 15: Plan for the Next Inspection
With your unit checks recorded and reminders set, you’ll always know when your next inspection is coming up. Ensure you train your staff to remind you as well, as only when everyone works together can dangerous fires be prevented.
For best results, hold a specific fire safety class where you teach your staff to locate each extinguisher and perform the necessary inspections so that your restaurant is always up to code.
You can then pass out this checklist, and keep a list beside each unit, so there are no excuses going forward. Everyone will know where the fire extinguishers are located, how to perform a thorough fire extinguisher inspection, and how to activate the extinguishers to fight any size of fire until it’s no longer a threat.
Every restaurant fire inspection checklist begins with ensuring you have the highest quality fire extinguishers located at key areas around your establishment.
The rest of the checklist is designed to ensure the extinguishers are visible, easy to use, and primed for action at the slightest sign of fire. If your units ever become damaged, which can happen very easily, or if they ever depressurize for any reason, you might not be protected when fire rears its hot and ugly head.
Only by inspecting your fire extinguishers every month can you rest assured that your restaurant is well-protected, along with your time and financial investments.
Once again, keep this checklist handy and perform a thorough inspection every month. By doing so, the next time the fire inspector arrives on site to inspect your units, you can remain confident that the inspections have already been performed, and all with stellar and passable marks.
Why Not Let the Professionals Inspect Your Fire Extinguishers?
In an ideal world, you would have plenty of time to run your business and inspect every single extinguisher located around your building. However, let’s be honest, who has the time for all that? Not you or your staff, most likely.
For that reason, contact Nationwide Fire Protection, where we can inspect your fire extinguishers and ensure that you have the best fire suppression systems always on hand. We will make sure that every unit in your building is ready to fight fire where it starts.
Are You Protected with a Full Restaurant Fire Suppression System?
Of course, fire extinguishers are only effective against the beginning of a fire. For heavier loads, you should have a fully-operational fire suppression system installed in your restaurant, in your ceiling, and inside your vent hoods.
Only a complete system will protect your restaurant from serious fires that can occur in any commercial kitchen establishment.
A complete restaurant fire system includes an alarm, sprinkler system, fire suppression system, and your fire extinguishers.
Together, these systems can make the outbreak of fires obsolete for the success of your restaurant business.
Nationwide Fire Protection is your source for quality fire extinguishers and other restaurant fire suppression systems. We can help protect your restaurant from dangerous and deadly fires, keeping your time and financial investments forever intact. Call today in Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles, Orange County/Placentia, California for a free quote.