Establishing a canteen, Part 3: Fire protection
There is a lot to consider when designing a canteen for staff catering. Having previously looked at the spatial prerequisites as well as accident prevention and hygiene, here is Part 3 of this blog post series. It deals with the fire protection regulations, which vary in the different German federal states, and must be adhered to correctly. Structurally, sufficient escape routes and emergency exits must be planned in this regard. Furthermore, correctly equipping the premises with extinguishing agents is essential. Here are the most important things to remember.
Structurally, it is generally advisable to always use non-combustible materials (for example, stone, metal or ceramics). The entire canteen space should be divided into fire compartments. The respective sections are provided with fire- and smoke-proof walls, ceilings and doors, the latter closing automatically in case of fire. This prevents a fire spreading to a larger area or even the whole building. Fire doors always open to the outside to facilitate leaving the building in case of fire.
Fire alarm systems are particularly useful in large kitchens as a handy tool to detect the onset of smoke and automatically alert the fire department. A smoke and heat exhaust system also reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Just like any other public space, every commercial kitchen (and its dining room) must be equipped with sufficient extinguishing agents. With the help of a table of the DGUV the correct type and quantity of these fire extinguishers can be determined (it can be found on page 31 and 32 of the rules for "Working in Utility Kitchens"). It depends on the room size, the fire risk and the fire class.
In this context, the fire risk is classified in two categories: low risk of fire (for example, in a dish-washing area) and medium risk of fire (for example, in a kitchen). For the fire classes, there is the distinction between fire class A (solid, emissive substances) and fire class B (liquid or melting substances).
All fire extinguishers must be stored in a clearly visible and easily accessible location. They must not be heavily soiled or damaged at their storage location.
Many causes of fire can be reduced or even eliminated through responsible work practices. For example, the stove, fryer and similar should never be left alone. Should a fire occur, courageous and trained action can avoid the worst. Here it is important that the staff knows which extinguishing agents to use when and how. Regular training helps to highlight sources of danger and giving employees the confidence they need to take action.
Any commercial kitchen is always a fire risk. Anyone who feels uncomfortable planning or running it will find a viable and pleasant option with Smunch as the smart alternative to the traditional canteen.
In any case, we wish you a good (and safe) lunch break!
The Smunch Team