Don’t forget the wine when protecting restaurants from fire

Red and white wine in bottles

By John Lynch, General Manager, Wormald Business Support Services

A restaurant’s wine cellar can be one of its most expensive and irreplaceable assets. The cellar at Sydney’s Rockpool Bar & Grill has been valued at somewhere between $10 and $40 million dollars and reportedly boasts a $72,000 bottle of 1945 vintage wine. Crown Melbourne’s Club 23 serves a $12,500 cocktail which uses Cognac from 1858.

As an important source of revenue for restaurants, it’s essential to consider cellars and bar areas when planning a restaurant’s fire safety requirements.

As a start, restaurant owners are encouraged to work with a fire protection provider to audit the entire restaurant for fire hazards. This may include the kitchen, dining, bar, cellar and service areas. An audit can help to identify a suitable fire protection solution to contain the flames and better protect wines from smoke and heat.

A restaurant’s biggest fire risk is generally the kitchen, with its intense and constant cooking temperatures and highly flammable oils and grease. All restaurant kitchens should be fitted with wet chemical fire protection equipment, which may include fire extinguishers or fixed fire suppression systems, such as the ANSUL® PIRANHA® system, for larger kitchens.

Fire extinguishers should also be installed around the venue and in the case of a valuable wine cellar or vault, close to the entrance. Equipment should be easy to access, clearly labelled and regularly maintained.

Also consider additional fire protection systems for wine cellars to help reduce damage in the event of a fire. Passive fire protection, such as fire doors, walls and sprinkler systems can provide a higher level of fire protection for different zones of the restaurant. Fire alarm detection systems can help with early detection and trigger an automatic response.

Remember, all fire protection systems and equipment should be maintained and regularly serviced to ensure such equipment is ready to respond should a fire emergency arise. In the same vein, all staff should be regularly trained on how to operate fire safety equipment. This is particularly important in the hospitality industry where casual staffing is common.  For further information on how Wormald can help protect your restaurant call 133 166.

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