When it comes to fitting or refurbishing your church kitchen, it’s important to make sure that fire safety is top of your list of priorities. Fires seriously affect over 1400 churches in the UK a year, and while candles would be the obvious culprit, the blazes are often sparked by old or faulty electrical goods.
A fire safety specialist will be able to help you fulfil your legal and safety requirements, but here are a few things to be aware of, especially if you’re thinking of renovating your kitchen space:
Risk Assessment The first thing on your safety checklist is to carry out a risk assessment. No matter how safe your church seems, there are fire hazards in any building and making sure that risks are identified is essential to keep your congregation safe and your church building standing.
If you’re undergoing some serious renovations – such as an extension or layout changes – to fit your kitchen, a new fire risk assessment will be needed. However, a new kitchen could actually improve fire safety in your church, thanks to better layout and safer appliances…
Precautions Old electrical equipment – especially kitchen appliances – can be a fire hazard. PAT testing (that’s inspecting any appliance fitted with a mains plug) isn’t compulsory, but if your church hasn’t had its kitchen electricals tested in a while it’s worth doing – especially if they have seen better days. If your kitchen goods really are past it, look at how a semi-commercial refurb could make your church a safer (not to mention more pleasant) place to work.
Fire Warden or Marshal Your church is undoubtedly a vibrant, busy place (especially on Sundays) so making sure that your congregation – and visitors – can be efficiently evacuated in case of fire is important. Aside from the fact that a Fire Warden or Marshal is usually a legal requirement for publicly occupied buildings, having staff or volunteers that are trained in correct fire safety measures is always excellent practice.
Extinguishers & Signage Every church is different, but no matter how big or small the space is, you will need some sort of signage and fire extinguishing equipment. Depending on the size and layout of your building, this can vary from exit signs and a few correctly positioned extinguishers to a full emergency lighting system and integrated sprinklers. Seek advice from a fire safety specialist to find the right solutions for your space.
Fire alarm As your church is likely to be unoccupied overnight, or even for days at a time, it’s worth installing a commercial automatic fire alarm that connects directly to the fire brigade. This is especially useful if you’ll be hiring your hall, with access to the kitchen, as a venue. There are other viable options available, though, that a fire safety company will be able to talk you through. We always recommend fitting a good quality alarm in any kitchen or kitchenette area and making sure it is maintained correctly.
Steelplan Kitchens offer a free consultation service and can incorporate certain fire safety measures – such as effective layout – into your kitchen planning. To find out more about how Steelplan Kitchens’ experienced design team can help you create the perfect space for your church, call us on 0844 809 9186.