Module 23: Preventing and Treating Accidents in Food Service Operations

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Fire Safety and First Aid

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Fire Safety

The use of fire, electric and gas stoves, fryers, etc, in restaurants can lead to a fire hazard. Insufficient and improper maintenance and cleaning work, and accumulations of grease and oil, greatly increase the risk of fire.

Three elements are required for an object to burn:

Combustibles (fuel)
Oxygen (air)
Heat (temperature)

Once any one of the three elements is removed, the fire can be put out successfully. The use of different fire extinguishers can remove one or more elements to help extinguish the fire.

The following precautions can help lessen the
danger of fire:

Properly clean and maintain cooking equipment and
exhaust hoods/ filters.

For sanitation as well as safety reasons, limit smoking
to restricted areas.

Be sure there is adequate fire extinguishing equipment on hand. Personnel should know where it is located and how to use it.

Use fire detection devices that can detect smoke, flames, and heat.

Use automatic sprinkler systems. They are an effective way to control fires.

Local ordinances usually require special fire extinguishing equipment to be located under ventilation filters. Regardless of the type (dry chemical, carbon dioxide, or chemicals in special solutions), this equipment can only be effective if it is professionally designed, installed, and maintained.

The following four precautions should be implemented to help maintain a fire safe environment.

Employees should know where all emergency exits are located, and fire drills should be conducted regularly

Contact the local fire department for specific help in designing emergency procedures

Make sure all doors to the property open out and that fire exits are kept clear at all times

Fire department telephone numbers should be located near telephones

As restaurants face higher fire hazards, they have more stringent requirements on fire fighting facilities and equipment.

The following are fire fighting facilities and equipment are commonly found in restaurants.

Fire blanket, Fire extinguisher, Fire sprinkler system, Emergency lighting, Visual alarm system, Fire hose reels

Fires are classified by the types of fuel they burn.

Class A: Fires involving solid materials, usually of an organic nature.

Class B: Fires involving liquids or liquefiable solids.

Class C: Fires involving gases.

Class D: Fires involving metals.

Class E: Fires involving electrically energised equipment.

Portable fire extinguishers allow people to extinguish small fires under safe conditions and distance before a fire can spread and become uncontrollable.

Therefore, the reliability of extinguishers in terms of the types of fire they are designed for, their minimum effective discharge time and the discharge bulk range, is important.

Carbon Dioxide Gas Type Extinguisher

It displaces oxygen to extinguish a class E fire.

Use: On electrical fires, flammable liquids,
electronic equipment or documents.

Note: Carbon dioxide can lead to
suffocation. Withdraw to open air
after use.

Water Type Extinguisher

It cools the burning materials.
Used to extinguish class A fires.

Use: On fires involving wood, plastic,
textiles or paper.

Never: On electrical fires, or fires
involving flammable liquids or metals.

Dry Powder Type Extinguisher

It utilizes chemicals to absorb heat or prevent heat from transferring from the fuel surface to the air used to extinguish a class D fire.

Use: On most fires, including flammable
liquids or electrical fires.

Notes: Discharged dry powder may
reduce visibility and cause disorientation,
and is corrosive to metals.

Clean Agent Fire Extinguisher

Residue-free, e.g. no residual chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Can be used to extinguish all classes of fire.

Use: On electrical fires, flammable liquids,
electronic equipment or documents.

Notes: Withdraw to open air after use.

Foam Type Extinguisher

The foam can float on top of a burning liquid, isolating the fuel surface from the air.
Used to extinguish class B fires.

Use: On fires involving flammable

Never: On electrical fires.

A further piece of fire extinguishing equipment that can be found in some establishments is the sand bucket.

This type of equipment is slightly outmoded, but can still be effective on certain types of fires and on small isolated fires. Sand Bucket

Use: On small fires or fires involving metals.

Note: May also be used for the cleaning of flammable liquids spilt on the ground.

Encourage employees to receive first aid training. If possible, training should be given to several employees so that it is more likely that someone with first aid training will always be on the premises. Hospitality operations should have first aid equipment and supplies located in a convenient area.

Immediately after an accident occurs, first aid is the primary concern. It is very important that someone trained in first aid apply treatment.

Serious Injury

In case of a serious injury, you should make
the person as comfortable as possible
(without risking further injury).

Call the local emergency medical services
for help. Keep the victim calm and comfortable
while you wait for assistance.

Minor Injury

In the case of a minor injury, give the person whatever
aid is necessary from the property's first aid kit.

Fill out an accident report, and urge the victim to
see a physician if that seems appropriate.


Because of an obstructed airway, choking is a leading cause of accidental death.

If a choking person is not coughing or is unable to speak, that's your cue to perform the Heimlich maneuver immediately.

The following steps can help to save a choking victim. The Heimlich maneuver is generally considered the best first aid for choking.

Heimlich maneuver. Place yourself slightly behind the standing victim
Place your arms around the victim's waist
Make a fist with one hand and place just above the victims belly button
Grab your fist with your other hand
Deliver an upward squeeze-thrust into the abdomen

Repeat step 5 until the foreign body has been
expelled. Make each squeeze-thrust
strong enough to dislodge a foreign body.

Keep a firm grip on the victim, since he or
she may lose consciousness.


CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, in which someone's breathing or heartbeat may have stopped.

Begin CPR with uninterrupted chest compressions of about 100 a minute until medical help arrives.

CPR can keep oxygen and blood flowing to the patients heart,brain and other organs, until medical treatment arrives.

See the attached diagram for the four basic steps in administering CPR.

Which of the following is not a required element for combustion?

A) Oxygen B) Fuel
C) Fire D) High temperature/energy

How does the water type fire extinguisher work?

A) It washes away the fuel B) Separates fuel and oxygen
C) It cools the object D) It extinguishes fire by chemical reaction

Which of the following should not be extinguished by a water type extinguisher?

A) Burning liquids B) Burning electrical equipment
C) Burning metals D) All of the above

Which extinguisher can be used to put out fires involving
electrical equipment?

A) Foam type extinguisher B) Dry powder type extinguisher
C) Water type extinguisher D) All of the above