A fire at a restaurant or snack bar can have serious consequences. The city of Trondheim is one example of this. An entire city block in Trondheim burned down after a deep fryer caught fire in 2002.

Defective fire safety devices and blocked or locked emergency escape routes can be harmful, and even fatal. You can implement some basic preventive measures at your company to optimise fire safety.

The information that follows provides some basic elements of fire safety and introduce important safety routines such as carrying out a fire safety check before your company opens for business.



An emergency escape route is the safe way out of a building. Escape routes often run via corridors or stairwells. Escape routes are always indicated by signs showing the way. We call these evacuation signs. Escape routes should be empty, and it should be possible to exit through doors without using a key. Objects in escape routes can spread fire or smoke, or hinder evacuation inside a building. Always walk through the escape routes before opening your business for the day.


Fire alarms provide an early warning for personnel and guests when fire, fumes or smoke are detected. Early warning allows everyone to evacuate the building quickly and effectively. The fire alarm system must always work as intended. Check the alarm panel: are all the warning lamps working? Are there any warning lamps lit or disconnected? Are any detectors covered? The music system turns off automatically when a fire alarm is triggered. Every business in the building must have access to the fire alarm control panel, regardless of where they are located in the building.


Check these frequently to make sure

the extinguishers are located where the should be and fire hose cabinets/devices are not blocked or covered. The pointer on the fire extinguisher gauge should be in the green zone. Fire hoses and fire extinguishers must not be defective or physically damaged. The locations of fire extinguishers are indicated by signs. The extinguishers must be readily available throughout the building.


Fire safety training and fire drills play a key role in the prevention of fires and allow for fast and effective evacuation during a fire. All your employees must be trained in how to deal with fires to limit the adverse consequences for personnel and guests if a fire occurs. Fire drills should be practiced regularly.


Hazardous gas must not be stored on the premises, in escape routes or in the loft or basement. Gas canisters may only be stored in approved cabinets outside the building.


Good routines for cleaning filters, ducts and extraction fans are important in reducing the risk of fire in kitchen areas. The frequency of cleaning must be suited to your business, but the basic recommendation is to clean filters once a week and clean ducts and extraction fans once a year. Hand-held extinguishers are mandatory in kitchens, but insurers usually require industrial kitchens to have automated extinguishers in areas where oil and grease are common, such as deep fryers, grills and frying devices. Please consult your insurer or insurance contract for a list of conditions that apply to your business.


Some buildings are equipped with fire extinguishers that trigger automatically if a fire occurs. Prior to opening, your business needs to make certain all fire safety installations are in operation and that they function as intended. Employees must have direct access to the sprinkler control panel. If this is not the case, you will need to make changes so personnel can access the panel for regular inspections. Inspections must be documented in writing.


A safety guidance system consists of electric lights or fluorescent escape and exit route markers that indicate the way to emergency exits, and white safety guidance lights that provide lighting inside areas or escape routes in the event of a power outage. Electric escape and exit route markers shall always be lit when the safety guidance lights are lit, as soon as power is gone. The safety guidance system must have a battery backup. Remember that batteries can be defective even if the lights are on. Depending on the manufacturer, safety guidance systems have different ways of indicating system errors. The owner of the building is responsible for making certain the building’s occupants have received proper training in how the system works.


Fire doors shall hinder the spread of fire and smoke. A fire door must either be closed or close automatically if a fire alarm is triggered, e.g. such as magnetic door holders.

Make sure fire doors are not held open by a floor wedge, garbage cans or similar objects, and that the door pumps are not disconnected.


Garbage bins, waste containers and cardboard boxes near buildings are a common target among pyromaniacs. Suitable fire prevention routines can help eliminate that risk. Removing objects that can incite temptation and restricting access to the premises can be helpful measures to lower such risks. Keep areas around your buildings clear and tidy.


Every premise is subject to a count of the number of persons who can safely occupy a room. The owner of the building shall make certain that each business knows how many persons are permitted inside. Counting persons in the premises ensures fast and effective evacuation in an emergency. A business must be able to account for the number of persons on the premises and that the permitted number of persons is not exceeded. The employees working in the room/premises are responsible for obeying this rule during opening hours.


Below are some examples of specific things that should be checked before opening.
PLEASE NOTE! Defects in fire safety equipment must be repaired before your business opens.

Fire alarm system

  • Indicates fire alarm panel errors, or are detectors disconnected or covered?

Safety guidance lighting system

  • Are all the lights that need to be working lit? Do any of the lights indicate an error?

Escape routes

  • Can doors in escape routes be opened easily without using a key?
  • Are escape routes empty of objects/obstructions?

Fire doors

  • Do the closing mechanisms function properly?
  • Remove door wedges and other things that hinder doors from closing.

Hazardous gas

  • Are gas canisters stored in approved cabinets outside the building?

Manual extinguishers

  • Are the fire extinguishers located in the right places, are they damaged, and are fire hoses accessible?

Automatic extinguishers

  • Are the sprinkler heads undamaged and uncovered?
  • Are objects being stored too close to the sprinkler heads?
  • Are employees trained in the use and functions of the system?


  • Do new and temporary employees receive training? Have all employees taken part in fire drills?

Outdoor storage

  • Are your garbage bins/waste containers located in safe places?
  • Do you keep combustible materials away from the walls of the buildings?


  • Kitchens: Has the filter in the extraction fan been cleaned?
    (Recommended frequency – Each week)
  • Kitchens: Has the exhaust duct in the extraction fan been cleaned?
    (Recommended frequency – At least once a year)