Hello RFMA members,
It's the middle of summer which means rain is normally hard to come by but recently we have seen major rainfall in several states throughout the nation. With the powerful storms, flooding becomes a huge concern and problem, invariably producing power outages that can last from a few seconds to several days. Are your stores prepared to handle no electricity for several hours or days? Do you know what actions to take to keep your guests, employees and food safe? Following are brief procedures that can be utilized by restaurant managers and facilities personnel to ensure you are prepared when power is lost or flooding is present.
- Employee and guest safety is always the first priority. If storms are powerful, take shelter in an interior safe room, like the restrooms or even the walk in's. When weather permits, get everyone out of the building.
- If flooding is a problem, get to higher ground immediately. You should have evacuation plans in your Disaster Management Plan.
- Know the history of flooding in your store's area. Follow the weather closely and listen to future forecasts. If potentially dangerous flooding is anticipated, food may need to be transferred to another restaurant in the area where flooding is not expected. Secure the building as best as possible by sand bagging facility entrances or stuff towels under doors to minimize interior water damage.
- Turn off all electrical equipment asap at its source by switching it to off or unplugging it. Don't forget to turn off the a/c's and hood exhaust and make up air fans. Ensure electrical breakers are marked accordingly for each piece of equipment and switch those off too. Total utility shutoff to the restaurant may be needed if flooding is a concern.
- Report power outage to supervisors and other operational personnel.
- Determine if electric is out for your restaurant and/or the surrounding areas by checking with neighboring establishments.
- Contact the local utility to report outage and, if possible, get details on when they expect power to be restored.
- Keep all refrigeration equipment and walk in doors shut. Do not open unless absolutely necessary.
- Put lids on all topping stations.
- If electric is scheduled to be out for longer than 3-4 hours, transfer food from the walk in's to other stores in the area if possible. Ensure internal food temperature has not exceeded the health code requirements. Contact your supervisor for discussions.
- When power has returned, go the the electrical panel and turn on equipment slowly, one at a time over several minutes which will decrease the electrical surge that will occur when power is restored. This will minimize the kilowatt demand charge.
- Go to the individual pieces of equipment and slowly turn then on or plug them in, one at a time. Wait a few minutes between each.
- Reset all time clocks accordingly.
This is a general list of action items for power outages and flooding. Each restaurant will have additional items needed. If not done so already in the store's disaster management plan binder, I recommend summarizing this on one page and have it handy for restaurant operations.
What other items can be included?
Dover and out.