Fire Protection for Small Commercial Kitchens

If you own a small restaurant with only one convection oven, deep fryer, griddle, broiler or other cooking appliance, you may think that comprehensive fire protection system is less of a concern. However, even in a kitchen this small, you still deal with multiple fire hazards: heat sources, flammable oils and grease, and gas lines. That’s why you need proper fire extinguishing and suppression methods in place to protect your employees, guests, and equipment, no matter the size of your commercial kitchen.

Types of Commercial Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems

You understand the importance of protecting your business from a fire started in the kitchen, but what type of extinguishing system is best? We recommend discussing your fire protection measures with a licensed fire protection contractor in your area. Kauffman Co. has been providing complete fire protection services in the Houston area since 2006.

When you meet with your fire protection technician, consider these options and their preferred applications:

  • Fire suppression systems: Fire suppression systems are especially effective at putting out kitchen fires because they separate flammable liquids, such as grease and oil, from the oxygen in the air, thus suppressing the fire quickly and effectively.
  • Class K fire extinguishers: You can achieve automatic or manual protection against grease and oil fires with Class K fire extinguishers. It’s a common choice in commercial kitchens where water, foam, or dry chemicals could damage sensitive equipment and also cause a grease fire to grow.
  • Wet-chemical extinguishing systems: This is a common automatic fire suppression method for commercial kitchens of all sizes. Your kitchen must follow certain provisions for nozzle placement, spacing, and height from the fire threat area. Pre-engineered systems have predetermined flow rates, nozzle pressures and quantities of extinguishing agent while engineered systems are designed for individual kitchens.
  • Other fire protection measures: Outside of your small commercial kitchen, you will also need adequate and required fire protection systems, including sprinkler systems, alarm systems, extinguishers, and more.

Maintaining You Commercial Kitchen Fire Suppression System

Once you have the ideal system installed in your commercial kitchen, it’s important to seek out regular inspection, maintenance, and testing of all components. Without these precautionary measures, something within the fire suppression system could malfunction without your knowledge, leaving your restaurant vulnerable to a destructive fire.

If you require kitchen fire suppression system installation, inspection, testing, repair or replacement, please contact Kauffman Co. We offer quality services across the Houston area. Call us today at 713-893-1090.


Posted in Fire Alarms, Fire Extinguishers, Fire Safety Systems, Fire Sprinkler Systems

What Businesses Need Foam Fire Suppression Systems?

If your company handles or processes flammable liquids such as oils and gasoline on a regular basis, a traditional water-based fire sprinkler system won’t provide the protection you require. Industries that handle flammable liquids are often quite large, making them more difficult to protect from fires, and the flammable liquids don’t extinguish when doused with water. In fact, attempting to put out a flammable liquid fire could actually help the flames grow.

That’s why foam fire systems are so important. Examples of industries that should install a foam fire system in their building or property include:

  • Flammable liquid storage facilities
  • Loading racks
  • Processing areas
  • Refineries
  • Dike areas
  • Municipal fire departments
  • Aircraft hangars, airports and heliports
  • Jet engine test facilities
  • LNG storage/manufacturing facilities
  • Marine applications
  • Warehouses

About Foam Fire Suppression Systems

Fires need three things to burn: oxygen, fuel, and an ignition source. Once ignited, the fire continues to burn as long as there is oxygen and fuel. In an environment that can’t use traditional water-based fire extinguishing systems, a foam fire system separates the fuel from the air, which extinguishes the blaze.

Foam fire suppression comes in a variety of systems. One example is the ANSUL foam fire suppression system. The main fire-fighting agents in foam systems are known as Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF), and if you choose the ANSUL system, you have a variety of other foam agents to choose from. These are comprised of a combination of hydrocarbon surfactants, fluoro-chemical surfactants and solvents, which require very little energy to produce high-quality firefighting foam.

Choosing the Type of Foam

The type of foam you choose depends on your industry and the kinds of flammable liquids you deal with. For instance:

  • Class B Hydrocarbons (AFFF) are ideal for airports, manufacturing plants, and fire departments.
  • Class B Polar Solvents (AR-AFFF) are most effective on hydrocarbon fuels, methanol, ethanol, and acetone.
  • Class A Foam Agents make water more effective at controlling combustible materials such as wood, paper, coal, rubber, and plastics.
  • Class A, B & LNG Fires High-Expansion Foam is the agent of choice for aircraft hangers, flammable liquid storage, and LNG facilities.
  • Fluoroprotein Foam is mostly used in refineries and petrochemical facilities.
  • Protein Foam is another fire suppressant of choice for refineries and petrochemical facilities.
  • TARGET-7 Vapor Suppression is a neutralizing agent that lessens dangerous vapors released from a spill.

If you require foam fire suppression system installation, inspection, testing, repair or replacement, please contact Kauffman Co. today for an estimate!


Posted in Fire Suppression Systems

What Can Accidentally Set Off A Fire Sprinkler System?

You may be under the false impression that installing a fire suppression sprinkler system is to choose water damage over fire damage. However, the fact is that sprinklers are not set off by smoke and, unlike in the movies, the sprinkler heads don’t trigger all at once. If these myths were true, you would be in danger of soaking all your possessions and company’s assets just by burning a piece of toast in the break room.

How Fire Sprinkler Systems Work

Each individual sprinkler head is triggered automatically when the air rising to the ceiling reaches a fire-specific temperature of 155 to 165 degrees. Often, only one or two sprinklers are required to fully extinguish a building fire. Since sprinklers use only about one-sixth of the water from a fire hose, they cause much less water damage to your property than a visit from the fire department would.

It’s true that early fire suppression sprinklers were unreliable and caused significant water damage when set off, but today’s sprinklers are more advanced. Still, accidental discharge is still possible. Aside from deliberate sabotage, consider the most common reasons sprinkler heads go off when they’re not intended to:

Accidental Overheating

Sprinklers located near heaters, skylights, and other areas of high heat can cause the fire sprinkler heads to discharge by accident. To prevent this, high-temperature-rated sprinklers are required. These activate at 200 to 300 degrees. If new heat sources are added to an existing building, the sprinklers should consequently be adjusted.

Freezing

Most sprinkler systems are wet pipe systems, meaning the pipes are full of water. If the pipes freeze, the expanding ice produces thousands of pounds of pressure, sometimes enough to break fittings and force valve caps open. When the system thaws, water may discharge from the sprinkler. As a preventative measure, special types of systems can be installed in areas subject to freezing.

Mechanical Damage

Forceful installation can damage a sprinkler’s operating mechanism, potentially causing the parts to come loose weeks or months later. To prevent this, a knowledgeable professional using the proper tools should perform the installation and regular inspection.

Corrosion

Very old sprinklers or systems installed in harsh environments are subject to corrosion, which weakens system parts and releases water. Regular inspection and testing can catch corrosion early and prevent unintentional discharge.

Fire Sprinkler Monitoring & Inspections

Fire sprinkler monitoring and inspections from a fire protection technician can help insure your system is working as it should. With fire sprinkler monitoring and regular inspection, your panel will also alert us if there is a technical glitch or malfunction with your system—this wouldn’t constitute emergency response from the fire department, but our technicians will be able to repair your system as quickly as possible so that your building, employees, and assets are always protected.

To learn more about these services, please contact Kauffman Co., your Houston-area fire suppression experts.


Posted in Fire Sprinkler Systems

Fire Protection Systems & Electronic Equipment

A traditional water-based sprinkler system is the most common form of fire protection found in commercial buildings. Unfortunately, sprinklers can cause major damage to electronic equipment and destroy the very assets they were installed to protect. Since electronics and water don’t mix, what type of fire protection should you seek for your electronic or computer room? The solution is a waterless FM-200 fire suppression system.

What Is the FM-200 Fire Suppression System?

The FM-200 system uses a clean, colorless, eco-friendly fire suppression agent. It deploys quickly and cleanly to stop fires fast and doesn’t require much cleanup. It’s ideal for use in rooms with electrical equipment because common metals (aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass, lead, cast iron and copper), rubber, plastic and electronic components are unaffected by exposure to FM-200.

FM-200 is comprised primarily of carbon, fluorine and hydrogen (CF3CHFCF3 -heptafluoropropane). The primary fire extinguishing mechanism is heat absorption and a secondary suppression method comes from the thermal decomposition of FM-200 when it makes contact with the flame.

What are the Benefits of the FM-200 Fire Suppression System?

  • Fast fire suppression: The FM-200 fire suppression system is capable of extinguishing electrical, flammable liquid, and ordinary combustible fires in 10 seconds or less. When a fire is put out this fast and damage is minimal, you are left with more manageable repair costs, shorter downtime, and extra peace of mind for your employees and customers.
  • No leftover residue: In addition to putting out fires fast, the FM-200 system also doesn’t leave behind any oily or particulate residue.
  • Acceptable for use in occupied spaces: The EPA lists FM-200 as a safe fire suppression agent when people are present.
  • Space-saving solution: The FM-200 system is a valuable fire suppression method if you have limited space. The entire system is contained in cylinders as a nitrogen-pressurized liquid. This option takes up to seven times less storage space than inert gas and carbon dioxide fire extinguishing methods.

Maintaining and Inspecting FM-200 Fire Suppression Systems

Installation is only the first step to ensuring adequate fire protection for your electrical equipment. Proper maintenance and regular inspections ensure the equipment remains in good working order as it ages.

If you require FM-200 fire suppression system installation, inspection, testing, repair, recharge, or replacement, please contact Kauffman Co. We are a family-owned fire protection company that has been serving the Houston, TX area since 2006.


Posted in Fire Alarms, Fire Safety Systems, Fire Suppression Systems

Fire Sprinkler Systems vs. Fire Alarm Systems

If you have fire sprinklers, do you really need a fire alarm system too? And if you have fire alarms installed, are fire sprinklers really necessary? The fact is both of these components are vital for keeping your building up to code and helping to ensure the safety of occupants and assets.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of having properly installed fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems in your building or commercial property.

Importance of Fire Sprinkler Systems

Your first defense against an out-of-control fire is a well-maintained fire sprinkler system. The sprinkler heads activate when they detect a fire-sensitive heat. Various designs are available to meet the needs of residences, commercial buildings, restaurants, data centers, and other facilities. The right design of your fire sprinkler system is important for ensuring optimal performance and protection during a fire.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires automatic sprinkler systems under specific circumstances. If you own a business that exceeds 12,000 square feet, has an occupancy load of 300 or more people, or exceeds more than three stories tall, you are required by law to have sprinklers installed by a professional and licensed fire protection contractor.

Importance of Fire Alarm Systems

Properly installed fire alarms play a major role in the saving lives of your employees and customers in the event of a fire. The siren sounds and flashing lights alert building occupants of an emergency, even if no danger is immediately apparent in their area—giving customers and employees time to act before it’s too late.

Fire alarms go off when linked smoke detectors sense tiny smoke particles in the air resulting from something burning in the room. NFPA code 72 outlines the requirements for fire alarm systems and regulations for the installation, location, testing, and maintenance for the systems.

The Importance of Monitoring

Fire alarm monitoring systems and fire sprinkler monitoring systems are a direct connection between your building’s systems, a fire protection contractor, and your local emergency departments.  That way, if a fire occurs in the middle of the night, help is on its way immediately, even if no one is there to call 9-1-1. Of course, much of the damage can be averted if you have a sprinkler system installed as well, as sprinkler systems work around the clock too.

Fire alarm and fire sprinkler monitoring can help insure your system is working as it should. To learn more about either system, contact Kauffman Co.


Posted in Fire Alarms, Fire Sprinkler Systems

Importance of Scheduling Your Kitchen Hood Inspections

Do you manage or own a restaurant or commercial kitchen? Things can get hectic—between scheduling employee schedules, managing food vendors, updating the menu with the season and trends, and keeping your customers happy, there can sometimes be little time for administrative tasks. But one thing you shouldn’t overlook is having your kitchen hood extinguishing system inspected by a professional fire protection company. Continue reading “Importance of Scheduling Your Kitchen Hood Inspections” »


Posted in Uncategorized

Fire Protection Systems & Services for Theaters

Due to the combination of large crowds, the high concentration of combustible materials, and the presence of ignition sources, fire is definitely a concern in movie theaters. While movie theater fires tend to be less deadly than those that break out in other types of facilities, even a single fatality is a tragedy. The National Fire Protection Association points out some dates of significant movie theater fires from the past: Continue reading “Fire Protection Systems & Services for Theaters” »


Posted in Uncategorized

Fire Protection Systems for Strip Malls

Fires can devastate whatever building they ignite in. As a strip mall owner, do you have the necessary precautions in place to protect each vendor’s employees and customers? Consider these incidents reported by the National Fire Protection Association regarding fires in strip malls: Continue reading “Fire Protection Systems for Strip Malls” »


Posted in Uncategorized

Fire Protection for Retail Stores

A fire is one of the most devastating things that can happen to your retail store. Uncontrolled flames can beat even the best fire fighters if you don’t have the necessary fire protection systems in place. Consider the following events reported by the National Fire Protection Agency: Continue reading “Fire Protection for Retail Stores” »


Posted in Uncategorized

How to Clean Up After Using a Fire Extinguisher

Imagine this: you’re working at your desk when a spark jumps from an electrical outlet into your trash can, setting it ablaze. You jump up, grab a fire extinguisher, and use the skills from your company’s fire extinguisher training to quickly and efficiently put out the fire. When the extinguisher is empty, you stand there, triumphant, reflecting on the disaster that you just prevented. Then suddenly, something clicks in your head and you realize that you’ve just sprayed mildly corrosive chemicals all over your office and need to clean it up right away!

Continue reading “How to Clean Up After Using a Fire Extinguisher” »


Posted in Uncategorized