Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems 101
Commercial kitchen fire suppression systems are critical to keeping your restaurant or food prep facility safe from fires. NFPA codes 96 and 17 lay out the requirements for kitchen fire suppression system maintenance. In between professional kitchen inspections, there are a couple of things you should pay special attention to:
KITCHEN FIRE SUPPRESSION CONSIDERATIONS
When installing a kitchen fire suppression system, careful consideration must be made to identify the specific hazards present in cooking areas. Fire suppression needs have changed drastically over the years and continue to evolve – highly insulated, slow-cooking appliances, high temperature vegetable oil and insulated fryers are now commonplace and can make fire protection a challenging task. Fortunately, a working kitchen fire suppression system, like the Ansul R102 or the Ansul Piranha, can make your commercial kitchen a much safer place.
KITCHEN FIRE SUPPRESSION DESIGN
When we design commercial kitchen fire suppression systems, the first thing we do is look at your kitchen’s layout, the cooking equipment you have installed, and any specific fire suppression needs you have. Then we work with you to determine the most effective kitchen fire suppression system, keeping those needs in mind. Remember – damage to your kitchen is one thing, but the life and safety of your staff and patrons is the priority. At Kauffman Co., we have designed kitchen fire suppression systems for cafes, restaurants, fast food places, cafeterias, hotels and hospital kitchens. We typically install one of two types of fire suppression systems – the Ansul R102 which installs directly in the hood of kitchen ductwork, and the Ansul Piranha which is ideal for kitchens that use high temperature oils and slow-cooking appliances.
1. Fuel Source Shutoff and Valves
According to the latest edition of NFPA-96 and NFPA-17/17A, all commercial kitchens must have an electrical or mechanical valve that automatically cuts power to any sources of electricity and/or gas once the kitchen fire suppression system is activated. Electricity and grease are the most common causes of fires in commercial kitchens, so this is critical to keeping a fire under control.
Shutoff valves allow the hood system to extinguish flames by keeping potential fuel sources at bay. If your shutoff valve isn’t installed properly and working right, your kitchen may be at serious risk of a devastating fire.
2. Nozzles and Caps
Caps are installed on the nozzles of your kitchen fire suppression system to prevent grease from building up and clogging the nozzles, blocking the flow of the extinguishing agent. During a routine inspection, your fire protection technician will remove the caps to make sure piping is clear of grease or other buildup, as well as check to make sure the nozzles and caps are in good shape and replace any that are missing. Finally, your technician will make sure your nozzles are aimed properly to extinguish a fire, if necessary.
If you have grease or other debris blocking your piping, the system will not be able to respond properly in the event of a fire. If the piping is clear but the nozzles are facing the wrong way, it won’t do you any good either.
During an inspection, your fire protection technician will check your hood exhaust system’s ductwork for any holes. Exhaust fans are designed to move air outside of your facility, and function to lead a fire outside your building as well, where it wouldn’t have fuel to continue burning.
Holes in your ductwork will just lead the fire into other areas of your facility, potentially leaving you with more than just a kitchen fire!
4. Detector Links
Detector links are designed to sense changes in the levels of heat in the immediate atmosphere. When a certain temperature is reached, the link burns up, which allows the kitchen fire suppression system’s extinguishing agent to be released. Your fire protection technician will make sure all heat detector links are in the correct locations..
These links are critical. If they don’t work, having every other inspection item checked off won’t help. Your system won’t activate. All links should be replaced every six months.
If you run a busy restaurant or commercial kitchen in Houston, TX and need commercial kitchen fire suppression system inspection or testing, call Kauffman Co. today!