Kitchen Fire Systems

Per the Alberta Fire Code 2014 a UL300 compliant automatic wet chemical fire suppression system is required in the exhaust hood and ducting of any commercial cooking operation where grease laden vapors are produced. This requirement is not written directly in the code, but comes about through references to other documents:

  • The AFC requires that "commercial cooking equipment exhaust and fire protection systems shall be designed and installed in conformance with the Alberta Building Code 2014".
  • The ABC requires that "systems for the ventilation of commercial cooking equipment shall be designed, constructed and installed to conform to NFPA 96 “Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations,” "
  • NFPA 96 requires that "fire-extinguishing equipment for the protection of grease removal devices, hood exhaust plenums, and exhaust duct systems shall be provided." and "cooking equipment that produces grease-laden vapors and that might be a source of ignition of grease in the hood, grease removal device, or duct shall be protected by fire-extinguishing equipment."
  • Both the ABC and NFPA 96 specify the UL300 standard, or it's Canadian equivalent ULC/ORD-C1254.6 as the type of system to be installed.

In addition the AFC requires "the use, inspection and maintenance of commercial cooking equipment exhaust and fire protection systems shall be in conformance with NFPA 96". NFPA 96 has specific maintenance requirements of it's own, and in addition "the specific inspection and maintenance requirements of the extinguishing system standards as well as the applicable installation and maintenance manuals for the listed system and service bulletins shall be followed." The applicable standard in this case is the NFPA 17A Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems. The upshot of all this is that Kitchen Fire Suppression systems require maintenance every 6 months.

simplified requirements

Monthly

Per NFPA 17A an Owner's Inspection shall be completed on a monthly basis. At a minimum this shall include:

  1. The extinguishing system is in its proper location.
  2. The manual actuators are unobstructed.
  3. The tamper indicators and seals are intact.
  4. The maintenance tag or certificate is in place.
  5. No obvious physical damage or condition exists that might prevent operation.
  6. The pressure gauge(s), if provided, shall be inspected physically or electronically to ensure it is in the operable range.
  7. The nozzle blowoff caps, where provided, are intact and undamaged.
  8. Neither the protected equipment nor the hazard has not been replaced, modified, or relocated.

A record including the date of the inspections and initials of the person performing it must be retained at a minimum for the period between semi-annual maintenance. Checking for the record of this monthly inspection is part of the semi-annual inspection performed by our technicians.

Semi-Annually

Every six months the system must be inspected and maintained by a trained technician. This will include:

  • a visual inspection of all system components
  • replacement of fusible links
  • test activation of the system once a year

We are able to perform regular maintenance on any brand of UL300 system.

what to expect

The inspection will be scheduled for a time when your kitchen is not being used to cook. Our technicians must work in the hood above the system, and it is not safe to do so while the appliances are hot. For most restaurants this means booking before the kitchen is fired up in the morning, however some places that do not operate after the lunch hour can be booked in the afternoon. Service time is normally about 1 hour, however on our first time inspecting a given system we usually book 90 minutes to allow for documenting everything as we go. If your system is tied into a fire alarm system, we must test-activate that connection and the client must make proper arrangements with their alarm monitoring provider to prevent a fire department response.

preparation

  • Kitchen must be cold on arrival. Make arrangements with staff that will be opening not to turn on appliances until after service is complete.
  • All parts of the system must be accessible to the technician performing service. All obstructions such as boxes, cleaning supplies, or other clutter stored in front of(or below) system components must be moved prior to service beginning. Proper covers should be available for all appliances.
  • If the system is connected to a fire alarm system, make arrangements with your monitoring provider to prevent a fire department response while testing.
  • Your hood must also be cleaned at least once every six months. One of our inspection items is verifying that this has been done, and excessive grease buildup can be cause for failing the system. It is best to have the hood cleaning performed with a month preceding the Fire Suppression System inspection.

something is wrong, what should i do?

If you find something off during your monthly inspection, give us a call and we will schedule a service call to address it.

If you system has dumped due to a fire or accidental activation, give us a call. Depending on the brand of system, we will either come out to recharge it on site, replace the system tank with a charged one, or take your tank for recharge. If your brand is one we cannot immediately replace and time is of the essence, then we may refer you to another service provider more likely to have a replacement available.

a few things to know

Here are a few things you should know about commercial and industrial Pre-engineered fixed Kitchen Suppression Systems:

  • The Alberta Fire Code as well as most manufacturers require that pre-engineered restaurant fire suppression systems in commercial and industrial applications be maintained by technician with training that is deemed acceptable to the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) on a semi-annual basis.
  • This is usually the responsibility of the tenant occupying a space but in some cases may be the responsibility of the building owner.
  • Most kitchen suppression systems have a mechanical means for activation upon the detection of a fire under the hood. Usually this is done with fusible links that run along a cable inside the plenum(the space under the hood that is hidden by the filter bank).
  • Every kitchen suppression system must be supplemented with a wet chemical K-Class fire extinguisher to be compliant with the applicable codes. This extinguisher will require hydrostatic testing every 5 years to remain certifiable.
  • All Kitchen Suppression Systems are required to kill any ignition sources under the hood upon activation.
  • All Kitchen Suppression Systems must be connected to and activate the buildings Fire Alarm System (if present).
  • All Kitchen Suppression Systems must disengage the Air Makeup Unit that is present in order to prevent drawing fresh air and oxygen towards the hazard.

installations

On Site Fire Protection is proud to distribute and install Buckeye Kitchen Mister fire suppression systems for commercial cooking operations. The Buckeye Kitchen Mister provides a good value for money, and high level of serviceability. Every system is a little different so every install must be individually assessed and quoted. Please give us a call if you are interested in have a new Kitchen Fire Suppression System installed.

Lead time for system components is usually about 1 week, so it is recommended to get in touch at least 2 weeks before your desired install date.

a little history

Fixed kitchen suppression systems for industrial and commercial cooking operations have played a strong roll in the protection of life and property in today’s food preparation operations across the world. Over several generations of kitchen suppression systems changes have been made to the way the systems are designed to match the hazards these cooking operations pose. Originally kitchen suppression systems were stocked with a dry chemical powder extinguishing agent, something similar to what you would find inside a regular dry chemical fire extinguisher. This was semi-effective at the time when animal fats and lards were the main cooking medium in deep frying operations. NFPA 17 is the National Fire Protection Associations standard for Pre-Engineered Dry Chemical Suppression Systems. Though still applicable to existing systems, this standard is rarely used in today’s cooking industry for several reasons.

Today’s commercial and industrial deep fryers are designed with a higher degree of engineering than in past decades. They are very well insulated and designed to maintain higher temperatures with less energy. The cooking medium in deep fryers has changed as well from lard or animal fat to healthier oils. These oils get much hotter than previous mediums during cooking operations and in the event of a fire they burn much hotter and are more difficult to extinguish. The high efficiency design of the fryers means that the oil retains more heat after being extinguished and has a greater chance of re-ignition.

The re-ignition factor was the main reason for the change in the industry from dry chemical kitchen suppression systems to wet chemical kitchen suppression systems. Also, the dry chemical kitchen suppression systems often caused injury to employees working in the kitchen because when the system discharged over top of a deep fryer the flaming medium would be spread across the kitchen violently.

These reasons all led to the development of wet chemical kitchen suppression systems. NFPA 17A is the National Fire Protections Associations standard for pre-engineered wet chemical kitchen suppression systems. This standard is commonly referred to as “the code” for fixed restaurant wet chemical kitchen suppression systems. It contains the rules and regulations regarding the installations and maintenance of kitchen suppression systems.

The other code that is commonly referred to in the kitchen suppression system industry is the UL-300. This is a document that was produced by Underwriter Laboratories to standardize the design and testing procedures for all wet chemical kitchen suppression systems. Until the UL-300 document was present in the kitchen suppression system industry each manufacturer had the leave to test their suppression systems in house to their own standards. This left large gap’s between what was sufficient protection according to the manufacturer, and what was effective suppression in the field. The UL-300 standardized the required testing procedures for all wet chemical kitchen suppression systems and all manufacturers. The UL-300 is an American document and its Canadian counterpart is ULC/ORD-C1254.6-95 (ORD meaning Other Recognized Document). This documents effective date in Canada was July 1, 1995.