How do Fire Suppression Systems Work?
To spread, a fire needs three things: fuel, heat, and oxygen. Suppression systems are designed to battle them.
As soon as a fire is detected, the nozzles installed above the kitchen appliances discharge wet chemicals. These chemicals cover the flames and remove oxygen. The fire suppressant agent also contains water that cools oils and fats to lower the ignition temperature, thus taking the heat out of the equation. While the system is putting out the fire, it also sends a signal to cut gas supply, depriving the fire of fuel.
When the fire is out, the hood starts filtering the smoke to create a favorable environment for further work.
The key function of the fire suppression system is to remove fire as quickly as possible without affecting the rest of the appliances. Unlike the sprinkler system that sends water all over the place, the suppression system puts the fire out locally.
The system can work with various chemicals. For example, grease fires, electrical fires, and oil fires require different agents. They can offer cooling, emulsification, and foaming properties. It's important to consult a professional before installing a fire suppression system in your commercial kitchen.
Fire Suppression System Standards and Regulations
While working out a fire prevention and suppression strategy, you should follow national standards and regulations.
UL 300 Standard
The key requirement of the UL 300 standard is to use wet chemicals to fight commercial kitchen fires. Others include installing fire suppression nozzles in hoods, ducts, and over each piece of cooking equipment. The standard requires biannual fire suppression system servicing as well as hood and ductwork cleaning. Baffle filters
should be cleaned at least once a week.
The NFPA 17A standard states requirements for wet chemical fire extinguishing systems' design, installation, operation, inspection, and maintenance.
Regular Fire Suppression System Inspections
Professional fire suppression system inspections should be done at least twice a year. They can help keep the system in top shape. The expert checks such things as:
• Link lines
• Nozzle blow caps
• Pressure gauges
• The functionality of control components and actuators
• Piping and copper tubing's tightness
• Electrical interlocks' functionality
• Physical damage
• Maintenance tags and certificates (including test dates for cylinders and regulators)
• Position of detectors
• Condition of system cartridges
• And much more
Between the professional inspector's visits, you should perform the following monthly checks:
• Check if nozzles are pointed in the right direction
• Remove grease or dirt inside the hood or duct
• Make sure all indicators are working
• Check the date of the last professional inspection
In case the system goes off to extinguish a fire, it's important to get professional assistance for recharging and restarting it.
Paying special attention to the system's installation can help you avoid serious problems in the future. It must be installed by a certified professional.
Keeping Your Commercial Kitchen Safe