What Is The NFPA And How Does It Affect You In A Commercial Kitchen?

When you work in a commercial kitchen, there is always a risk for fire. It's important to limit this risk as much as you can, and that's where the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) comes in.

What Is The NFPA?

The National Fire Protection Association is a global nonprofit organization, established in 1896. Their goal is to eliminate death, injury, property damage, and economic loss due to fire, electrical, and other related hazards. The organization works to deliver information and knowledge through training, education, and outreach. The codes and standards they have created have saved countless lives over the past 125 years.

Why Is The NFPA Important?

At the heart of what the NFPA does is its set of codes and standards. They were created to help minimize fire risks and establishing criteria that make building, installation, design, and other services safer all over the world. Much of the work they do involves reviewing input from the public and voting on revisions to their codes and standards to make sure they continue to be effective. The NFPA is important because it helps protect people by setting standards for fire safety worldwide.

NFPA code 96 focuses on cleanliness standards for commercial kitchen exhaust systems. Over time, grease from a busy kitchen can solidify inside of your ventilation ducts, creating a serious fire hazard. Many grease fires are caused by neglected kitchen exhaust systems. NFPA code 96 outlines what areas of your ventilation system need to be cleaned, and how often this buildup should be cleaned by a professional.

What Does Compliance Entail?

To maintain compliance with NFPA 96, you'll need to maintain a proper cleaning schedule and make sure you adhere to their frequency of cleaning recommendations. While this may seem time-consuming, in reality, you're keeping your facility, equipment, and staff safe. If you don't comply with the standards set by NFPA 96, you may fail your inspection or even get shut down due to a neglected cleaned kitchen exhaust system.

What Is Meant By "Frequency Of Cleaning?"

Different types of commercial kitchens handle different volumes of cooking and therefore need to be cleaned at different frequencies. Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations should be inspected monthly. Systems serving high-volume cooking operations such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking should be inspected quarterly. Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operations should be inspected twice a year, and systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses, or senior centers should be inspected manually. Upon inspection, if a grease buildup is found, you'll need to have your ventilation system professionally cleaned.

What Items Can Be Marked As Deficiencies?

When inspected, your hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other parts of your ventilation system are inspected for grease and sludge. If grease or sludge is detected, it needs to be cleaned until the bare metal is showing. You'll also need access doors or panels so that when you're cleaning the system, you can access all parts. If you don't have these doors, it can be marked as a deficiency.

You'll also need documentation from the exhaust cleaning company to show when your ventilation systems were last cleaned. This documentation will prove when it was last cleaned and will help you legally in the case that a fire happens in your kitchen.

What Happens If Deficiencies Are Not Fixed?

If your commercial kitchen is found to have deficiencies in the cleanliness of your exhaust system, this can result in your kitchen being shut down. A neglected exhaust system creates a hazard for your property and your staff, and if a grease fire were to happen when your exhaust system was noncompliant, you may be seen as negligent.

Pronto MS can help your commercial kitchen maintain compliance with NFPA 96. Contact us for more information!