Are You Confident Your Commercial Kitchen Fire Suppression System Will Work When Needed

Travis Jolliff

If you operate a commercial kitchen, you know how important your fire suppression system is to protecting your kitchen and the people that work in it in the event of a fire. Regular inspection and maintenance are critical to keeping your fire suppression system in good working order. At Jay L Harman Fire Equipment, we understand the importance of having a reliable commercial kitchen fire suppression system.  We realize your livelihood depends on your installed commercial kitchen fire suppression system responding when needed and doing so in such a manner that damage is minimized. Our goal at Jay L Harman Fire Equipment is to provide you with the basic information you need to ensure that your commercial kitchen fire suppression system will function properly so that you can have the confidence that your system is in compliance and will function as designed when needed. While there are several factors that determine whether or not you should be confident in the reliability and rapid response of your fire suppression system, this article addresses three (3) major areas of concern.

Monthly Inspections

It is important to understand that the responsibility for inspection, testing, maintenance, and recharge of your fire suppression system ultimately falls to the owner of the kitchen in which it resides. Understanding what is required and how to accomplish necessary inspections and maintenance for your system is important to ensuring that it offers the protection you need.

You should be inspecting your system at least once a month in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions. At a minimum, these inspections should include the following:

  • Ensure that the extinguishing system is in its proper location and that neither the protected equipment nor the hazard has been replaced, modified, or relocated
  • Ensure nothing is obstructing the manual actuators and that they haven’t been tampered with
  • Check to see that the maintenance tag or certificate is still in place
  • Check all system pressure gauges to ensure they are within the correct operable range.
  • Ensure all system nozzle blow-off caps are intact and undamaged.
  • Look for any signs of damage to the system or maintenance issues that might impair your system’s ability to function properly.

Semi-Annual Inspections and Maintenance

Although monthly inspections are an important tool to ensure that your system stays in good working order, these inspections do not eliminate the need for more extensive inspections and routine maintenance of your system. NFPA 17A requires a full inspection of your system at least twice a year (semiannually) and after any activation.

Your semi-annual inspections are much more comprehensive and detailed in nature than your monthly inspections and as such, require more time and expertise than monthly inspections do. At minimum, these inspections require the following:

  • Determine if the hazard changed in any way that might make the system less effective?
  • Examine every component of your system – including fire detectors, containers that hold the extinguishing agent, system’s releasing devices, piping, hose assemblies, nozzles, and signals as well as any auxiliary equipment.
  • Check the agent distribution piping throughout your system – ensure there are no obstructions that might prevent the release and/or proper flow of extinguishing agent?
  • Examine the chemical in your system – If there is any evidence of corrosion or pitting or structural damage to the cylinders, the chemical may not feed properly through your distribution system and should be replaced and the system recharged.

Regardless of the type of inspection, whether monthly or semiannual, any problems identified must be properly documented and corrected immediately to ensure the proper functioning of your system at all times.

System Hydrostatic Testing

Hydrostatic testing is an important part of wet chemical extinguishing systems because many kitchens have not experienced and may never experience a fire sufficient to trigger the system. Although a good thing, it means that absent a future fire, the only way to verify your system will in fact function properly when you do need it is to test it. This is why, with few exceptions, the NFPA requires hydrostatic testing at least once every 12 years for the following components:

  • Wet chemical containers
  • Auxiliary pressure containers
  • Hose assemblies

Each of these components must be subjected to a hydrostatic test pressure that is equal to that for which the system was designed. During the test, the goal is to ensure that no leakage, rupture or movement of hose couplings occurs. After testing, any wet chemical agent removed from the containers prior to testing must be discarded, and all the equipment tested should be thoroughly dried. While it may be easy to remember the required monthly and semi-annual inspections of your systems, with 12 years between hydrostatic testing and changes in personnel that can happen during that time, it can be easy to lose sight of when your next test is due. This can lead not only to compliance issues but more importantly a system that may not function properly when a fire breaks out in your kitchen.

How Much Confidence Do You Have in Your Commercial Kitchen Fire Suppression System?

Don’t leave the reliability of your commercial kitchen fire suppression system to chance.  Contact the professionals at Jay L Harman Fire Equipment today. If you have any questions about the requirements of NFPA 17A or need help with inspections and routine maintenance of your fire suppression system, contact Jay L Harman Fire Equipment.  Our technicians are factory-trained and certified in all the major fire suppression systems protecting commercial kitchens today. We can help you get peace of mind in knowing that your kitchen has a safe and reliable fire suppression system at all times.

The Jay L Harman Fire Equipment team understands your firefighting needs and is ready to help

The team at Jay L Harman Fire Equipment understands that you will have many burning questions on your mind when it comes to choosing the right fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems for your business.

Jay L Harman Fire Equipment is the only distributor of OVAL low-profile fire extinguishers in all of West Texas and New Mexico.

Jay L Harman is the best and one of the biggest firefighting equipment suppliers and service providers in the region, specializing in fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, fire fighting protective gear, fire hoses and more. Serving El Paso TX, Las Cruces NM and the surrounding areas, we pride ourselves on buying local and hiring local whenever possible.

Contact Jay L. Harman Fire Equipment in El Paso TX at 915-533-7021 or Las Cruces NM at 575-523-8880. Since 1925, we have protected businesses throughout the area from the harms and hazards of fires. Every Jay L Harman technician is licensed and regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance State Fire Marshal’s Office.  Each of these technicians continually receives the most up-to-date factory training and certifications by our manufacturers. Contact Jay L Harman Fire Equipment today. Let our friendly and knowledgeable staff tell you more about our fire suppression systems and help you find the ideal fire suppression system for your needs. Learn more about our full offering of fire extinguisher trainingfirefighting servicesfirefighting productsrequest a quote, ask a question or request additional information.