Commercial Kitchen Fire Safety Regulations Every Restaurant Owner Should Know – Part 4

Travis Jolliff

When it comes to fire, commercial kitchens operate in a very high-risk environment. According to the most recent data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire in eating and drinking establishments resulted in 110 civilian injuries and $165 million in direct property damage. Many of the affected businesses never recovered and had to close their doors for good.

Equipped with any number and combination of ranges, broilers, fryers and ovens operating at very high temperatures in close contact with fats, cooking oils, and other combustibles, commercial kitchens provide an ideal environment for fire. Not surprisingly, cooking equipment was responsible for more than 60 percent of the fires studied by the NFPA, underscoring the importance of following all fire extinguishing equipment requirements for the hoods, ducts, and cooking appliances used in commercial kitchens.

The NFPA 96 Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations provides the requirements to help minimize fire risk and keep your employees and customers safe if a fire breaks out. The standards cover both automatic fire-extinguishing systems that provide primary protection as well as the portable fire extinguishers that provide secondary backup protection. Wet chemical systems are the most common type of automatic fire suppression system used in commercial kitchens today and are recognized by the fire protection industry as the most effective fire suppression system for commercial kitchens available.

This 4 part series will address 4 major areas associated with commercial kitchen fire safety regulations:

  • Class “K” Portable Fire Extinguishers are Required
  • Wet Chemical Fire Suppression Systems in Commercial Kitchens
  • Installation and Operational Requirements
  • Things to Know if You Modify Your Kitchen Set-up

Part 1 addressed the requirement for Class “K” portable fire extinguishers. Part 2 addressed Wet Chemical Fire Suppression Systems. Part 3 addressed Installation and Operational Requirements for Wet Chemical Fire Suppression Systems. This Part 4 will address requirements that must be satisfied if you modify your commercial kitchen set-up.

Things to Know if You Modify Your Kitchen Set-up

Wet Chemical pre-engineered suppression systems are not portable systems and must be installed in accordance with their manufacturer’s instructions and the NFPA 17A NFPA 17A: Standard for Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems.

If you move, reposition, or replace any of the cooking equipment in your kitchen, you must ensure that the fire suppression system for the appliance still meets ANSI/UL requirements, both in terms of how it is installed relative to the appliance and that it is appropriate for the appliance.

In addition, if you make modifications to existing hood systems in your kitchen, you must ensure that any abandoned pipe or conduit from the previous installation is removed from within the hood, plenum, and exhaust duct and any resulting holes or other penetrations be sealed.

Any changes to your grease removal devices, hood exhaust plenums, exhaust ducts, and cooking appliances will trigger the requirement to have your wet chemical fire suppression systems re-evaluated by a qualified technician to ensure it still complies with NFPA 96 and 17A requirements.

Remember, what may seem like a minor modification could change the hazard, potentially rendering your system ineffective. For example, manufacturers of the nozzles used in wet chemical fire suppression systems specify nozzle types and locations based on the cooking appliance used. Given this, simply replacing an appliance can result in non-compliance and worse, fail to provide adequate protection.

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Jay L Harman’s DOT Hydrostatic Testing facility and equipment meet all NFPA requirements for the hydrostatic testing of self contained breathing apparatus compressed gas cylinders in addition to testing ABC portable fire extinguisher cylinders.

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 hoses, hydrostatic testing and more. Serving El Paso TX, Las Cruces NM and the surrounding areas, we pride ourselves on buying local and hiring local whenever possible.

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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 training, firefighting services, firefighting products, request a quote, ask a question or request additional information.