Installation And Operational Requirements For Wet Chemical Fire Suppression Systems – Part 1

Travis Jolliff

Wet chemical fire suppression systems use a suppression tank, which holds the chemical, and fixed piping with nozzles to discharge the chemical agent in the ductwork, plenum space, and cooking surfaces. It is critical that your system be designed for your unique kitchen and installed by contractors who have been certified by the system’s manufacturer. If properly installed, your wet chemical fire suppression system will provide the means for manual activation and will automatically shut off all sources of fuel and electrical power to the equipment protected by that system, including any gas appliance whether protected or not. This 2 part series of articles will discuss the installation and operational requirements for wet chemical fire suppression systems.

Operational Requirements

There are several operational requirements that must be considered during the design and installation. For example, when two or more hazards could be simultaneously involved in a fire based on their proximity, they are considered a single hazard area, and all fire suppression systems for each hazard must be set up to automatically operate simultaneously if any one of them is activated. Generally, hoods installed end to end, back to back, or both, or those sharing a common ductwork with one or more grease-producing appliances located under any of them, are considered a single hazard area. In these cases, your fire suppression systems for each hood must be set to operate all at once if any one of them is activated to minimize the potential for fire to spread from one hood to another. The only exception to this is where the hoods do not share a common exhaust, are separated by a wall, or have some other means to ensure that grease-laden vapors from one hood cannot exhaust to another.

You must have at least one manual actuation device between 10-20 feet from the protected appliances within the path of egress, and all manual activation devices must be separate from your system’s automatic means of activation so that failure of one will not prevent the function of the other. Your means of manual activation can be mechanical or rely on electric power but must:

  • Be readily accessible in the event of a fire and located in a path of egress
  • Clearly identify the hazard protected
  • Not require more than 40 pounds of force or have a pull movement greater than 14 inches (if using a cable pull device)
  • Have a source of standby power (if using an electrical device)

Generally, wet chemical fire suppression systems also must include a supervisory alarm with a reserve power supply to notify you if there’s a problem with the system. In addition, for establishments in which the kitchen is exposed to the dining area, the fire suppression system must also be connected to the fire alarm signaling system to alert your customers in the event of a fire.

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