inspection

Fire Hose Testing

Occupant Use Fire Hoses

The small hoses inside facilities are typically referred to as “Occupant Use Hoses.” This is a reflection of the fact that professional fire services will not use these hoses, but their own professional-grade hoses. Very seldom, if ever, will a fire department utilize the hose available within a facility and one of the reasons is that the hose is not maintained by the fire department so they cannot be sure of its maintenance history and current state.

So, what are occupant use fire hoses for?

Occupant use fire hoses were originally intended for building occupants to use like they would an extinguisher, to fight incipient stage fires. Concerns of liability have changed this standard though and most companies do not encourage employees to fight incipient stage fires. Employee safety should always be your primary concern. Before deciding whether your facility should allow the use of hoses for incipient stage firefighting, look closely at your hazards, resources, and safety issues.

One special use of fire hoses is during a time when your sprinkler system may be down for repairs or improvements. Having a fire hose charged and available can provide protection during this vulnerable time. It may also be a precaution you can take when hot work is being done in your facility. During any hot work activity, it is possible for sparks to smolder for a long period of time which may result in a fire. While an extinguisher can also be used, extinguishers only provide a few seconds of discharge which may not be sufficient during hot work situations.

Why do fire hoses need to be inspected?

Like any Life Safety inspection, the purpose of fire hose inspections is to ensure it is in operable condition for use during an emergency. There is a specific concern with fire hoses, since they operate under pressure from the water flow, if there is a break in a worn and unmaintained hose it can cause a portion of the hose to whip around uncontrollably, potentially causing injury.

When should you have your hoses inspected professionally?

Every year, or after any use, you should have your fire hose inspected by a professional for a visual hose, nozzle and coupling inspection. During this inspection, your Life Safety Partner will unrack, unreel/unroll and physically inspect your hose to determine that the hose, couplings, and any nozzle have not been vandalized, they are free of debris, and exhibit no evidence of mildew, rot or damage by chemicals, burns, cuts, abrasion or vermin. They will also check that nozzle controls and adjustments operate properly, inspect gaskets for presence, tight fit, and deterioration, and couplings for damage, corrosion, and rotation.

Within 5 years of manufacture, and every 3 years after that, your Life Safety Partner should perform a Hose Pressure Service Test. Using a hose testing machine, they will raise the hose pressure slowly to 45 psi and bleed off air, then raise the pressure slowly until the service test pressure is attached and maintained for 3 minutes.

Please note, these testing and inspections requirements are for occupant use fire hoses. If you have a fire brigade and a structural fire brigade hose cabinet, then both testing and inspection must be completed on an annual basis.

What self-inspections should you do to check for problems in between professional inspections?

In between your annual inspection, it’s a good idea to have someone assigned to perform a brief visual inspection of your fire hose. This can be done at the same time they perform your monthly extinguisher inspections. Look for cracks, weak areas, signs of fraying, vandalism of any type, and broken couplings. If you see signs of any damage, you should contact your Life Safety Partner for assistance.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

The Cost of False Alarms

We all know the annoyance of false alarms – they interrupt our day and our business. According to a recent report from the NFPA, the cost of false alarms extends far beyond the time and money lost by those working where the false alarm occurs.

In 2014, according to the NFPA, in the U.S. fire departments responded to almost 2.5 million false alarms. That’s almost twice the total number of reported fires and five times the number of structure fires. Responding to false alarms costs our nation’s fire service in the form of fuel expenses, wear and tear on firefighter gear and apparatus, the risk of collision and injury during response, and a growing complacency among first responders to automatic alarms.

It is imperative that property owners and managers have the correct inspections and maintenance performed on their systems to reduce the number of false alarms and lower the overall cost currently experienced by our fire service organizations. Here are some tips from A1 on managing and minimizing false alarms.

true cost of false alarmsSource: BuildingReports<http://www,buildingreports.com>, October 26, 2016

 

Online inspection reports make staying in compliance easier

Web based inspections provide easily accessible and organized, documented proof that your life safety systems are up to date and performing properly.

All life safety systems require inspections and maintenance to ensure they will function properly in an emergency to keep your people and assets safe. Traditionally, inspections are performed, and the manager or owner is provided with a written receipt stating the inspections and systems checked. This paper report must be kept on hand for inspectors from your AHJ, so it is imperative to keep your inspection reports organized and easily accessible. Detailed inspection reports assist fire and safety officials in enforcing safety regulations easily in their jurisdiction, while they provide building owners/property managers with peace of mind knowing that their life safety systems are in compliance.

If your inspection reports do not show details for each device inspected, how can you be sure your inspector was thorough and that each system is working? Along with the detailed inspection reports, your inspector should provide you with any pertinent information about your system such as work performed, issues found and suggested solutions. When your inspections are complete, you should be more knowledgeable about your life safety systems.

Online inspection reports: detailed, secure, always available

inspection report

Web based inspection reports include a full disclosure of who, what, when, and where each device was inspected. With the available technology today, why leave your inspection reports in the past? Online inspection reports provide convenience and assurance that all devices are inspected. They also allow you to check your inspection reports anytime, anywhere on a secure database and give you access to all of your information in one convenient location. You can stay organized, request a service call, and see up to five years of inspection reports. Within a matter of minutes, you’ll find exactly what problems were detected and resolved during your recent inspection. The online inspection report system scans the recall database for devices used at your facility, if a recalled item is found you will receive an email notification alerting you to the issue.

Proven inspection process: thorough and efficient

While detailed inspection reports are important, they are only as good as the inspection process behind them. Ask your inspection company what processes they have for their inspectors to ensure each device is inspected. You need your inspections to be accurate; it is important for your business that inspections also be efficient to limit interruptions to your business.

A1’s proven inspection process and online reports provide a better way to accurately track each device in your facility and keep a detailed record of inspections and maintenance.

How it Works:

·         All devices are barcoded, labeled, and scanned.

·         The scan is logged on your inspection report with a date and time stamp.

·         The device is checked against the product recall database. If a recall is found, an automatic notification is sent to the manager/owner.

·         The report is available online 24/7/365.

 

Do you know what inspections you need? For a complete review of required inspections see A1’s Inspections Guide.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Nick Duke

 

 

 

 

Nick Duke

Commonly Overlooked Test and Inspection Requirements

Life safety systems such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers, fire pumps, and fire alarms all have required tests and inspections to ensure they are running properly. Fire safety systems protect lives and property, and where they are required to be installed there is an authority (such as the AHJ or Fire Department) to inspect them and ensure compliance with state and federal laws.

While many people look at these inspections as a hassle, they actually benefit the building or business owners, and those that utilize the building.

Fire safety inspections offer:

  • A safer shopping, work or living environment;
  • Business and job security, as up to 80% of all small businesses that experience a large fire never reopen, and those that do reopen stand to lose much of their customer base due to prolonged closures;
  • A building with an improved resale value, as many buyers will have a building inspected for fire or safety hazards, or areas not up to code.
  • A potential for lower insurance premiums, some items on the inspection checklist may be required by both the fire department and your insurance company (such as an annual fire sprinkler and fire alarm inspection), many insurance companies provide premium reductions to businesses for a properly installed and maintained fire protection system.

For a complete list of fire safety devices and their required inspection schedules, check out our Inspections Guidebook. But below are a few of the most commonly missed safety device inspections.

  1. Sprinkler Head Testing

If you have a Sprinkler System you should have the system regularly inspected and tested. But did you know that you also need to have the Sprinkler Heads tested?

A fire sprinkler head is the component of a fire sprinkler system that discharges water when the effects of a fire have been detected, such as when a predetermined temperature has been exceeded. It is critical for the sprinkler head to be clear of obstructions, as well as corrosion, paint or other foreign material, which may prohibit it from working properly.

Required Inspections: Every 10 Years for dry type sprinkler heads; Every 20 Years for Sprinkler Heads with a Fast Response Element; at 50 Years all Sprinkler Heads must be tested and from this point must be tested every 10 years; at 75 Years all Sprinkler Heads must be tested and testing must be done every 5 years.

Find out what type of Sprinklers Heads you have and how old they are to determine what testing you need to schedule! Call A1 or your Fire Protection company for help.

  1. Sprinkler Standpipesstandpipe1

Standpipe systems are a series of pipe which connect a water supply to hose connections, basically an extension of the fire hydrant system. They are designed to provide a pre-piped water system for building occupants or the fire department. Standpipe systems are designed to provide fire protection water for hose lines in strategically placed locations inside a building or structure. They are most common in large floor area buildings, where most of the facility may be some distance from an outside entrance, or in multistory buildings to prevent long lengths of hose in stairwells and on the ground.

Required Testing and Inspections: If you have a Standpipe system in your building, it is required to be inspected annually. Various testing of equipment is also required, for example a flow test must be performed every 5 years. According to NFPA 25 2011 (6.3.1), a flow test shall be conducted every 5 years at the hydraulically most remote hose connections of each zone of an automatic standpipe system to verify the water supply still provides the design pressure at the required flow. Check out A1’s Standpipe Systems Ebook for more detailed information about Standpipes.

 

  1. Sprinkler Cabinets sprinkler cabinet

If you have a Sprinkler System, you are required to have a Sprinkler Cabinet with spare sprinkler heads, a sprinkler head wrench, and a list of all sprinkler head locations on site. NFPA requires a certain number of each type of sprinkler heads used in your sprinkler system to be stored on-site to allow for immediate removal and replacement of sprinklers that may have been operated or become damaged.

Required Inspection: According to NFPA 25 (5.4.1.5), a supply of at least six spare sprinklers shall be maintained on the premises so that any sprinklers that have been operated or been damaged in any way can be promptly replaced. A5.4.1.5 states that a minimum of two sprinklers of each type and temperature rating installed should be provided.

 

Tips for your fire inspection

Meet with your inspector before they begin to ask what devices they will be looking at. Provide the inspector with copies of all your system and equipment inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) reports. Have someone accompany the inspector to take notes on areas you need to address.

 

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

David Strunk

How to Perform a Monthly Inspection of your Fire Extinguishers

Have you ever noticed that paper tag on your fire extinguishers? Flip it over! That’s for recording a monthly inspection.

All fire extinguishers are required by law to be properly inspected, tested and maintained. Fire extinguishers must be given a monthly visual inspection, an annual inspection and maintenance, and hydrostatic testing completed every 12 years.

If the proper fire extinguisher is used correctly, more than 90% of fires are extinguishable so it’s very important to make sure your extinguishers are in good working order.  The professional who conducts your annual inspections and maintenance can perform the monthly inspection (which will include checking seals and updating your online reports), or you can designate an employee to perform a more basic monthly inspection to check for repairs that would require a professional. Either way, EVERY EXTINGUISHER on the premises must be inspected EVERY MONTH according to NFPA 101(00), NFPA-10 and State of Ohio State Fire Code*.

How to perform a basic visual inspection of a Fire Extinguisher:extinguisher tag2

  1. Check that the extinguisher is in the designated place.
    (remember how far away from hazards different extinguishers should be?)
  2. Check the canister for dents or scratches.
    Anything that intrudes into the canister more than 1/16 of an inch makes it a deficient extinguisher.
  3. Check the hose for blockages.
  4. Make sure the gauge is reading in the green range.
  5. Ensure the pull pin is inserted properly.
  6. Make sure the hose is properly secured.
  7. Make sure there are no obstructions to access or visibility, and that operating instructions are facing forward.
  8. Initial and date the tag, to reflect inspection information.

If problems are found with any of the above items (dents, hose blockages, gauges not in the green range, pull pin missing, or hose cannot be properly secured to canister), call A1 as your extinguisher will need to be replaced or repaired.

For Rechargeable Extinguishers, if the following problems are found, call A1 for help as corrections or replacement of the extinguisher must be made:

  1. Safety seals are broken or missing.
  2. There is evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.
  3. Pressure gauge readings are not in the proper range or position (green).
  4. Operating instructions are not legible.
  5. Fullness cannot be confirmed by weighing or lifting.

For Nonrechargeable Extinguishers, if the following problems are found, call A1 for help as the extinguisher must be removed from use:

  1. There is evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.
  2. Pressure gauge readings are not in the proper range or position.
  3. Operating instructions are not legible.
  4. Fullness cannot be confirmed by weighing or lifting.

Note: Nonrechargeable extinguishers can be identified by markings such as “Discharge and Dispose of After Any Use,” “Discharge and Return to Manufacturer After Any Use,” or simply, “Nonrechargeable.”

 

So that’s a monthly inspection! Repeat the process for EVERY EXTINGUISHER to make sure you are compliant with State of Ohio Fire Code*.

 

Will Buchholz

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198. Check out our Workplace Fire Extinguisher Training!

 

* NFPA 101(00), Sec. 9.7.4.1 and Ohio Administrative Code 1301:7-7-09 require that portable fire extinguishers be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. In other words, all fire extinguishers are required by law to be properly inspected, tested and maintained.

Fire Door Inspection

Fire Doors play a vital role in your facility’s fire protection plan.  Like fire and smoke dampers, they prevent the flow of toxic smoke and fumes throughout the facility by creating isolated compartments.  These devices hide in plain sight and are plagued with DIY modifications, blockages, and code violations.   It is critically important to make sure your doors are regularly inspected for compliance.

A1’s system of inspections provides barcodes for all devices in your facility, ensuring that each item – including fire doors – is inspected and included in your report. Reports are accessible 24/7/365 at www.a1ssi.com, so your report is available when you need it.

 

Self-Inspection

Make sure your fire doors are in proper working order, do a self-inspection today!

  • Additional locks impeding egress in case of emergency and compromising door integrity
  • Check that your fire doors are able to open and close easily.
  • Ensure the floor space on each side of the door is clear of obstructions.
  • No additional locks, security devices, or door modifications are installed that would impede the door being opened during an emergency.
  • The self-closing device is functioning.
  • Latching hardware operates and secures the door when it is in the closed position.

Check out the most common deficiencies so that you can avoid or correct them!

Professional Inspection

A functional test must be performed by a professional who can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the operational components of the door. A functional test of fire doors is required on an annual basis (NFP 80 NFPA 101) and corresponding reports must be kept for the AHJ.

During an inspection by A1, inspectors will barcode, label and scan each fire door in your building. The scan is logged with a date and time stamp and digital pictures are taken of the fire doors in the open and closed state. The doors are checked against the product recall database to ensure the safety of your employees and facility. When your inspection is complete, simply logon to Inspection Reports at www.a1ssi.com to view the full report.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Greg Lane

Weekly Testing of Diesel Fire Pumps

In accordance with 2014 NFPA 25: Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, diesel fire pumps must go through not only an annual flow test, but also a weekly churn test (sometimes called a no-flow test or an operating test).

The standard procedure for a weekly test on a diesel fire pump is as follows:

INSPECTION:

Before any testing, follow the attached checklist to ensure the conditions are correct and the pump is ready to be tested.

TESTING:

  1. Use a fire pump churn test log to verify steps completed (see link.)
  2. Notify your alarm company and facility representatives of the pending churn test.
  3. Review the fire pump assembly nameplates, noting the voltage rating, rated speed, and churn pressure for the unit.
  4. Record the suction and discharge pressures. Record the current pressure reading as well as the highest and lowest pressures indicated on the fire pump controller event log. If these values are outside of the expected range, a record of the entire event log must be made and further investigation must be conducted, with corrective action being taken.
  5. Check the area surrounding the relief valve or cooling water discharge outlets to ensure there are no apparent conditions that would stop water from being discharged safely or cause direct damage to the area. If the discharge area is subject to potential freezing conditions, the facility representative should be advised.
  6. To limit the exposure of the connected systems to the surge or pressure during the start-up of the pump, consider closing discharge control valve prior to conducting the test.
  7. Simulate an automatic start for the fire pump by creating a pressure drop in the sensing line to the fire pump controller. This can be accomplished by slowly opening the drain valve on the sensing line located near the fire pump controller until the fire pump starts automatically. Do not use the “start” button when simulating an automatic start. Note the start time of the fire pump to measure the run time and record the starting pressure.

For pressure-actuated fire pump controllers that use an automatic timer, an automatic opening of a solenoid valve in the sensing line to the controller might be used to simulate the automatic start of the fire pump. These systems must include a record of the pressure drop on the pressure recorder for the controller.

  1. Observe the amount of time required for the diesel engine to crank. Any delays in starting the engine should be investigated and corrective action should be taken. Typically, the controller will attempt three 15-second crank cycles before registering a failure-to-start trouble condition.
  2. Check the operating speed of the diesel engine and note the time needed to reach the rated (should be within 20 seconds). The measurement can be taken with a handheld tachometer. Note that the use of a strobe-type handheld tachometer requires advance preparation prior to the test for proper measurement, including the application of a reflective tape on the shaft and/or removal of protective covers that shield the rotating shaft.
  3. Observe the engine instrument panel to ensure that the engine oil pressure, operating speed, water and oil temperature, and charging rate are within the acceptable range. Check approximately every 5 minutes during the test.
  4. Check the fire pump packing gland for a slow drip of water, adjusting the packing gland nuts as needed to achieve about 1 drip/second. For safety, the adjustment should be made when the pump is not running. Exercise care to ensure the glands are not tightened to the point of breaking.
  5. Monitor the fire pump operation for any unusual vibration, noise, or other sign of malfunction.
  6. For radiator-cooled diesel fire pumps, verify that the operation of the circulation (casing) relief valve has a steady stream of water to ensure proper cooling of the pump case.
  7. For heat exchanger-cooled diesel fire pumps, verify that the heat exchanger has a proper flow of cooling water.
  8. If the fire pump is equipped with a main pressure relief valve, verify the operation of the valve such that outlet pressures do not exceed the pressure rating of the piping downstream of the fire pump. Usually, this rating is 175 psi (12.1 bar); however, some systems are designed for higher pressures.
  9. Record the suction and discharge pressures. Note that for vertical turbine pumps, only the discharge pressure is recorded.
  10. Record the pressure at the fire pump controller pressure switch or pressure transducer, and compare it with the discharge pressure recorded above.
  11. Check the packing gland box, shift bearings, and pump casing for overheating about every five minutes during testing. The packing gland box and shaft bearings may be warm to the touch, but the pump casing should remain cool.
  12. Allow the fire pump to continue operating for 10 minutes, checking for overheating periodically. Shut down manually after 10 minutes have elapsed. Some fire pump controllers might include automatic run timers that shut down the pump after a specific amount of time. For these controllers, check the run time for the fire pump to ensure the required 10 minutes has passed.
  13. Reopen the fire pump discharge control valve (if closed) and conduct a valve test downstream of the closed valve.
  14. Inspect and clean any installed intake screens.
  15. Where the fire pump controller is equipped, replace any pressure recorder charts and rewind as necessary.
  16. Restore the fire pump to automatic operating position.
  17. After completing all testing, notify the fire department and/or alarm monitoring company and the facility representative that testing is complete. Reset fire alarm system as necessary. A state certified professional should also be called to correct the deficiency.

Click the link below to download a printable fire pump testing checklist.

Weekly Fire Pump Inspection Checklist

 

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Mike Rossman
Mike Rossman

 

Extinguisher Distance Requirements

Portable extinguisher locations are dependent on both the hazards and the occupancy types. A school will experience different hazards than a doctor’s office. Translating NFPA requirements can be tricky. Here’s the code down to the safest, most basic minimums.

ABC Extinguishers
An ABC extinguisher is the most commonly used extinguisher in facilities today. These extinguishers provide coverage for areas with normal combustibles, flammable liquids, and electrical fires. ABC’s are a fundamental necessity for light to ordinary hazard areas such as schools or offices. Typically, though there are small exceptions depending on extinguisher size, these extinguishers should cover a maximum of 50 ft from a hazard.

D Extinguishers
D Class portable extinguishers suppress combustible metal fires. These extinguishers must be a maximum for 75 ft from the hazard. D’s require more attention during the selection process as their size requirements are dependent on the types of combustible metals present, as well as manufacturer recommendations.

K Extinguishers
K hazards are those involving cooking oils, grease, or any other combustible cooking media. K’s must be located at a maximum of 30 ft from the hazard. I also recommend using a kitchen hood suppression system for large cooking appliances.

CO2 Extinguishers
CO2 extinguishers are used in special hazard areas consisting of equipment or processes of exceptionally high value, unique or irreplaceable assets (museums, archives, art galleries, records storage), or production is of greater value than the equipment itself. CO2’s usually accompany laboratories, mechanical rooms, fuel or battery stations, and flammable liquid storage areas. These extinguishes work by removing the oxygen that fire requires and by cooling the material that’s ablaze. CO2’s are best used for BC rated fires and are usually ineffective when used with an A rated fire. CO2’s must be located at a maximum of 75 ft from the hazard.

Clean Agent Extinguishers
Clean agent extinguishers consist of halons, halotrons and FE-36’s that leave no residue and cause no damage. Like the CO2’s extinguishers protect high-value assets such as computer rooms, telecommunications facilities, process control rooms, museums, archives, marine, hospitals, banks, laboratories, and airplanes. Clean agent extinguishers are ABC rated and must be located at a maximum of 75 ft from the hazard. As an additional note: Halon extinguishers have been discontinued due to their negative environmental effects. FE-36 extinguishers are the recommended replacement for halons.

Extinguishers require a monthly visual inspection to pinpoint any physical damage or tampering with the device. All extinguishers need an annual inspection performed by a certified professional.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Will Buchholz

6 Commonly Neglected Safety Items in Your Facility

Regular maintenance and testing can only help your facility. As they say, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Your fire protection equipment may appear to function on the surface, but failing to check the working order will leave you in a world of hurt. Systems will break down unexpectedly, and you may even shorten the life of your systems altogether. Here are 6 elements to building safety that are often neglected.

  1. Fire Sprinklers: On the surface, your system may seem to be in full working order. Unfortunately, most of the serious threats to a sprinkler system happen within. Pipe corrosion and valve trouble are just two examples. Follow the NFPA guidelines for regular sprinkler inspection and maintenance for your facility.
  2. Blocked Equipment: Any blocked safety equipment is not compliant and is a hazard. Check your sprinklers, exit signs, emergency exits and any other safety system that could be obstructed.
  3. Old Batteries and Lights: Exit signs use light bulbs and back up batteries to function. Neglected signs can have old, leaky batteries or light bulb outages. These issues are not detectable without opening the apparatus. Check each exit light according to NFPA standards to prevent deficiencies. Another option is to install photoluminescent lights. You can read about them here.
  4. Smoke Detectors: Smoke detector sensitivity should be tested regularly as well. Detectors that are too sensitive will trigger nuisance alarms. Conversely, detectors that are not sensitive enough may not detect the presence of smoke and will put occupants in danger.
  5. Fire Doors: NFPA has recently placed more stringent requirements on fire doors. Fire doors must be evaluated to make sure they’ll close and block fire when they need to.
  6. Emergency Plans: Besides your safety systems, you need an emergency action plan. Who uses the extinguishers? How will people get out? These questions are important for everyone’s safety. Changes in building layouts, or operations can make a plan outdated. If you already have an emergency plan, review it regularly. Most importantly, keep occupants informed. Hold a training, distribute instructions, or have signs so everyone knows how to get out.

Facilities management is an incredibly involved process. Something always needs to be fixed. Taking care of these 6 safety items would keep you ahead of the curve with less risk.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

Kitchen Hood Systems Simplified

Cooking is the leading cause of death and destruction from fires in the U.S. Cooking fires account for $16.4 million in property damage annually. Additionally, cooking was the leading cause of fire in all healthcare facilities (nursing home, hospital, mental health facility, clinic or doctors office) according to NFPA US Structure Fires in Health Care Properties Fact Sheet (download it here). Keeping up with your required kitchen hood system inspections is an important part of protecting lives and your facility.

Kitchen hood suppression systems are designed, tested, and approved to provide fire protection for commercial kitchen cooking appliances, hoods, and ducts.

Kitchen hood systems have an efficient, automatic detector response that acts fast to suppress flames. Kitchen hood systems eliminate the need for a constant supply of the suppressing agent and manual shut off of the appliance’s gas and electric, while blocking any danger of a violent reaction that may spread flame or spill cooking oil.

Facilities that should have kitchen hood systems:

  • Gourmet Restaurants
  • Sports Complexes
  • Fast-Food Chains
  • Retail Food Courts
  • Convenience Stores
  • Hotel Kitchens
  • Diners
  • School Cafeterias
  • Food Service Kitchens

Kitchen hood systems will extinguish fires caused by the following:

  • Deep Fryers
  • Ranges
  • Griddles
  • Char-Broilers
  • Woks
  • Upright Boilers
  • Chain-Broilers
  • Filters
  • Plenum Chambers
  • Hoods
  • Ducts

How Do Kitchen Hood Systems Work?

When a fire starts in a protected area, heat sensitive links activate the kitchen hood system. The system stops the cooking appliance’s gas and electric supply. An extinguishing agent releases through nozzles and onto the appliances, plenum and duct.

At the first sign of fire, remember to evacuate the building and call 911. Stand by with a K class extinguisher just in case the system fails to act or a re-flash occurs.

Types of Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems

Wet Chemical Systems

Wet chemical systems are the most commonly used kitchen hood system. The wet chemical agent suppresses fire by cooling and reacting chemically to produce a foam layer on the grease. The foam seals combustible vapors, stopping the flames from re-igniting.

Dry Chemical Systems

Dry chemical systems were used to extinguish flammable liquid fires involving live electrical equipment. Dry chemical interrupts the chemical reaction of fire by removing the oxygen from the source. When the multipurpose dry chemical is discharged, the agent leaves a residue on the burning material. The residue seals the material from the oxygen to suffocate the fire. Unfortunately, because deep fryers are much more insulated than in the past, dry chemical systems are not capable of extinguishing kitchen fires. UL 300 Systems are recommended as a good replacement for dry chemical kitchen hood systems.

UL 300 Wet System

UL 300 systems use wet chemicals to smother the fire (like dry chems) and to prevent re-ignition by cooling the flammable liquids (unlike dry chems). The UL 300 standard represents the heightened suppression innovation to accommodate new, hotter cooking methods and is currently the most effective way to suppress a kitchen hood fire. If you are due to change your kitchen hood system soon, most states will require you to update to a UL 300 system.

Living and Caring for Your Restaurant Fire Suppression System

Have a certified kitchen hood system professional inspect your kitchen hood system every 6-months and immediately after any major hood/duct cleaning. The system should be inspected overall and tested to verify that it is fully operational. Keep in mind that menu, preparation, and layout may require an update to your system. Any updates, again, require a professional.

While a professional should service, test, inspect, recharge or repair a system, NFPA asks system owners to perform a monthly inspection. This inspection is for visible problems with the kitchen hood system.

Check the following during your monthly visual inspection:

  • The extinguishing system is in its proper location.
  • The manual actuators are unobstructed.
  • The tamper indicators and seals are intact.
  • The maintenance tag or certificate is in place.
  • No obvious physical damage or condition exists that might prevent operation.
  • The pressure gauge(s), if provided, is in operable range.
  • The nozzle blow-off caps are intact and undamaged.
  • The hood, duct, and protected cooking appliances have not been replaced, modified, or relocated.

Supplement Your Kitchen Hood System

K-Class fire extinguishers are used to protect against kitchen hazards without leaving residue. These extinguishers are a great supplement to kitchen hood systems and should be present in any commercial cooking environment.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Will Buchholz