A kitchen suppression system inspection should be performed every six months to ensure fire safety in your commercial kitchen. A digital checklist helps to ensure that the fire suppression system is fully functional. Learn how to best perform the inspections and what to pay attention to.
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A kitchen fire suppression system inspection checklist is used to help make sure that your kitchen hood fire suppression system is fully operational. All parts should be present and functioning as intended, according to the guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Fire Code (IFC). The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) also has rules governing employee health and safety in the event of a fire.
The most relevant fire codes are the NFPA 96, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, and the External Links: IFC Chapter 9, Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems. OSHA 1910 requires that employees be trained in how to use your fire suppression systems – including fire extinguishers.
Regular visual kitchen hood system inspections are vital for fire safety in commercial kitchens. Simply looking at the area above the stoves can tell an entire story. A greasy residue tends to build up in the kitchen hood and air vents due to the grease-laden vapors from frying food. This residue is immensely flammable and can cause a fire to spread throughout your establishment’s duct system.
According to the NFPA, cooking equipment is the leading cause of restaurant kitchen fires, responsible for 61% of incidents. An estimated average of 7,410 fires per year cause about $165 million in direct property damage, 3 deaths, and 110 injuries. The good news is that most (68%) kitchen fires stay confined to the kitchen. They are put out almost immediately and don’t cause a lot of damage. This is where you can really see the value of kitchen fire suppression system inspections.
Take this incident at a restaurant in Washington state, as reported by the NFPA. An aerosol can of insect spray fell into the deep-fat fryer and exploded, spraying hot oil all over the kitchen. The walls of the kitchen caught fire, which then spread through the building.
The deep-fat fryer should have been protected by a dry-chemical fire suppression system – but it didn’t work, because there was no pressure in its cylinder. Luckily, the building had a fire alarm system, so everyone got out in time, but the fire caused $600,000 worth of damage.
Basically, a professional kitchen hood fire suppression system report makes sure that your system will activate, put out the fire, and cut off the power or gas line feeding the kitchen equipment.
It’s best to schedule your professional kitchen suppression system inspection during a time when your establishment is closed, because the kitchen equipment should be switched off and cool during the inspection. Notify all your staff of the inspection, and make sure to tell them that the fire alarm will be off. It’s also a great idea to have your kitchen hood inspection checklist handy.
This is what you can expect during a professional hood system inspection. The inspector would do the following:
Commercial kitchens are required by law to have a kitchen suppression system inspection carried out every six months by a licensed and certified inspector. In addition, a visual hood system inspection needs to be carried out monthly by a trained individual. The monthly inspections can be done by the kitchen owner, manager, or other employees. They should be trained by your fire inspector, or perhaps the system manufacturer or service company, so they know what to look for.
The designated person should be able to check for the following conditions:
When they’ve finished their monthly visual kitchen fire suppression system inspection, they should file a copy with your other fire suppression system paperwork. These files should be kept for at least three years, to be shown to the local fire authority (and your insurance company) upon request.
UL 300 is a stringent fire safety testing system performed by UL (Underwriters Laboratories). The standard’s full name is the "Fire Testing of Fire Extinguishing Systems for Protection of Restaurant Cooking Areas" and it was introduced in 1994.
Systems with a UL 300 certification are designed for the way we cook today. For one thing, restaurants nowadays usually cook with vegetable oils, which get much hotter than the animal fats of yesteryear. For another, modern stoves are well-insulated and maintain a high, constant heat. This is good for our arteries and carbon footprint, but bad when it comes to extinguishing kitchen fires.
An old-fashioned dry kitchen hood fire suppression system doesn’t cool the fire; it simply smothers the flames. An old-style wet-suppression system often doesn’t have enough cooling power to fully extinguish kitchen fires in a modern kitchen. The fire may look like it’s out, but, since temperatures are still high, it can re-ignite just when you think you’re safe.
Most states in the USA require the installation of UL 300-compliant kitchen fire suppression systems in new restaurants, but only a few states mandate an upgrade in existing restaurants. It’s best that you contact your AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) to find out exactly what the rules are for your specific location.
If you can afford it, a UL 300 system is certainly better and safer for your property, customers, and staff. It can also lower your insurance bills. You’ll still need a professional kitchen hood fire suppression system report every six months and a monthly visual inspection, though.
The following kitchen fire suppression systems are UL 300 certified and suitable for new commercial kitchens:
Paper checklists have their pitfalls: lost documents and unshared information and work instructions can have disastrous consequences for kitchen operations. Moving to a digital solution simplifies communication and information sharing.
With Lumiform, a mobile app and desktop software for audits and inspections, you can provide clear and concise kitchen work instructions while monitoring their execution.
Keep track of kitchen inspections by using Lumiform's digital checklists. From now on, perform kitchen checks only paperless, and together with your team, benefit from: