A kitchen fire is something no restaurant owner wants to think about. While restaurant operators should be taking steps to prevent fires from starting in the first place, there is always a risk that something could go wrong. Luckily, fire codes require commercial kitchens to include fire suppression systems that can stop a fire before it gets out of control.
As with any piece of life safety equipment, kitchen fire suppression systems need to be inspected regularly. Kitchen fire suppression system inspections have three main purposes:
- Ensure the system is functioning properly
- Prevent unwanted/untimely discharge
- Ensure the system will a pass code enforcement inspection or insurance audit
Whether your restaurant’s suppression system is brand new or has been active for years, here is what restaurant owners need to know about fire suppression system inspections.
Professional inspections should take place at least semi-annually
NFPA codes require that kitchen fire suppression systems be inspected by a trained and certified technician every six months. Not only does this help ensure that your system is in peak operating condition, but also a certified professional will have access to genuine replacement parts as well as up-to-date manuals and knowledge.
Fire suppression professionals will conduct an in-depth inspection and testing of each of the components of your system, including:
- Appliance, duct, and plenum nozzles and nozzle blow off caps
- Link line and detectors
- Functionality and accessibility of actuators and control components
- Functionality of remote pull station
- Condition of pressurized and non-pressurized tanks
- Verification of test dates for cylinders and regulator
- Tightness of piping
- Functionality of all electrical interlocks
The standards applicable to automatic dry- or wet-chemical fire-extinguishing systems also contain cylinder inspection and testing requirements. Cylinders for dry chemical kitchen hood extinguishing systems must be examined every 6 years to check for caking, and hydrostatically tested every 12 years. Cylinders for wet chemical kitchen hood extinguishing systems must be hydrostatically tested every 12 years.
Conduct your own in-house inspection monthly
While it is required that a trained and certified technician inspect your system every six months, the restaurant owner or kitchen manager should perform a basic visual inspection every month.
- Check that all nozzles are pointed directly at the right appliance
- Check buildup of grease or dirt within the hood/duct
- Ensure the system gauges are "in the green" and in operable range
- Make sure the tamper indicator is intact
- Ensure the pull station is easily accessible and not blocked
- Look at the tag and verify the date of the last professional inspection
Call your fire suppression specialist any time the system is activated
If your kitchen fire suppression system goes off for any reason, it’s time to call in your fire protection company. It’s important to make sure your system is properly recharged, your electricity and gas are turned back on, and you can get back to serving your customers as quickly as possible. If there is any damage to the system, repairs will need to be completed before the cylinders can be refilled and the system recharged.
Keep a copy of your inspection results for code compliance and insurance records
After the inspection has been completed and the acceptance test has been approved, the technician will provide documentation of compliance for your restaurant. This documentation includes:
- New properly marked service tag
- Notes of any repairs that were made or discrepancies to be addressed
- A Commercial Cooking System Service and Inspection Report, left on site and sent to the local fire department
Be sure to always keep this documentation on-hand to maintain compliance with codes and insurance requirements.
When your top priority is serving the best possible food to your guests, the last thing you want to worry about is the condition of your fire suppression system. Avoid the hassle by partnering with a fire protection company that handles all the details for you, from tracking your inspection records to completing repairs and maintenance. That way, you can focus on doing what you love—running a remarkable restaurant!