The restaurant business is working at a very high pace, and most action happens in the kitchen. Even if you take every precautionary measure for fire safety, the busy nature of work in the kitchen prevents it from becoming a perfectly safe place. Boiling oil, sizzling pans, splashes of fats – all this mess that caters to the creation of delicious culinary masterpieces is also one of the major sources of fire in the kitchen. That is why every wise entrepreneur understands the importance of installing a fire suppression system.
Besides, according to the NFPA code, every piece of cooking hardware should comply with fire protection standards which includes proper fire suppression systems. However, such systems are useful only if they are properly serviced and maintained. It is crucial to perform regular check-ups that might reveal potential flaws of a fire system that might result in lower fire fighting efficiency. Here we will discuss the importance of having your kitchen fire suppression system inspected.
Why Is Inspecting Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems So Important?
The importance of having a kitchen fire suppression system should be clear to everyone. Yet there are only a few who know that regular servicing is no less crucial. Just like any other system or tool, kitchen fire systems are prone to malfunctioning. Even though manufacturers design these systems as simply as they can be there are still some weak spots where flaws can appear.
To evaluate the functionality of the system
Contrary to fire extinguishers that need servicing once every 3-12 years, fire suppression systems are more complex and, therefore, they require more often and precise check-ups. Their functionality depends not only on the quality of the extinguishing agent or hose condition. There are many more links in this system that are broadly tied to a proper response to the fire outbreak.
– Exterior elements of the system. The first thing to check should be exterior elements such as covering haul, nozzles, tubes, and containers. A covering haul prevents fire suppression systems from the influence of the kitchen’s aggressive environment. Any cracks or dents might lead to the accumulation of dirt on the functional parts of the system. Damaged nozzles can get faulty and fail in the time of need. Tubes or containers with visible flaws might result in problems with extinguishing agent transportation.
– Interior elements of the system. The majority of kitchen fire suppression systems include various sensors that provide the automated fire fighting response. The first type of sensors detect rising levels of temperature on the working surfaces of the kitchen and start dispensing the extinguishing agent. At the same time, another type of sensor cut off the fuel in case of emergency. If the temperature doesn’t trigger the extinguishing process the fire won’t be fought off and if the fuel isn’t cut off, the whole process of extinguishing will have a low impact since the burning will go on. Thus, firefighting will require human help and, as a result, a slower response time and less coordinated actions. Besides sensors, there are a bunch of other electronics that require check-ups in order to provide proper functionality of the system.
– Extinguishing agent of the system. The extinguishing agent of the kitchen suppressing system deserves a separate inspection. Depending on the nature of this agent, NFPA dictates different timeframes for the servicing. The majority of systems use dry or wet chemical agents and such extinguishing agents need to be checked every 12 years.
Forgoing the annual inspection of these components might result in jeopardizing the firefighting capability of the kitchen fire suppression system. This, in its turn, might mean a possible tragic material or even health loss.
To prevent spontaneous discharge
Leaving your fire suppression system unserviced can cause its spontaneous discharge. There are a couple of different reasons why this can happen, from a malfunctioning sensor to a loss of pressure in extinguishing containers. This unpleasant event might lead to the damage of working surfaces in the kitchen or cause minor health injuries. In addition, due to the lack of extinguishing chemicals, the fire fighting efficiency of your protective system will decrease. It is vital to recharge the whole system even if the discharge is minor since the lost amount might make a difference between taming the fire and letting it spread. Besides, it can trigger a drop of pressure followed by a leakage that can result in another spontaneous discharge. Performing regular check-ups is much cheaper than recharging and servicing the whole system, and of course, you’ll be also saving yourself the damage unwanted discharge can cause.
To ensure your system complies with the law and insurance audit
NFPA and State Fire marshals have strict regulations and requirements regarding fire suppression systems. These regulations include everything from the type of extinguishing agent to the coverage area of the sprinklers. Besides, proper servicing is a part of such regulations which means that you have to keep your fire system in perfect shape to comply with the standards. In addition, for the majority of commercial insurance policies, having fire suppression systems in check is a crucial part of a contract. Thus, disregarded inspection might get you into serious trouble in case of fire marshal visits or can lead to serious expenses since you won’t have insurance coverage in case of unfortunate events.
When Is It Time For Kitchen Fire Suppression System Inspections?
All Florida Fire Equipment recommends that you perform check-ups at least semi-annually. There are specific timeframes for the service maintenance of certain parts of the fire system. For instance, hydrostatic tests need to be done every 6-12 years. However, a frequent superficial inspection will help you identify some underlying issues that can cause real problems in the future if disregarded. Taking care of small flaws promptly by calling your fire equipment specialist will help you avoid the crisis and potentially save your kitchen from heavy damage and your business from heavy losses.