The kitchen is the heart of your restaurant but also the most dangerous, with workers using dangerous utensils, oil being heated every day and the possibility of a fire breaking out. According to the Department of Fire & Emergency Services, an estimated $5,050,700.00 worth of kitchen fire damage was caused in WA, in 2010-11 alone.
For many restaurant owners, this is the appeal of a fire suppression system comes into play! Not only will you be safeguarding your staff, but you may protect yourself from financial and legal struggles.
What Is A Fire Suppression System?
A fire suppression system can be separated into two cooking station connections:
- The gas lines
- The vents.
When the fire suppression system is triggered, it will automatically cut off a restaurant’s gas connection with will stop the source of the fire and prevent it from spreading further, but kitchen grease fires may continue to burn, which is why there is a second stage to fire suppression systems.
A collection of nozzles will be installed inside the hoods of your cooking station. When triggered, the system will then release water-based chemicals, which are specially designed to put out grease fires, to put the rest of the flames. This vapour blanket will prevent it from re-igniting and spreading to other parts of the kitchen.
The final step of the system is that the kitchen hood will automatically turn on and remove any lingering smoke from the kitchen. Customers will not even realize there was a fire to begin with!
Are Fire Suppression Systems A Necessity?
A lot of restaurants do not have fire suppression systems. It is important to have one installed though, no matter what location. If there are kitchens then there is a possibility of a fire spiralling out of control and can become devastating to owners, employees, and customers.
A fire can cause huge amounts of debt and potentially close the establishment completely, so a fire suppression system is a worthy investment to protect your business, your customers, and your employees.
How Are Fire Suppression Systems Maintained?
Like any fire suppression system, your kitchen’s system will require some regular maintenance. In general, they must be examined twice a year or semi-annually by a trained clean agent technician, according to National Fire Protection Association 2004.
The first check at the six-month mark will be to check the agent containers. The annual check-up is more in-depth and looks at will all the devices, control panel and nozzles.
How Do Most Restaurant Fires Start?
A report released by the National Fire Protection Association states that restaurant fires occur on an annual average of 8,240 times. This results in an average of 2 deaths, 115 injuries, and $245 million in damage. The reports also say that 40% of restaurant fires originate in the kitchen, 20% of which include the stove being involved.
Kitchens are extremely hazardous owing to the amount of oil, fats, and grease present. Oil can be flammable due to the high temperatures required for cooking. Food (including oil, fats, and grease) is reported to be the first to ignite in 42% of restaurants, according to the NFPA.
Another way kitchen fires can start is from the ductwork and exhaust system. When flames enter the vents and fans behind ovens and burners that remove combustible vapours and smoke and are commonly home to grease accumulation, fires can quickly spread.
How Often Should You Clean Your Kitchen Hood?
The kitchen hood is an underrated tool! It works every day to extract potentially dangerous dirty and smoky air, although since it is sucking up grease, fats, and oil there can be build-up that happens. When there is build-up, that provides a major hazard for spreading or igniting fires. Cleaning the hood regularly is strongly advised to provide the optimum performance for your fire suppression system.
If you own a fast-food restaurant, you should clean the hood once a month. Hood cleaning should be done every three months in high-traffic restaurants. Then, for slower-paced restaurants or if you primarily use ovens, hood cleaning should be done semi-annually or annually.
Find the Right Fire Suppression System
There are many things to consider when looking for a fire suppression system, it may become overwhelming! The basics of understanding how to successfully match your needs boils down to these factors, but it is recommended that you find a specialist in fire safety to help you with this process:
- The dimensions of the kitchen to be covered.
- The kitchen equipment your restaurant uses.
- If natural gas is used throughout the kitchen.
- If you need additional add-ons, like heat triggers.
Let Experienced Professionals Take the Stress Out Of Picking the Right System
It can be overwhelming to choose the right system for your restaurant. The skilled and certified experts at Redmen Fire Protection Management can install a variety of fire detection, suppression, and extinguishing systems in Newcastle, Central Coast, Sydney, Maitland, and surrounding areas. We provide state-of-the-art, fire protection systems at reasonable costs.