Kitchens are home to hot surfaces and high-heat equipment that come into contact with oils and grease. A commercial kitchen fire suppression system is necessary to mitigate the risks of these fire hazards, save lives, save property, and save businesses untold amounts of money in fire damages.
Furthermore, your business is required by law to protect your employees and patrons in the event of a fire. Plus, you will likely want to protect your valuable equipment and business as well.
Fire extinguishers are great fire protection tools, but kitchen fires move quickly. You or your staff might not have time to safely extinguish a commercial kitchen fire with an extinguisher alone.
Fire suppression systems are essential for commercial kitchens because they efficiently and safely extinguish kitchen fires at the most common source, the cooking surface. If you operate a restaurant in the Houston, TX area or are considering opening a restaurant, you need to find a fire protection partner that you can trust.
Industrial Fire is a local Houston area business that is proudly family-owned and operated. We not only sell fire suppression systems, but we also install, repair, and perform all legally required maintenance and inspections. Fire protection systems are vital safety assets in a kitchen.
If you’re still not sold on a restaurant fire suppression system, continue reading. We will cover all of the important information you need to know about commercial kitchen fire suppression and fire protection.
How Does a Commercial Kitchen Fire Suppression System Work?
If you don’t have any experience with fire suppression systems, it is helpful to understand how they work. By understanding how a commercial kitchen fire suppression system works, you will see how it can be beneficial in protecting your business’s employees and valuable assets.
When a fire is detected, and your fire suppression system is tripped, several things happen simultaneously. Your fire suppression system should have a gas valve that cuts off the gas supply. By cutting off the gas, your fire suppression system eliminates a fire’s fuel source.
A microswitch in the fire suppression system cuts off electrical power to the appliances underneath the hood. A cartridge actuates which pushes a wet chemical extinguishing agent through the piping system at approximately 150 miles per hour. This wet chemical extinguishes the fire and undergoes “saponification” which basically means the wet chemical forms a soapy blanket that prevents oxygen from reaching the fire—more on this below.
Speaking of oxygen, another thing that happens during this initial flurry of activity is that the supply air is supposed to shut off because feeding oxygen to a fire is a no-no.
Many kitchen fires are also fueled by oil or grease. Grease and oil fires can burn quickly, spread fast, and even reignite in some cases. Trying to use water to extinguish these fires will only make them worse and cause them to spread.
Fire suppression systems utilize distribution piping to carry wet chemical extinguishing agents to nozzles, like the ones you see in fire sprinklers, installed in the hoods above your cooking stations. These nozzles disperse wet chemical extinguishing agents when the fire suppression system is tripped.
The agent that is dispersed is explicitly designed to suppress and put out grease and oil fires. These chemical agents are also designed to prevent grease or oil fires from reigniting.
In addition to the dispersal of a wet chemical extinguishing agent, your fire suppression system should 1) shut off the supply air, as we mentioned earlier BUT 2) continue the exhaust fan in the kitchen hood to remove smoke from your kitchen.
When fire suppression systems are properly installed and maintained, they will put out a kitchen fire in mere seconds. The speed at which these fire protection systems work is critical in a kitchen.
All of the functions described above need to happen simultaneously. Kitchen fires can rapidly spread and get out of control. Fire suppression systems not only protect the people in your kitchen and restaurant, but they also protect your property and equipment.
Are There Manual Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems?
Yes, kitchen suppression systems are required to have a manual option. This manual option is usually a pull station. Our advice to local Houston restaurants, or anyone reading this post, is to get a fire protection system that is UL-Listed which can be activated both automatically and manually.
Automatic activation can help extinguish fires as soon as they sense flames or heat rises above an accepted temperature level. Therefore, automatic systems are important for safety, and you should always ensure that your fire protection system includes automatic activation that is properly maintained through required semi-annual PMs through an authorized distributor for the manufacturer of your fire suppression system, be it ANSUL®, Amerex, Buckeye, or Kidde.
Manual system activation is an important feature to have as well. A kitchen hood fire is unpredictable, and it can spread quickly. If your system’s detection hasn’t been activated yet but fire is just starting, manual activation gives your staff the ability to activate the kitchen fire suppression system before the fire can spread beyond the cooking surfaces.
Do I Need A Fire Suppression System?
If you operate a commercial kitchen with a kitchen hood, then you are required by law to have a fire suppression system.
- fast-food restaurants
- sit-down restaurants
- hospital kitchens
- kitchens at outdoor sporting events
- seasonal kitchens, and more.
If you are producing food for commercial sale, you are likely required to have a fire suppression system in your kitchen.
Beyond the legality of the issue, fire protection is critical for anyone who wants to minimize a fire’s destructive potential. Don’t cut corners. Make sure that you invest in a fire suppression system that will promote the safety of your staff, customers, and property.
Fire Suppression Systems in Houston, TX
For nearly eight decades, Industrial Fire has been a distinguished provider of exceptional service and highly skilled certified technicians in the Houston area.
Industrial Fire is proud to call the Houston area home. We are a family-owned business founded and operated in Texas. If you’re looking for a fire suppression system and related services, don’t settle for anything less than an expert.
Entrust your fire suppression system’s efficiency to a company with a proven history, like Industrial Fire. We gladly share our insights on the specific needs of your business and the reasons behind them.
At Industrial Fire, transparency and integrity are our guiding principles. We never conceal expenses or take shortcuts. With fire safety as our top priority, you can be confident that for all your fire suppression needs in Houston, TX, Industrial Fire is the company to rely on.