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Essential Fire Suppression Tips for Restaurants & Commercial Kitchens

Can’t Stand The Heat, Get Out Of The Kitchen

As the saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you’re a restaurant owner or have a commercial kitchen on your facilities, selecting the right fire suppression system is important to the safety of your employees, customers and property. It’s a big decision. Selecting and installing the right restaurant fire suppression system in your kitchen requires a lot of thought – and necessitates trained and experienced professionals to perform the installation. Here are some basics of fire prevention units so you can withstand the heat in your restaurant’s kitchen.

Today’s kitchen appliances are more efficient at creating heat. Grills get hotter faster. Commercial fryers have improved insulation that increase the cool time of fryer oils. Restaurants are using non-trans fat oils (class B fire risk) which present new challenges for putting out commercial kitchen fires. These types of advancements are great for cooking efficiency, but they also make it even more important to the safety of your restaurant that you have a quality fire protection system installed.

There are two basic designs of fire extinguishing systems for restaurant and commercial kitchens:

  1. Appliance specific designs that create a customized fire suppression system for your kitchen setup.
  2. Overlapping design that is set up to overlay fire extinguishing liquids and eliminate fire from an entire area.

Appliance specific designs are for kitchens with stationary appliances. The appliance specific design is the most efficient at eliminating fires because it has nozzles aimed directly at each appliance. Each appliance also has a nozzle spray pattern that is specific to the appliance type. This means that each kitchen appliance has a specific fire protection application. Using this design helps reduce the number and size of liquid fire suppressant tanks you’ll need installed. Since you are required to have your suppression storage tanks inspected every year and your fire suppression system semi-annually, this can be a nice benefit over time.

If your kitchen is set up in a way that doesn’t require you to move your cooking equipment around, an appliance specific design might be the best fire management system for your restaurant or kitchen. However, if you want to easily modify and rearrange your restaurant’s cooking equipment kitchen setup, you may want to choose an overlapping fire suppression system design.

An overlapping design allows for flexibility and simplicity in your kitchen setup. An overlapping fire suppression design is set up in a straight line over the cooking equipment. The distance between each nozzle and the distance between the nozzles and the appliance will vary by manufacturer but are generally between 30 and 66 cm between nozzles and between 101 and 114 cm from the cooking surface. The overlapping design creates a fire protection area and allows you to rearrange or replace appliances within the protected zone without upgrading your fire suppression system.

Whether it’s an appliance specific or an overlapping setup that meets your needs, a fire suppression system will help you “stand the heat” in your kitchen. It’s always best to check with your local fire suppression system expert to determine which system will work best for your restaurant.

Australian Standards related to the above article:

AS 2444 – Portable Fire Extinguisher and Fire Blankets

AS 1851 – Service and Maintenance of Fire Protection Equipment

NCC (National Construction Code) – 2019

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