Helpful guidelines for maintaining & inspecting kitchen hood fire suppression systems
As restaurant owners much of your responsibility is to make the restaurant comfortable, inviting and an all round great place to be.
Nothing could be worse than the outbreak of a sudden dangerous fire. Fire threatens lives, destroys property and brings fear to what should be a safe haven.
Maintaining a safe restaurant kitchen is paramount not only for your employees, but for all other occupants of the premise.
Restaurant fire suppression systems are engineered to include the most advanced technology and are manufactured with the highest quality materials however they cannot provide optimal protection without your involvement in the maintenance of your system.
What is your responsibility?
As owners, you are responsible for maintaining your fire suppression system and making sure that it is working at its peak and learning what help is available what so you can ensure that your system continues to provide protection.
The following is as summary of what you as the owner must have completed on at least a monthly basis to help ensure proper operation and efficient functioning of your ANSUL fire suppression system.
It’s important to note though the process of inspecting and maintaining fire suppression systems should be outsourced to experts in this field.
Monthly Pre-operational Inspections & Guidelines
By way of a pre inspection, make sure that all inspection seals are attached, be certain not to allow obstructions to block access to the manual pull station, check to see that it has not been tampered with and is ready for operation.
Verify that the maintenance tags supplied by the certified distributor are in place.
Look for any obvious damage that might prevent proper operation.
Make certain that your hood is clean and in good condition.
Take careful attention to discharge nozzles and gas flues.
Make daily examinations looking for loose pipes and missing or grease covered nozzle gaps.
Make sure nozzle caps are in place.
Place over the ends of each nozzle if you determine that the caps are damaged or missing, immediately contact your authorized distributor for a replacement.
Periodically you should check the visual indicator on the system release, to be certain the system is cocked.
Visually inspect pressure gauges on your hand portable extinguishers.
When cleaning your cooking equipment never use flammable solvents or cleaners. these can leave dangerous flammable residues that can lead to fires in the kitchen.
Do not store flammable materials near your cooking equipment or near gas flues.
Be sure your hood-cleaning vendors never use high alkaline cleaners or otherwise corrosive cleaning solutions on the fusible links or cables.
While cleaning your filters in the hood, check to see that there is no corrosion on any of the components of the detection systems.
Keep pots, pans utensils and cooking materials in locations where they will not block the spray from the fire suppression discharge nozzles inhibiting the effectiveness of the spray pattern.
To prevent excessive heat buildup, which will activate the system, be sure to operate your exhaust system whenever you are free heating, heating, cooling or cooking.
Do not operate equipment without the filters in place, this can cause excessive grease build up in the hood and duct systems.
Cooking with filters removed can affect air movement and temperatures resulting in unwanted fire suppression system activation
Before you make changes to your layout, which may affect the basic configuration of the protected area, contact your authorised ANSUL distributor to give you a system update evaluation.
What should you do if you require maintenance on your systems?
Only a trained and authorised ANSUL distributor should perform maintenance on the system, to ensure that your installation is maintained properly and that there has been no change in hazards
All detectors will be examined as well as expelling gas and agent containers, piping, releasing devices, nozzles, hose assemblies, signals and all non pressurized white chemical containers.
An authorised ANSUL distributor on a semiannual basis should perform the following inspection:
The service technician will check the weight & seal of each cartridge.
He will check agent level and color in each tank.
Metal fusible links must be replaced on a semiannual basis or more frequently if necessary.
Should these links deteriorate they could cause the system to malfunction or actuate accidentally.
The technician will check their release mechanism to ensure that it is not been tampered with and that all functions on the release operate properly
The mechanical bull station will be operated to ensure that it trips the system.
The technician will verify proper operation of the mechanical or electrical gas valve.
The technician will ensure that the distribution piping is properly secured, quick seals are in place and nozzles are correct for the hazard they are protecting
Where inspection reveals defective parts that may cause failure of the system, the affected parts must be replaced or repaired.
The rubber blow off caps are checked for brittleness and are replaced annually
Metal blow off caps or check to be sure that they turn freely on the nozzle and are replaced if there is any damage.
The technician will attach a tag or label verifying the date of the inspection and identify who performed the inspection
It is the responsibility of the owner to maintain the records of the inspections.
Once a year in addition to performing all the steps necessary for semiannual maintenance, your ANSUL distributor will perform the following annual maintenance procedures.
First they will disconnect the agent discharge piping from the storage tank outlets and verify the agent distribution piping is not obstructed
If nozzles show signs of cooking grease migration into the orifice of the nozzle or if there is evidence of agent residue in the nozzle or the inlet to the agent distribution piping, some or all of the piping may be dismantled to verify that the piping is not obstructed.
They will also blow dry air or nitrogen through the agent distribution piping verifying that the dry air or nitrogen is discharging at each nozzle location
Finally they will replace all rubber nozzle blow off caps in
In addition to performing all the steps necessary for semiannual and annual maintenance, the following maintenance procedures will be performed every twelve years
Your distributor technicians will hydrostatic lead test the stainless steel liquid agent tanks and refill them with a fresh charge of low PH liquid fire suppressant.
Each quarter inch gas hose assembly will be hydrostatically tested, the date stamped on the cartridge will be verified, the cartridge must be hydro tested at least every twelve years
If the system contains an agent distribution hose, a hydrostatic test for the hose assembly is performed. The regulator must also be flow tested at least every twelve years.
Complying with maintenance schedules will ensure that your ANSUL fire suppression system will provide reliable fire suppression when it’s called upon.
Of course as an owner it is important that you make sure employees are trained in proper procedures in case of a fire.
Post the operating instructions in a prominent place so that in an emergency your employees will know what to do.
Always make certain that hand portable fire extinguishers are properly placed and compatible with your restaurant system.
Follow common sense and these guidelines in the event of a fire.
What should you do in the event of a kitchen fire?
Evacuate others from the premises.
If automatic actuation has not yet taken place, operate the system manually by pulling the ring straight out from the manual pull station with enough force to actuate the fire suppression system
Call emergency services.
Stand by with a chemical hand portable fire extinguisher.
Do not attempt to extinguish a grease fire with a hand portable fire extinguisher before the fire suppression system has been manually or automatically actuated.
By actuating this system the fuel source to the appliance will shut down.
With proper maintenance and a few simple precautions your ANSUL system will be armed and ready to suppress fire in your restaurant cooking equipment.
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact LPG Fire. As authorised ANSUL distributors, we can evaluate your restaurant kitchen and provide advice & solutions to maximise the safety of your staff and customers.