Kitchen Hood Fire Suppression System

The fire suppression system that is required to be mounted in kitchen cooking hoods is typically a wet-chemical extinguishing system that automatically releases the extinguishing agent when the system detects a fire. Back in the early 1990s, the common system used then was a dry-chemical system but was found to be ineffective in extinguishing certain cooking-oil-based fires. While NFPA, CMS and the Accreditation Organizations has not prohibited the use of dry chemical extinguishing systems in kitchen cooking hoods, most state authorities have. There was a major undertaking in the fire extinguishing industry to replace all dry-chemical system with the better suited wet-chemical systems.

The kitchen hood fire extinguishing system is required to be maintained semi-annually, and the fusible links replaced annually. However, the owner’s representative (i.e. facility manager) is required to perform monthly inspections of the cooking hood extinguishing system.

These requirements can be found in the 2017 edition of NFPA 17A: Standard for Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems, which outlines the latest rules for wet chemical extinguishing systems associated with the restaurant and institutional hoods, plenums, ducts, and associated cooking appliances. At a minimum, the quick check inspection must verify:

  • The extinguishing system is in its proper location
  • The manual actuators (pull stations) are not obstructed
  • Tamper seals are intact on the pull station
  • The semi-annual maintenance tag is clearly visible and in place
  • There is no obvious physical damage or condition that would prevent operation
  • The pressure gauge is in the operable range
  • The nozzle blow-off caps are intact and undamaged
  • The hood, duct, and protected cooking appliances have not been replaced, modified or relocated

Pre-Engineered Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems

A pre-engineered restaurant fire suppression system is the first defense against a devastating restaurant fire. There are a variety of factory pre-piped kitchen fire protection systems available, including the two leading manufacturers Amerex® and Ansul®. With several designs to meet the real-world challenges of working restaurant kitchens, all systems are UL Listed and meet NFPA 96 requirements.

NFPA 96 provides state-of-the-art safety guidelines for designing, installing, operating, inspecting, and maintaining the full spectrum of:

  • Cooking equipment
  • Stove exhaust hoods
  • Grease removal devices
  • Cooking exhaust systems
  • Fans
  • Fire-suppression systems
  • Clearance to combustibles

The new NFPA 96 requirements increase safety for building occupants, equipment installers, hood cleaners, and inspectors with additions such as:

  • Updated information for installing grease filters, exhaust duct drains, duct enclosures, ductwork slope, and portable fire extinguishers
  • New requirements for factory-built grease ducts, duct leakage testing, exhaust fan discharge, and solid-fuel installations used as flavor enhancements
  • New deadlines for removal and replacement of obsolete fire-protection systems
  • New annex material for duct-cleaning personnel, equipment, and recommendations