Restaurant Fire Protection Basics

If you own a restaurant, odds are you’re in it for more than the money. Restaurateurs often have a passion for the business that goes far beyond the bottom line. But it’s important to also consider aspects of the restaurant beyond the delicious food and drinks you create in the kitchen, or the quality of the atmosphere and customer service you provide. That includes making sure you have all the required restaurant fire safety equipment in place and ready to use.

There are restaurant fire protection systems as well as restaurant fire safety equipment that you should have on hand at your establishment to ensure compliance as well as protect the safety of your guests, employees and property. Here are some of those products and systems you should have, as well as some information about restaurant fires that may help you prevent them from happening to begin with.

Causes of restaurant fires

According to a five-year study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking accounts for 61 percent of all restaurant fires. This is across the board, no matter what type of restaurant you may be operating, from fast food to fine dining. Heating is to blame for 9 percent of restaurant fires, and lighting and electrical malfunctions comprise another 9 percent of restaurant fires. Other possible causes of fire include smoking materials and, in 4 percent of cases, human intent.

Fire suppression systems

A big step was made to standardize restaurant fire protection systems in 1994, when the UL 300 standard was developed. This is an outline of specific guidelines that anyone who makes restaurant fire protection systems should follow. In 2014, the NFPA wrote a set of standards requiring all kitchens to be UL 300 compliant. Those standards have since been adopted by almost every state in the nation.

These standards include many things to prevent and combat restaurant fires. For example, modern deep fryers usually use vegetable oils instead of animal fats for cooking. Older extinguishing systems used methods that don’t work well against vegetable oils, leading them to be ineffective at putting—and keeping—a fire out.

UL 300 compliant suppression systems now must include a wet chemical extinguishing agent, nozzles in the hood and ducts over the cooking area as well as over each grease-generating cooking appliance, automatic fire detection as well as automatic shutoffs for gas and electrical systems and regular maintenance performed by a licensed fire protection service company.

Inspections and maintenance

There are also some regular maintenance and inspection procedures that are an important part of restaurant fire safety. For example, a high-volume restaurant should have its exhaust system inspected once per quarter. A moderate-volume restaurant should have semi-annual inspections. For restaurants using solid fuel cooking appliances like wood or coal ovens, a regular monthly inspection should be part of the fire safety budget.

When you need dependable, high-quality fire safety and prevention tools, including restaurant fire protection systems, contact the experienced pros at AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc. today to arrange a consultation and learn more about your options.

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