This is the fourth in a series of articles that look specifically at the hazards that Scott Futrell, fire protection engineer, has provided to assist you in protecting your customers, businesses and employees.
What can you do to protect your investment or your facility?
The Minnesota State Fire Code requires you to maintain your fire protection equipment in working condition. There are procedures you should establish for you and your staff in addition to hiring competent contractors to clean and inspect and test your systems and equipment.
Basically, the Codes and Standards require you to inspect, test and maintain your kitchen hood, duct, fan, and suppression systems in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements. Thus it is essential you obtain from the contractor the minimum requirements for inspection, testing, and maintenance and then understand your responsibilities and the very limited, or minimal, portions of these requirements that the contractor will actually perform.
Checklist for Kitchen fire safety
The owner’s responsibility for inspection and maintenance of wet chemical systems on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis should include the following at a minimum:
It is very important to note that often the fusible links are wired shut during the cleaning process to prevent accidental activation preventing the system from operating automatically. It is also possible that your system might have been disconnected, damaged, or has accumulated excessive deposits of grease causing your system to become inoperative, see Figure 1.
Grease and flashlight in duct after cleaning!!!! Disconnected expellant cylinder after cleaning!!!
Figure 1 – Post-Fire Observations
Both of these pictures were taken post-fire, where the suppression system did not operate because the expellant was disconnected. Note that the grease cleaning was not performed thoroughly. The fire occurred the day after cleaning.
The bottom line is this:
- Contractors that you hire for inspection, testing and maintenance do not perform all of the safety checks that need to be done on your systems on a daily, weekly or periodic basis;
- your responsibilities include staff education as well as performing daily, weekly, and periodic inspections;
- your responsibilities include observing the hoods, ducts, and fire protection devices after the contractors complete their work; and
- schedule the fire suppression six-month inspection, test, and maintenance immediately after the hood, duct, and fan cleaning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott A. Futrell, PE, FSFPE, CFPS, SET, CFEI, is a fire protection consultant with Futrell Fire Consult & Design, Inc., in Osseo, Minnesota and has over 40 years’ experience designing, specifying, and investigating fire protection system related losses. He is a Fellow in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, co-author of “Designers Guide to Automatic Sprinkler Systems”.