Understanding the Importance of Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems
Around 7,500 U.S. food establishments suffer fires each year. There’s no way to guarantee your restaurant won’t join that list, but there are proven ways to limit the size and damage of a fire.
Prudent business owners install a kitchen fire suppression system. A kitchen fire suppression system can detect and suppress fires, saving lives and protecting your business.
This article will give you an overview of suppression systems and why they can play such a crucial role in the health and safety of your establishment.
What Is a Kitchen Fire Suppression System?
A kitchen fire suppression system is a network of components working together to extinguish kitchen fires before they overwhelm the room. The basic components include fire detectors, chemical agents, and pipework.
How Does a Kitchen Fire Suppression System Extinguish Flames?
There are five common types of kitchen fire suppression systems, each with its own method of extinguishing a fire. Clients choose the one best suited to the demands of their business. For example, commercial kitchens, computer rooms, and hotels may use different types of systems.
If you’ve seen a stove blanketed with foam after a fire, you most likely saw the result of a wet chemical suppression system. The foam lowers the temperature of the oil or grease to put out the fire.
Dry chemical systems use powder to extinguish fires. It might use the same powder found in some fire extinguishers, potassium bicarbonate.
This is not to be confused with sodium bicarbonate or baking soda. Both are alkaline powders and work similarly, but potassium bicarbonate is the superior firefighter.
Aerosol systems also use potassium bicarbonate. But as the name implies, the system delivers the bicarbonate as a spray rather than a powder. The bicarbonate forces the fire to expel the oxygen it needs to survive.
Carbon Dioxide suppression systems leave no residue, so there’s one less item to clean after a fire. Carbon dioxide fights fires by preventing flammable gases from reaching the necessary temperature to ignite.
Water Mist systems spray the area with fine water droplets. The mist cools the air, lowering the temperature so the flames can’t spread by igniting more gases.
How Does a Kitchen Fire Suppression System Work?
First, the fire suppression system must detect the danger. It can use a combination of flame and heat detectors, depending on the environment and the most likely type of fire.
After detecting the fire, the system automatically disperses its detection agent. Systems typically also allow for manual activation.
The suppression system will either interfere with the chemical reactions inherent in fire, remove oxygen from the area, or cool the atmosphere below the temperature of ignition.
Advanced suppression systems will also cut off the electricity and gas that fuel the workstation that caught fire. If necessary, the suppression system may also distribute chemicals that make cleaning up the suppression agent easier.
Why Do You Need a Fire Suppression System in Your Commercial Kitchen?
Anyone who has worked in a commercial kitchen knows that the job involves safety risks. No one with experience and skill is likely to accept a position in your kitchen if it doesn’t have a fire suppression system.
Attract Better employees.
The most likely job candidates are going to be the least qualified. Then, once they gain experience, they will likely move on to a better-equipped environment. The lack of a suppression system doesn’t make workers feel secure, valued, or respected.
Appeal to Insurers
Your insurance premium will likely be lower if you install a fire suppression system. Insurers often give discounts for using safety equipment. The more precautions you take, the less risky it is for the insurer to offer you a policy.
Limit Your Recovery time.
A kitchen fire can shut down your business for days or weeks. You may face staggering cleanup and repair bills. You may also have a labor shortage as out-of-work personnel look for jobs elsewhere.
On the other hand, a fire suppression system can quickly contain a fire, keeping it from ruining your kitchen. Your recovery time from the incident will likely be much shorter than if you didn’t have a suppression system.
Why Aren’t Fire Extinguishers Enough?
State and local fire codes often mandate the presence of fire extinguishers. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re enough of a defense against fire. Their mandatory installation by law only means fire extinguisher services are the minimal fire-fighting equipment you must have available.
Extinguishers are best for small fires that have little chance of spreading. In such cases, there’s time for a person to try to remember how to operate the extinguisher, point, and spray.
On the other hand, kitchen fires are often high-temperature fires with the potential to spread quickly due to the presence of oil and grease. There may be little time to think about how to operate an extinguisher.
The size of the fire may make it impossible to get close enough to use an extinguisher effectively. Getting close also presents the added danger of inhaling fumes and dangerously heated air. Hot oil and grease can also splash on the person using the extinguisher.
A fire suppression system removes the danger of employees trying to control a huge fire with a portable extinguisher. Instead, the system can operate by itself while employees evacuate.
Must You Schedule Training and Maintenance?
Both fire extinguishers and a commercial kitchen fire suppression system require employee training and routine maintenance. So, it’s important to schedule training sessions regardless of how demanding your workload is.
Remember, your staff and customers are relying on you to keep them safe. Part of your commitment to their well-being means also booking appointments for experts to conduct thorough fire system testing.
Where Can You Get Expert Help With Your Kitchen Fire Suppression System?
Kitchen fire suppression systems can protect the lives of your employees. They can also help keep the doors of your business open. Additionally, you may lower your insurance costs while gaining peace of mind.
You can enjoy all these benefits of a fire suppression system by making arrangements to install one as soon as possible. Choose experts with years of experience. Contact Castle Sprinkler and Alarm today.