Kitchen Suppression Dump Test and Suggestion

Some devastating fires have occurred in commercial cooking establishments.  We all know the history of fast food restaurant fires and the toll they can have on a fire department if the fire is not found early.

Kitchen suppression systems are designed to activate to limit the effects of a grease fire in these establishments. It is important to note that when these fires occur and the system is activated, the return air should shut off and the hood vent should activate if it is not already on.

When these systems are designed they are equipment specific. Meaning that the flow points are determined by the type of cooking appliance and its location under the hood and suppression system. Moving or replacing any appliance requires reevaluation of the system and could mean an alteration to keep the system adequate.

As you can see in the picture, the appliance shown has wheels.  This could create a problem in the future when the ownership wants to move things around a bit and could be detrimental to the effectiveness of the system. One suggestion is to adopt a local ordinance that requires these wheels to be removed or locked. I have seen it both ways and it is up to your jurisdiction on how to do that.

Secondly, you want to ensure that the suppression system is hooked into a monitored fire alarm system or on a direct dial alarm system.  We, the fire department, want to know if this system activates.  Even if the system puts the fire out, there is a possibility of fire being pulled into the vent duct. If there are any penetrations or gaps in that duct, fire could smolder above for a long time or it could be burning the uncleaned grease.  We also want to make sure that if that system activates it gets put back in service appropriately and prior to cooking commencing again.

In the video it shows a "dump" test where we make sure that the correct amount of product is being flowed and that all utilities are shut off with the activation.

I know this is not a tactical post, but it gives you a little insight of why these systems are important.  I may not have touched on all of the aspects of these systems, so if you have additional comments or suggestions, please feel free to comment.

Thanks, stay safe and be careful.

Jason

4 Comments

  • Shawn Donovan says:

    It's nice to see someone get off topic a little. Don’t get me wrong I like to read about the thousand different ways to carry a halligan, but there are other aspects to our job that could hurt us more if we are clueless about them.  Vent system fires DO kill firefighters, and civilians.  Fires can brew in these systems for a long time before they get noticed.    I'm no inspection nerd, well, maybe a little, but there are a lot of little things such as this that make a big impact.  It's good to see the video because it helps guys understand what's really going to happen when the system pops off and maybe they will be more likely to use it.  I do inspections for insurance companies and they like to use NFPA Standards, I'd like to add my 2 cents if you don't mind.
    1. The wheel removal/lock is not just for the sake of the hood but also for clearance between cooking surfaces.   NFPA requires a 16" space between fryer & surface flames of adjacent cooking equipment, or a steel or tempered glass baffle 8" high between them.  This was one of the most common issues I've found.
    2. In smaller businesses, like corner stores that also serve fried food, they may have an all in one unit (cooker, vent & extinguisher) that replaced a larger full line setup.  The problem with these is the lack of connection between the pre existing venting and the new unit.   Like you said it should kick on when the system dumps.
    3. For these systems to be considered "successful" they have to actually extinguish the fire and prevent re-ignition, which makes nozzle placement, discharge pattern and agent quantity/type so important.  Water systems in general don't have to actually put out the fire to be considered "successful" they just have to operate and keep the fire at bay until the fire department arrives. 
    I didn't intend to get on a soap box there.  I'm not code master, just an insurance inspector.  I have a few pictures of less than stellar systems and some good ones too if you’d like them. 
    Thanks for your time.

  • dc802 says:

    Shawn,

      Thanks for the input and comments. I try to encompass the "fire service" and not just the fun stuff. You hit the nail on the head, all of this stuff is important.  I really appreciate the suggestions and additions to the post, those were great points.  

        Thanks again and stay safe and thanks for reading, I really appreciate it.

    Jason

  • Douglas Hicks says:

    I am not sure who decided that a particular amount of chemical can be collected and measured when the fire suppression system tirps, but I have never seen that test in any of my service manuals.  That is as bogus at the balloon test.  If a system is designed & installed within the parameters of the listed installation manual, the fire should be controlled.  Now, you have tripped the system and the system needs to be flushed and then dried. The nozzles need to be removed and cleaned, and possibly replaced.  I hope hte chemical is disposed of and not put back in the agent tank.  

  • Douglas Hicks says:

    I looked at the picture again. Either the IMC or  NFPA  or possible both,  standards require the wheels to be in a holding device so hte wheeled appliances are installed in the design position. 
    Make-up air is required to shut off my IMC and NFPA stanards.  Listed fire suppression systems are tested and listed to work with the exhaust air on or off. 
    All in one cooking units that meet UL197 are not required to vent outside.  Examples are Giles and Auto Fry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *