Commercial kitchen hood inspections are critical to keeping your facility safe from the threat of a fire. The governing NFPA codes 96 and 17 stipulate that a certified fire protection technician must carry out the annual and/or semiannual inspections. If your kitchen hood is not maintained, it can result in fires not being extinguished. In all cases, if you don’t follow NFPA code, you are very likely risking not being covered by your insurance policy should a fire damage your property.
For commercial kitchen owners or facility managers, this is “Kitchen Hood Inspections 101” so you know what’s going on “under your hood.”
1. Fuel Source Shutoff and Valves
In the latest edition of NFPA-96 and NFPA-17/17A, all commercial kitchens must have an electrical or mechanical valve that automatically shuts off any sources of electricity and/or gas in case the kitchen hood system is activated. Electricity and grease are very often the he most common culprits in a kitchen fire, with gas fuels a fire, so this is critical to keeping a fire under control.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Shutoff valves control what fuels a fire, allowing the hood system to extinguish existing flames and not constantly fuel flames. If your shutoff valve isn’t in place and functioning properly, you are at risk of letting a kitchen fire turn into a widespread structural fire.
2. Nozzles and Caps
Caps are in place to prevent grease buildup in the hood system piping to allow free-flowing agent in the event of a fire. During an annual inspection, fire protection technicians will remove the caps from each of the nozzles that dispenses the fire-retardant agent to be sure piping is clear of grease or other buildup. All caps are replaced semiannual. We will also check to see if the nozzles and caps are in good shape. If a cap is missing, we will replace it. Technicians will also be sure all nozzles are correctly in place — aimed toward a potential fire.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? If you have grease buildup or some other debris obstructing your piping, the agent will not effectively be discharged in case of a fire. If the piping is clear but your nozzles are facing the wrong way, it won’t help you. Simply put, the agent won’t be able to do its job putting out a fire.
During an inspection, we will also check for any holes in the ductwork attached to your kitchen hood’s exhaust system. If holes are found, the best thing to do is replace that section of ductwork. A quick patch is sometimes done, but it’s not the best, long-term way to solve your problem. Exhaust fans are supposed to run exhaust outside of your facility. In case of a fire, the fire should essentially follow a path to outside your building as well, where it wouldn’t have fuel to continue burning.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? If there are holes in your ductwork, the fire traveling through your ductwork will go to the holes, which are likely in other rooms of your facility. Instead of having just a kitchen fire, you now have a fire in your dining room, common area or other area of your building.
4. Detector Links
Links are in place to sense thermal changes in the immediate atmosphere. When a certain temperature is reached, the link burns, allowing the agent to be released. Your technician will make sure all heat detector links are in the correct locations. All links are replaced semiannual.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? These links are critical. If they don’t work, having every other inspection item checked off won’t help. Your system won’t activate.
If you are unsure whether your kitchen hood is being inspected properly and up to code, please contact us at 1-866-967-0017. We can get you scheduled.