Los Angeles, CA – Commercial kitchen facilities are required to uphold fire testing standard UL-300, a policy that has been in place since 1994. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, the organization that created the rules to help commercial kitchens deal with and control property and life-threatening fires. To earn UL 300 certification, which is necessary to secure a Property Insurance policy, Underwriters Laboratories must test and certify each piece of fire suppression equipment independently. The goal is to help restaurants reduce the risk of fires by ensuring that all cooking equipment and the kitchen setup minimizes the collection of grease in the duct-work and the air. Fire extinguishing equipment must also be adequate in handling the severely hot temperatures that can be found in most commercial kitchen equipment.
Before 1994, most commercial cooking operations used animal fat and deep fryers that were poorly insulated, resulting in inconsistent and inefficient cooking temperatures. In those days, kitchens used dry chemical systems that would smother a fire if one were to break out.
Modern Fire Suppression Systems
These days, kitchens have done away with animal fat and have instead turned to vegetable oils, which tend to heat to cooking temperatures more quickly. The deep fryers used in today’s kitchens retain heat more efficiently and are well-insulated. However, dry chemical systems are no longer used, as they are incapable of extinguishing fires and keeping them extinguished. UL-300 calls for the use of wet chemical fire suppression systems, which serve two primary purposes. First, UL-300 systems still smother fires similar to the way dry chemical extinguishers did. Second, they are designed to cool the liquids so that the fire doesn’t re-ignite, something dry systems were unequipped to do.
If you hope for your commercial kitchen to pass inspection, the following requirements will need to be put into place.
Fire extinguishing nozzles should be located in all hoods and ducts, as well as above each cooking appliance.
All gas and electrical power sources should have automatic fuel shutoff capabilities.
A manual shutoff pull station should be available for all power sources.
You should have at least one wet chemical fire extinguishing system that adheres to UL-300 (and that is checked semi-annually by a certified professional).