Kitchen Suppression - UL 300 compliance

Cookline Flames.jpeg

Fire suppression systems are designed to minimize the impact of a fire. However, if you do not have the correct equipment the fire may not be able to be properly extinguished. Making sure that your suppression system is up to current code standard is not only required but it is the best decision you can make for protecting your commercial kitchen, employees, and customers.

Now, in a perfect world there would never be a kitchen fire but… accidents happen, no matter the lengths you go to prevent them. This is where the Underwriters Laboratories steps in with the UL 300 Standard. This standard continually evaluates and tests fire extinguishing systems, ensuring their application will properly suppress a fire on the cooking surface.

Changes occurred within the cooking environment that pushed UL 300 to re-evaluate fire extinguishing systems for commercial kitchens and ultimately introduced new standards in 1994. The two primary changes that occurred to the cooking process were:

  • The use of vegetable oils in fryers.
  • High efficiency appliances reducing fuel consumption and improving cooking times.

Both of these factors have created variables that make a successful kitchen fire more difficult to suppress. Vegetable oil used inside fryers burns at a higher temperature than animal fats (lard) that was previously used. As well, the high efficiency of these appliances means that they are able to maintain higher temperatures during the cooking process, making a fire more difficult to suppress. With these increased risks, UL 300 introduced innovations that are much more effective in controlling kitchen fires than the standards prior to 1994.

SO… 1994 was a long time ago, why is this still an issue?

While most states mandate a UL 300 complaint system for newly established restaurants, the adoption and upgrade to UL 300 in existing facilities is inconsistent state to state. For example - Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, are 3 of the 35 states that require a replacement of a non-UL 300 system only upon renovation or altering of the cooking equipment. This means that there is a good possibility that your current suppression system may not currently be UL 300 compliant.

In an industry where every dollar counts, it makes sense that upgrading the suppression system may be at the bottom of the priority list, however, upgrading this system should be considered crucially beneficial to your operation, financially and personally. Here’s why:

Protection for your property and people entering your facility

Designed to minimize the impact, fire suppression systems keep a cookline fire contained and lower the temperature, reducing the risk of injury to the cooking staff and reducing the likelihood of the facility being destroyed. With these new changes to the restaurant industry that we discussed earlier, this suppression process has become more challenging.

For example, in testing suppression systems with vegetable oil, Underwriter Laboratories found that it took up to six times the amount of suppression agent to bring it under control, in comparison to a fire utilizing animal fats.

This means that if you are currently utilizing modern cooking methods and equipment and have not updated your suppression system, there is only 1/6th of the suppression capabilities generally required to contain the fire. This could have significant, drastic impact.

Protection of your revenue stream

Preventing a kitchen fire from occurring is the first goal of an owner, but in the event of a fire the UL 300 suppression system will reduce the damage that occurs. Closure time based on the severity of the fire can have immediate effects on the revenue generated, however, long lasting effects may be had on customer loyalty, employee retention, and your overall business reputation.

Protection of your insurance costs

Don’t let your kitchen be identified as a high-risk customer for insurance companies. Regardless of requirements of local authorities, most market insurance companies require commercial cooking locations have a UL 300 suppression system. If you have an outdated system, this may expose you to higher insurance premiums by 30 – 300%.

Protection from litigation

Let us imagine the horrible circumstance where your restaurant is completely destroyed, a total loss from a kitchen fire and you had an out dated UL 300 suppression system.

In this scenario, it is likely that many if not all of the following parties - fire marshals, insurance companies, product manufactures, and service companies - had informed you of updating your fire suppression system and that these documented notices may be used in court. A similar case occurred in Massachusetts where the court justified the denial of coverage, and the insurance policy was voided. Failure to comply with UL 300 Standard puts everything at risk with the risk to lose everything.

So, now the question is, “How much does it cost to upgrade my system to a UL 300 compliant fire suppression system?”

FIRST – there are a few varying factors that affect the price:

  • The age of the kitchen hood and the age of the suppression system that is being replaced.
  • The size of your kitchen, the size and number of hoods
  • The condition of the connection suppression pipes, and whether they can be re-used.

SECOND – Contact Iridium Protection / Taylor Brothers Fire and Safety for a FREE full installation quote.

A UL 300 Suppression system helps protect lives and livelihoods and there is no better time than right now to upgrade your system and receive the peace of mind and benefits of a compliant suppression system.

Thank you for learning with us. We look to assist you with your fire and safety needs.

The Iridium Protection Team