In many foodservice sites, it’s not just the kitchen and front of house areas that require a fire suppression system installation. Many outlets are within multi-use buildings, with the rest of the construction also having fire safety systems. Therefore kitchen fire suppression systems need to dovetail with the rest of the safety provisions in any given building.
This may be a factor that doesn’t immediately spring to mind for catering equipment distributors, so how do fire suppression system manufacturers and installers ensure that all project parties remain on the same page?
For manufacturer Nobel Fire Systems, interfacing its equipment with the overall building’s systems is an important element of a site’s protection measures. MD Ian Bartle detailed: “The system should be interfaced with the main house fire alarm or building management system (BMS) so that further and immediate actions can be initiated automatically in the event of a fire.
“Kitchen fires can grow very quickly and if elements like extended ductwork haven’t been considered then there is a risk to other parts of the building. Fast action and evacuation are paramount.
“In addition to raising an alarm, no kitchen fire system should ever be installed and not initiate fuel shut down. A basic principle in firefighting is to remove heat and fuel, and the fire should be extinguished. Interconnection with gas and electric shut down either directly or through the BMS is essential.”
He emphasised: “The Nobel K-Series provides an all electrical intelligent control system with interface and control facilities as standard for both alarm and shutdown coupled to essential fault monitoring that will automatically flag both visual and audibly fire and fault conditions.”
When quizzed on the same topic, IPH Fire Solutions, which installs the Jactone KitchenGuard system, advised that for a kitchen suppression system to comply with the LPS 1223 standard, the fire suppression system must interface to the cooking appliances. MD Niall Hackett explained: “They should shut down upon activation; this is so the appliance does not reignite after the fire suppression system has activated.
“There are a number of ways to achieve this: interfacing directly into the gas interlock system, BMS/fire alarm system or by installing electrical isolators that switch the electrical cooking appliances off. Whether it is a standalone single occupancy kitchen or a kitchen within a shopping centre, the fire suppression system should be interfaced into the building systems.”
But does the type of building requiring a kitchen fire suppression system impact on the installation process? Nobel’s Bartle said: “It is rare two buildings are the same but the concept for protection of the cooking facility does remain as a constant.
“A thorough risk assessment should provide not only the basic parameters that a kitchen fire suppression system needs to adhere to, but it should also identify other parts of the building that the cookline, extract canopy and the extract duct could affect in the event of a fire occurring. Ductwork is a particular consideration as this usually unseen part of a kitchen can traverse its route through other parts of the building and may expose the buildings structure to heat and fire breakout. The exit route from the kitchen canopy through the rest of the building must therefore always form part of that initial risk analysis.”
Detailing that most kitchen fire suppression systems end their protection coverage at the canopies’ duct entrance by placing the last nozzle of the fire protection system into the plenum duct entrance, he cautioned: “This may not be adequate in some circumstances so adequate fire coverage could be compromised downstream of the obvious risk of kitchen canopy and appliances. The assessment should encompass the total passage of oil-laden extracted air, and if the building makeup dictates, extend fire protection through to encompass the whole route.”
Bartle said that this should apply equally to a single storey facility with a short extract duct or a 32nd floor kitchen of a 50 floor building that houses duct through service access risers and roof top extract, fans, precipitator or other plant.
He concluded: “So, in short there are greater challenges to consider, but with an adequate assessment of the risk specific to the kitchen, adequate protection measures can be included without too great an additional expense. The Nobel K-Series system provides not only the standard level of protection required but can be easily extended to cover all the extract duct and plant in an extract system.”
While IPH’s Hackett analysed: “Different buildings provide different challenges when it comes to installing catering fire suppression systems, especially in older buildings. This is because foodservice outlets are adapted to suit older buildings rather than buildings being created to suit a commercial kitchen. The challenge is to install a system that will suppress a fire effectively, whilst staying in touch with the aesthetics of the building.”
As many of these older buildings can feature tight dimensions, this can also cause access issues for installations. Therefore, Bartle advised: “The Nobel K-Series comes with a range of system components that allow us complete flexibility in how we install. Our cylinders while needing to be relatively close to the risk can be placed in any location so we can even install them wall or floor mounted, in ceilings or even in other rooms or floors. Compact spaces have never presented us an issue.”
Hackett reported that access issues are increasingly impacting catering fire suppression system installs, especially where kitchens are located on the lower grounds and every square metre of a kitchen is utilised. He encouraged: “The best practice is to carry out a site survey to determine where the fire suppression cylinders can be located and what route the fire suppression pipework can take. In an ideal situation, the kitchen suppression system should be considered at design stage so as the system can be integrated into the kitchen layout.”
But with many ventless cooking appliances now available, are kitchen fire suppression systems now redundant? Not according to Bartle: “This equipment impacts the routes for extraction, which are curtailed to a localised piece of plant.
“While not reducing any risk from the cooking appliances themselves the extract allows a contained and localised labyrinth of extraction, filtration and control so there is a greater potential of reducing the fire system capacity and hence overall cost.
“The Nobel K-series system is modular in its design, so small cylinders and very discrete pipework and nozzle configurations allow for a very effective and aesthetically superior finish to the system install.”
And for IPH, Hackett concluded: “Most kitchen suppression systems can be adapted to suit any canopy and appliances layout, including ventless cooking appliances.
“It is important to use the right type of fire suppression system for the application. Most ventless cooking appliances take fire suppression systems into consideration and allocate a space for a fire suppression cylinder, pipe and detection to be located, self-contained, within the appliance.”