If restaurants and commercial kitchens do not follow safety procedures, then they are at risk for a fire. As a business, it is important that you do all that you can to prevent fires at your restaurant and keep everyone at your restaurant safe. The UL 300 fire suppression system is an important tool for all restaurants.
Top Tips for Making Your Restaurant Safe From Fire
In order to keep your restaurant safe for you, your staff, and your guests you need to ensure the following:
- Train all staff on restaurant safety procedures.
- Ensure all restaurant equipment is safely in use.
- Provide staff with full safety equipment.
- Prevent common restaurant injuries.
- Install fire safety equipment.
- Practice fire safety.
- Implement fire safety procedure.
- Ensure all kitchen equipment is UL certified and labeled.
- When changing equipment you should ensure all safety procedures are revised.
Many aspects of restaurant safety links with fire hazards. With this in mind, the NFPA has written the UL 300 compliance into their code for all businesses to adhere to.
What is the UL 300 Fire Suppression System?
UL 300 compliance is a new addition to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) code that should be followed by all commercial kitchen owners. It is a fire-safety standard created by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and that is tested and certified independently.
The code’s origins come from the Underwriters Laboratories in which commercial appliance brands requires to submit their products for tests. A set of requirements must be met in order to pass UL test so that they are safe for use. When a product meets the UL requirements in gains an official label.
In recent years there has been a need to increase safety regulations to further reduce the number of fires in commercial kitchens. One reason for the increase in kitchen fires is down to the increased risk of fire due to oils being used by chefs. With oils that can reach a higher temperature before smoking, along with more energy-efficient cooking equipment the heat in kitchens has increased. With hotter kitchens come an increased risk in fires, hence the NFPA adjusting guidelines to move with these changes.
Older dry-chemical suppression systems are no longer powerful enough to take on hot kitchens like a UL 300 fire suppression system. A modern kitchen will now need up to 6 times the amount of suppressant to control a kitchen fire. In order to control these fires as much as possible, the UL 300 guidance was developed.
Changes to Suppression Systems
The UL 300 have implemented a fire suppression system for commercial kitchen process that is used for smothering and for cool liquid forms in the kitchen. Wet chemical suppression is an effective way of controlling fire especially when the nozzle placements, ducts, filters, hoods, and auto shut-offs are properly in place.
When installing your kitchen equipment you should use a contractor that is aware of UL 300 guidelines so that you minimize the collection of grease in ductwork. Have all fixtures and fittings in the best place possible and that all fire-extinguishers are adequate to put out fires.
Why You Should Comply
When reading about UL300 and NFPA 96 it is easy to become overwhelmed with much of the jargon used. You should, however, do your best to understand so that you do not put your business and other people at risk. Safety should be your number one priority for your restaurant. This means taking time to fully understand the codes that you need to abide by. Failing to follow UL300 guidelines is a deliberate will to endanger staff and customers who visit your restaurant and kitchen.
Following NFPA guidelines is essential when it comes to your business insurance. A failure to put adequate measures in place to protect your kitchen will mean that your insurance company may not pay out for any accidents and damage. You will find that insurance companies will charge at a higher rate if they know that you are not following UL 300.
Or once you have had a fire-related accident when not in compliance. It is important that you check with your insurer exactly what safety regulations you are need to follow. As well as where you may be in breach of your insurance policy.
If you are renting your business property you will run this risk of being evicted by your landlord if you are not in compliance with standards that protect their building. If you want to protect your business so that you do not run into financial difficulty then you should always follow guidelines. All states are now using NFPA standards. Businesses that are not in compliance are facing fines and potential lawsuits from staff and patrons.
Meeting UL 300 Requirements
To comply with UL 300 certification guidelines all commercial kitchens must have the following equipment:
- Fire-extinguisher nozzles in the ducts and the hoods of every cooking appliance.
- Easy access to fire-extinguishers for all staff.
- All fire-extinguishers are replaced straightaway after being used.
- Manual fuel shut-down pull for all power sources (both electric and gas).
- Automatic shut off capability for gas and electrics.
- Wet chemical fire suppression system that passed UL standard.
- Regular check-ups by an independent professional that has UL certification.
- UL labels on all commercial kitchen equipment.
In addition to the above, it is vital that you keep up with the maintenance and cleaning of all equipment. It is recommended that a weekly deep-clean of all ducts and grease filters will keep the risk of fire in your kitchen to a minimum.
The Bottom Line
The UL 300 is an important piece of legislation that keeps your restaurant and its patrons safe. The policy helps commercial kitchens reduce the risk of fires by ensuring all equipment and fire safety procedures meets NFPA regulations. As a responsible restaurant owner if you feel that you need support in adhering to all relevant safety regulation it is time to take action.