Kitchen Fires—Destructive but Avoidable. Here’s How.
The alarming number of commercial kitchen fires these last few months alone has made it imperative for us to spread awareness among business owners and the public on crucial information and practices regarding kitchen safety.
Small fires commonly occur in the kitchen due to
Overheated cooking oil on the stove or in a deep pan fryer by grill
Malfunction of cooking equipment
Tossing cooking style
Grease accumulation inside kitchen exhaust ducts over a period of time
Fire in the ducts started by sparks or by fire from the stove
Being continually exposed to high heat, open flame and/or flammable substances, all commercial kitchens are required by the SCDF Fire Code 7.1.13 to be fitted with an exhaust system (Kitchen Suppression System) to support the fire-fighting operations in the building.
Kitchen Suppression System
Located as an exhaust duct over the cooking area, the system detects and extinguishes fire in the following ways:
Nozzles in the kitchen exhaust hoods discharge wet chemical solutions over the fire which 1) cover the flames and 2) starve them of oxygen
The gas line for the kitchen area is immediately cut off once the system is activated, depriving the fire of fuel
The hood is automatically turned on to remove smoke from the kitchen
Preventing a kitchen fire is less expensive than 1) repairing the structural damage after a fire, 2) replacing materials and 3) suspending operations for a long period of time
The spread of the fire is controlled and restricted to an individual station’s cooking surface rather than the whole kitchen
What kind of establishments require a Kitchen Suppression System?
Small F&B outlets
Commercial cooking operations in general
Who is responsible for the Kitchen Suppression System?
According to the SCDF Fire Code 4.12 (Kitchen exhaust ducts),
Building Owners and Council Members are responsible by regulation
Fire Protection Specialists, like BSE, MCST Managing agencies, and/or technicians are engaged to assist Building Owners and Council Members
What kind of maintenance will the Kitchen Suppression System need and how often?
According to regulations, the common frequency of inspection, testing and maintenance of the Kitchen Suppression System, including degreasing operations, is YEARLY. The regulatory testing of the Kitchen Suppression System is also conducted ANNUALLY.
Basic features of the Kitchen Suppression System
This fixed installation of a fire suppression system for the kitchen area includes these basic components:
System connected to Main/Sub Fire Alarm Panel
Automatic cut-off device for gas fuel supply provided
Emergency manual release for extinguishing agent provided
Signs “IN CASE OF FIRE—PULL TO RELEASE” and “CALL 995” are provided
Cylinder for Extinguishing Agent
PSB Approved label provided
Serviced by fire safety work contractor/competent personnel
Date of Service
Nozzle and pipe works
Free of grease (internally and externally)
Free of obstruction
Double layer provided
Heat activating device
Fusible link enclosed in piping
Free of obstruction
Free of grease
Verified to be in functioning condition (simulated test conducted)
Tips on having an optimum Kitchen Suppression System:
Exhaust ducts and kitchen hoods should be degreased and cleaned at least once every 12 months
Tell-tale signs of a problem: 1) Leaking hoods and/or 2) Leaking ducts
Ensure that the system is UL 300 approved
Ensure that the Kitchen Exhaust Ducting System is approved by the relevant code of practices
Ensure that the gas supply safety shut-off valve system interlocks with the Kitchen Suppression System
Do not use water to extinguish a cooking fire as the chemical reaction could cause the fire to grow and spread
Use a wet towel instead or allow the Kitchen Suppression System to extinguish the fire
SCDF Fire Code
NFPA 96 (US)
TR 19 (UK)