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Life Safety Services You Can Trust

Category: Extinguisher

Fire Prevention Basics

When is the best time to review fire basics? Now.

Some of the items we are going to cover may be basic, but it never hurts to refresh your memory when it comes to your life.

Rules for Fighting Fires:

  • Activate fire alarm or call 911
  • Get everyone out of the building
  • Only after 1 and 2 are done, do you attempt to extinguish the fire yourself

Fire Safety Tips:

  • Keep fire extinguishers close to any potential fire sources, in plain sight and in easy reach.
  • Have extinguishers serviced professionally at least once a year.
  • Maintain smoke detectors in all areas where fire could possibly occur.
  • Have a plan in case of fire. Have a practice drill every few months.

4 Things Required for a Fire

  • Fuel
  • Heat
  • Oxygen
  • Chemical Reaction

To stop a fire, simply remove any ONE of these things.

5 Classes of Fires

  • Class A: ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, cloth, trash and plastics
  • Class B: flammable liquids like gasoline or flammable gases like propane or butane
  • Class C: energized electrical equipment like motors, transformers and appliances, removing the electrical power turn this into one of the other classes of fire
  • Class D: combustible metals like potassium, sodium, aluminum and magnesium
  • Class K: cooking oils and greases like animal fats and vegetable fats

6 Main Types of Fire Extinguishers

  • Water and Foam – Removes heat and/or oxygen and for Class A fires only
  • Carbon Dioxide – Removes oxygen and heat and for Class B & C fires
  • Dry Chemical (with or without cartridges) – Stops the chemical reaction and for Class A & B & C fires
  • Wet Chemical – Removes heat and creates barrier between oxygen and fuel to prevent re-ignition and for Class K fires
  • Clean Agent – Stops the chemical reaction and for Class B & C fires
  • Dry Powder – Separates the fuel from the oxygen or removes the heat and for Class D fires only

These are just a handful of fire basics. If you have any questions on these or other fire protection topics, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.

Protecting Restaurants from Fire 

Restaurant fires typically start in cooking areas. Most fires are normally stopped before they have a chance to spread beyond the point of origin. Restaurants who have dedicated fire extinguishing systems, portable fire extinguishers and other safety equipment are more likely to confine fires and limit damage.

How a fire system works…The system operates automatically. A fire involving a cooking appliance will trigger a releasing mechanism (link) and the system will discharge chemicals to extinguish the fire. The fire system also automatically shuts off heat sources to the appliances. Once the system operates, an interlock will help prevent rekindling of the fire. The system can also be discharged manually at a pull station. Typically, they are all marked with the word “PULL”, and they have a placard indicating which appliances are covered. It’s a good idea to have a metal guard installed around each pull station. The guards prevent accidental trips of the system. Most systems already have the guards installed but check to make sure you have them as accidental discharges can be costly. The chemical supplied in these systems work on cooking oil fires. The liquid chemical spray creates foam, which smothers the fire. Left undisturbed, the foam will keep the fire out and allow the appliances to cool until there is no possibility of re-flash. If a fire occurs, make sure employees don’t disturb the foam until the fire department determines it’s safe to resume cooking operations.

Fire System Checks: To help make sure the system is going to work, here are the things the owner and staff should check: • Each manual pull station is clearly identified for the protected appliance(s) • Nothing has changed (no new appliances or relocated appliances) • Protective caps on piping nozzles are not missing (missing caps allow grease to clog nozzles) Make sure the employees and owner know to pull the manual release whenever an appliance fire occurs and to call you if nozzle caps are ever missing. Also, make sure the owner knows to schedule regular servicing of the system every six months including replacement of the system links, which are critical for the system to work automatically. If a system tag ever shows a date older than 6-months, the system is overdue for link replacement and maintenance and the owner needs to contact the fire equipment company.

Lights for the Appliance Hood: Light fixtures in kitchen hoods are designed for safety. These fixtures have special globes and often have metal guards installed to protect them from damage. The globes may be tempered glass or come with a shatterproof plastic coating. The globes intended for this application will not discolor with heat. If a globe or guard is missing, the fire equipment company carries replacements.

Signs for the Exhaust Fan: The kitchen exhaust fan must be operated whenever cooking appliances are in use. The fan is connected to the hood and duct exhaust system and keeps cooking odors from migrating to the dining area. From a safety standpoint, the system captures, contains, and removes combustible grease vapors. To help ensure the fans are turned on each time appliances are used, a sign is required to be posted.

Fire Extinguishers for the Kitchen: Specially designed fire extinguishers have been developed and the chemical in those extinguishers match the chemical in the fire system.

Here are the things owners and staff should check with those extinguishers:

Fire extinguishers rated “Class K” are installed for the protection of cooking appliances • At least one Class K extinguisher is within 30 ft of cooking appliances and is easily reachable • Placards are installed that say discharge the system before using a fire extinguisher

Fire Extinguishers for Solid Fuel Cooking Appliances that use charcoal, mesquite, or similar fuels are called solid fuel cooking appliances. Those appliances are required to have either water extinguishers or Class K extinguishers. Either type of extinguisher will effectively handle a fire involving a solid fuel appliance.

Fire Extinguishers for the Dining Area: Additional fire extinguishers are provided for the protection of both the building structure and the safety of patrons. In the dining areas of restaurants, the combustibles are furniture, paper, and fabrics, which are called common combustible materials. Typically, ABC dry chemical extinguishers are strategically placed so the travel to an extinguisher is within 75 ft from any point, including traveling around fixed objects. The fire equipment company has the knowledge to determine the right size, number, and strategic locations of extinguishers for the dining areas.

Annual Fire Extinguisher Maintenance: Fire extinguisher maintenance is required on an annual basis by trained technicians permitted to service the extinguishers. Extinguisher technicians follow the manufacturer’s service manuals and comply with the regulations of the NFPA. They not only perform the annual maintenance, but they know when to perform necessary recharging and hydrostatic testing of the cylinders. The service tags are easy to read. If the tag shows that the 12-month service is due, it’s time to contact the fire equipment company, but typically that’s not necessary since they perform these regular service calls as routine.

The owner of a restaurant has an obligation for the care and use of safety equipment. To fulfill this obligation, the owner should schedule regular inspections of safety equipment and offer training to restaurant employees in the operation of the fire system and correct use of portable fire extinguishers. Every employee needs to know how to call the fire department and do so for every fire, no matter how small. Restaurant employees also need to know how the fire system and other safety equipment work before a fire occurs. In order to make sure the equipment will work when it’s needed, they will need to make sure regular inspections and maintenance are performed by the fire equipment company. Only then will the restaurant be ready for a fire emergency. Following this guidance will help ensure the safety of all employees and patrons. Additionally, they can expect a quick return to business operations and revenue generation should a fire emergency occur.

The Importance of Life Safety Systems Inspections

Now is a great time to review your property’s life safety system’s inspections!

Property management comes with great responsibility. One of those responsibilities is fire safety, and remaining educated about the fire protection systems in your facility. Some of the most common mistakes arise when your systems are not tested and inspected according to NFPA standards and/or your local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).

When properly maintained and inspected, fire protection systems are among the most reliable means to ensure the safety of your building and everyone in it. Trusting that your systems will optimally perform in the event of an emergency depends upon the quality of the service and inspections performed on them. When you work with Protegis Fire & Safety, you get the full-scale capability of one of the most established and experienced fire protection companies in the United States.

Review our Test & Inspect Chart, to verify that your systems are being tested and inspected properly!

Fireguard Inspection & Testing Frequency Chart

How to Perform a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspection

So I’ve purchased my fire extinguishers for my company…now I can just sit back and relax until my fire protection company comes next year for inspection?

Well you can, but damage accumulates after every use, every time the extinguisher gets moved, and it gets damaged from everyday tasks that happen around the extinguisher.

That’s why NFPA requires monthly inspections. You don’t need a licensed professional to do your monthly inspections, so we’ve developed the inspection list for you.

Here are the 13 steps to perform your own monthly fire extinguisher inspection:

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The 5 Question Fire Extinguisher Quiz

certified technician checking a fire extinguisher

If you have worked in the industry for years or just want to learn more about fire extinguishers, please take a few moments to test your fire extinguisher knowledge by answering our five question quiz.

Let’s begin!
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