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The Dangers of an Outdated Fire Suppression System

Posted on: December 23, 2011

One of the biggest risks of owning a restaurant is not financial – it’s the risk of having an obsolete fire suppression system! Having an out-of-date fire suppression system can cost you big time – just ask the owner of a Massachusetts restaurant that burned down six years ago! Since he failed to upgrade his fire suppression system, not only did the system not activate, allowing the fire to spread and consume his whole business, but it also disqualified him from collecting insurance benefits (the owner was even required to return a $15,000 cash advance from the insurance company!).

So what exactly did this guy do?

In 1974, the restaurant had a “dry” fire suppression system from Kidde. In 2000, however, the manufacturer stopped supporting dry fire suppression systems and moved toward “wet” fire suppression systems. In 2004, the state public safety office issued a bulletin saying that dry systems were no longer supported by manufacturers and as a result were no longer compliant with the NFPA code.

How to Tell if Your Fire Suppression System is Outdated

If you’re opening a new restaurant, you’re pretty much at the mercy of whoever was in the space before you. So how can you tell if they took care of their fire suppression system?

Fire extinguishers – check to see if the fire extinguishers (which should be Class K) have been tagged recently. If you can find the tag and it says the extinguisher has been inspected within the past year, you should be good. If not, call Confires for fire extinguisher replacement!

Fire suppression system – next to making sure your kitchen fire suppression system is still up to code, the most important thing to check on the system is the fusible links. Fusible links are basically the triggers of kitchen fire suppression systems – heat from the fire melts them into place, activating the system. Like fire extinguishers, properly inspected links will be tagged and dated.

Grease and rust – obviously physical damage and decay is the easiest thing to check for when it comes to your kitchen fire suppression system. If you can see grease or rust covering the pipes, the kitchen hood, traps or anything else, this is a pretty sure sign the fire suppression system hasn’t been maintained in a long time.

If you’re moving into a new restaurant space and need restaurant kitchen fire suppression system inspection, or if you know your existing fire suppression system needs to be inspected or replaced, call Confires today! Whatever you do, don’t wait – the damages could be disastrous!

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