Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the typical N.F.P.A. Fire Codes that apply to fire protection at my restaurant?

Copies of the most frequently used fire codes can be found by clicking these links:

  • The UL-300 Standard & Wet Chemical Kitchen Fire Suppression Systems
  • UL-300 Informational Video
  • The N.F.P.A. 96 Standard for Steam Cleaning Frequencies

You may also contact the N.F.P.A. directly at 1-617-770-3000 to obtain copies of fire codes that may be applicable to your location.

Q. What is the UL-300 specification?

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has adopted a new fire-testing standard (UL 300) to improve fire protection in restaurant cooking areas. Certain fire suppression systems currently installed in restaurant cooking areas may not provide adequate fire protection due to changes in commercial cooking methods. The two changes in commercial food preparation techniques that have had the most impact on fire protection in recent years are the use of vegetable cooking oils for frying and the use of energy efficient appliances. The standard type of oil used to fry foods is now vegetable oils, which burns at a higher temperature than animal fats and creates fires that are more difficult to extinguish. Energy efficient cooking appliances such as highly insulated fryers help reduce fuel consumption and improve cooking times by maintaining a more consistent temperature. They also help keep cooking oils and metal appliances hotter longer and make fire extinguishment more difficult. The new UL 300 standard now considers cooking appliance design, cooking agent ignition characteristics and worst-case fire suppression scenarios.

Appliances affected by the UL 300 test protocol changes include fryers, griddles, ranges, char broilers (gas radiant, electric, lava rock), and woks. The UL 300 standard did not change plenum, hood, and duct test protocols and did not affect chain broilers, upright broilers, and charcoal or mesquite cooking methods.

Only wet chemical fire suppression systems, with their increased supply of extinguishing agent, were effective in extinguishing UL 300 test fires. Dry chemical suppression systems and water spray devices were not effective. Testing by fire equipment manufacturers showed that while dry chemical systems could knock down the UL 300 test fires, the fires would re-flash and continue to burn due to a lack of cooling. No listings, to date, have been obtained for dry chemical systems tested to the UL 300 standard. Some manufacturers have even established dates when repair parts will no longer be available for their older dry chemical systems. Also, testing by the Fire Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA) showed that water spray devices took a little over six minutes to extinguish a test fire, versus three seconds for wet chemical fire suppression systems.

Q. What are some of the reasons that a fire system would need to be upgraded?

There can be several reasons you may be required to upgrade. The most common reason is that the system does not meet the UL-300 standard. The highlight of this standard is the move from a Dry Chemical extinguishing agent to the currently used Wet Chemical. You can tell if your system is not compliant by looking for the UL-300 listed stamp on the system components.

Q. What are some of the parts of a fire system?

The most common parts are the system cylinder, mechanical control head, manual release, heat detectors, gas valve, grease tight seals and the nozzles.

Q. What is involved in a fire system inspection?

The steps involved vary based on the time of service and the type of system. The steps below are for a typical single tank restaurant system.

Semi-Annual (Six Months)

  1. Check that the restaurant equipment has not changed. The nozzles and their placements are specific to each piece of equipment.
  2. Inspect the system for mechanical damage.
  3. Inspect the system for grease accumulation on nozzles or inside fire system piping and actuation lines.
  4. Disconnect the control head to prevent actuation during the next steps of the inspection.
  5. Remove old fire system links and replace with a test link to prepare for a system test.
  6. Depending on jurisdiction and type of system, Install test cylinder filled with air and actuation cartridge.
  7. Remove and discard old actuation cartridge.
  8. Perform system test by cutting the test link. The technician will now verify that air flowed thru all of the nozzles, that the gas valve cut off gas to the cooking equipment, and that the actuation line is clear of grease and functioning properly.
  9. Install new actuation cartridge, links and nozzles where necessary.
  10. Inspect cylinder for proper compliance with hydrostatic test dates, and that it is maintaining the proper pressure. The technician will also check the cylinder for visible damage.
  11. Reconnect the cylinder

12 Year

  1. Remove tank from system and perform hydrostatic testing.
  2. After hydro-testing refill cylinder with new wet chemical extinguishing agent.

Interstate Fire & Safety prides itself on performing comprehensive inspections that meet or exceed local codes during each inspection. If you have any questions about a service performed at your facility, please contact us.

Q. What is involved in a fire extinguisher inspection?

The steps involved vary based on the time of service and the type of extinguisher. The steps below are a brief outline of what you may expect and does not list all required steps.

Annual

  1. Check that the placement of the extinguisher is compliant with N.F.P.A. standards and local fire codes.
  2. Check for proper signage as required by local codes.
  3. Inspect the extinguisher for visible signs of damage.
  4. Inspect the date of manufacture. If the extinguisher manufacture date is 6 years or older then the extinguisher must have a full six-year service. If the extinguisher is over 12 years of age, then it must be hydro-tested.
  5. Blow out the extinguisher hose or nozzle to remove any potential obstructions.
  6. Check the weight of and charge level of the extinguisher.

Six Year

  1. Discharge extinguisher.
  2. Disassemble extinguisher and discard old fire extinguishing agent.
  3. Inspect the extinguisher cylinder for internal damage.
  4. Replace all O-rings, the valve stem, and the hose.
  5. Reassemble extinguisher.
  6. Recharge the extinguisher with new agent. Check for any leaks using leak detection agent.

Interstate Fire & Safety prides itself on performing comprehensive inspections that meet or exceed local codes during each inspection. If you have any questions about a service performed at your facility, please contact us.

Q. My restaurant hood is not removing smoke, what could be wrong?

There are several factors that influence the performance of a kitchen exhaust system. Each hood system should be designed based on the cooking hazards, room size, air conditioning system, local and national fire codes, and the length of the duct runs. In a properly installed system, excessive build up of smoke in the kitchen can generally be the result of excessive grease build-up in the duct, a leak in the duct system, make up air failure, or fan failures. If your system is not exhausting properly, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Q. Why can’t I do the restaurant hood steam cleaning myself?

As per the fire code, as well as the N.F.P.A and I.K.E.C.A., restaurant steam cleaning must be performed by certified technicians. Interstate Fire & Safety has the tools and experience needed to perform this service correctly. We are also fully licensed and insured in NY, NJ, CT, and MA.

Q. I need to fire proof my curtains, what can I do?

Interstate Fire & Safety is a full service fire protection company. You can contact us and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Q. The technician just inspected my fire extinguishers and system and put today’s date, why?

The tags used by Interstate Fire & Safety have been certified by N.A.F.E.D. and most A.H.J.’s. The technician punches out the date of inspection as required by local codes. These tags expire after one year for fire extinguisher inspections and after 6 months for restaurant fire systems.

Q. What are the required inspection intervals for my fire protection equipment?

Inspection intervals are determined by the local fire code and NOT by Interstate Fire & Safety. The table below lists the common required intervals by system type.

Q. What are the different ratings of fire extinguishers and what are they used for?

Fire extinguishers are rated by the type of fire they can extinguish.

Q. What is a six-year fire extinguisher maintenance?

The steps involved vary based on the time of service and the type of extinguisher. The steps below are a brief outline of what you may expect and does not list all required steps.

Six Year

  1. Discharge extinguisher.
  2. Disassemble extinguisher and discard old fire extinguishing agent.
  3. Inspect the extinguisher cylinder for internal damage.
  4. Replace all O-rings, the valve stem, and the hose.
  5. Reassemble extinguisher.
  6. Recharge the extinguisher with new agent. Check for any leaks using leak detection agent.

Interstate Fire & Safety prides itself on performing comprehensive inspections that meet or exceed local codes during each inspection. If you have any questions about a service performed at your facility, please contact us.

Q. What is a hydro testing?

Hydro testing is the process used to check the integrity of a cylinder. This process involves inspecting the internal and external structure of the cylinder and then pressurizing a cylinder to the test point and ensuring that it maintains its structural integrity within the manufacturers specifications. This is done using Federal Department of Transportation certified testing equipment. Interstate Fire & Safety performs hydro testing using our equipment located at our Harrison, NY location.

Q. What is the life expectancy of my fire extinguisher?

Generally, a properly serviced and maintained fire extinguisher can last as long as the manufacturer is willing to supply parts for it. Interstate Fire & Safety recommends that fire extinguishers be replaced after 12 years due to the cost of performing the proper 12-year maintenance versus the cost of purchasing a new “state of the art” extinguisher.

Q. Do you offer any discounts?

Yes. Interstate Fire & Safety currently offers discounts to locations that use more than two of our services. Please contact us for more information or to see if you qualify.