Opening A New Restaurant? A Beginner's Guide To Restaurant Hoods & Fire Suppression Systems

Posted on: 28 December 2016

If you are finally deciding to follow your dreams and open a new restaurant, then you likely already have some amazing recipes that you cannot wait for your chef to whip up and serve to your new patrons. However, you may have a lot more planning to do, including deciding what steps you will take to keep your kitchen fire-free. Choosing a reliable restaurant hood and fire suppression system are two of the keys to keeping your kitchen fire-safe. Read on to learn more about these two vital components of your kitchen and how they work. 

Restaurant Hoods: How They Keep your Staff and Patrons Safe from Fire and Smoke

There are three main components of a quality restaurant hood: a grease hood, an exhaust fan, and a fresh air make-up fan. You can purchase a restaurant hood kits that already includes both necessary fans (some kits include even more kitchen ventilation equipment) or you can purchase each component individually. 

The grease hood traps grease and oil that enters the air when it is heated to high temperatures. If you have not yet worked in a restaurant kitchen and have only cooked at home, you may think that the only air-borne oil is oil that "splatters." However, tiny particles that are too small to see with the human eye also enter the air, and once your kitchen opens and your chefs are preparing dishes on the stove-top burners and fryers under that hood, you may be shocked at how much grease the hoods collect, even when your chefs are very careful to not let oil splatter. Without a proper grease hood, that grease would accumulate on the ceiling, walls, and other kitchen surfaces; since grease catches fire so easily, this would make your entire kitchen an extreme fire hazard. 

You likely already know how exhaust fans work, because they are so common in home bathrooms and sometimes kitchens. Having plenty of exhaust fans in your restaurant hoods gives that hot air and smoke created when cooking a place to go, so your kitchen doesn't become overheated and smokey. However, you likely don't have a makeup air fan to go along with your exhaust fans, because they are simply not needed in small-scale home kitchens. In a commercial kitchen, the exhaust fans remove so much of air inside of it that it must be replaced with outside air. Makeup air fans simply blow fresh air inside your kitchen to help keep it healthy and smoke-free, and they also help your exhaust fans perform their jobs more efficiently. 

Look into your local building and health codes to see if they have any specific requirements for the type of equipment you install in your kitchen and if there are other items you also need to have. While it is best to install hoods over every piece of cooking equipment in your kitchen, your local codes may allow you to operate certain types of equipment without a hood over it. For example, some building and health codes don't require hoods over ovens used to prepare baked goods only. However, any oven with a range over it needs a hood. 

Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems: They Keep Small Fires From Spreading

A fire suppression system is another important piece of fire-safety equipment you must have in your kitchen. Even the best restaurant hood system cannot prevent all kitchen fires, and not only can that grease trapped in your grease hoods can easily burst into flames when it reaches high temperatures, but your cooks could also accidentally splatter or even spill oil on one of your oven burners and trigger a fire. As you can imagine, a fire in your kitchen cannot only harm your employees, but it could also destroy all much of that expensive kitchen equipment and even put your patrons in danger if it were to spread. 

A typical fire suppression system consists of a tank of liquid fire-suppressing agent that is mounted to a wall beside each hood (or sometimes placed on the floor) that is connected to a series of tubes that are run inside of your restaurant hoods.The tubing is connected to nozzles that are ready to spray the fire-suppressing agent downward to extinguish a fire quickly and efficiently before it even has a chance to spread. 

If you are planning to open your very first restaurant, then along with planning for the fun of watching your patrons eat those dishes you hope they love while earning a great income, you also need to plan for emergencies, including fires. With the right restaurant hoods and fire suppression systems, you can protect your staff and patrons from fires, along with those pricey kitchen appliances that you don't want to have to replace. 

For more information about restaurant hoods and kitchen fire safety, contact a service such as Tri County Fire Protection.