National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) commercial hood inspection requirements are designed to protect large scale food preparation facilities from fires caused by contaminated or defective cooking hood installations. Periodic inspections of cooking facilities provides the general public with a sense of safety when they go into a restaurant and sit down for a meal.
The basic inspection and cleaning requirements for cooking ventilation installations are found in NFPA code number 96. This code specifies exactly what areas of the installation must be cleaned down to bare metal. All contamination from grease and oil must be removed in a systematic and timely basis. The code indicates that none of the metal surfaces in a cooking ventilation system can be treated or covered in any way. Official inspections can only be completed by technicians and companies who have been trained and certified by a local governmental authority that has jurisdiction in accordance with the NFPA code.
The inspection requirements for grease buildup in cooking ventilation systems is based upon the level of usage for each commercial cooking facility. Facilities that use solid fuels such as wood as a cooking fuel require an inspection each month by a certified inspector. Agencies or businesses that operate on a 24-hour basis or who cook high volumes of food must be inspected quarterly. Businesses cooking and using a ventilation system at moderate levels will need a semi-annual inspection for grease buildup. Organizations such as churches or senior centers with low volume operations will only need inspections once a year. Regardless of your organization's cooking volume, it is important to faithfully follow the requirements for your type of facility to ensure the safety of all your patrons.
Fire suppression inspections involve knowledge of several NFPA codes. Code 17 covers dry chemical fire extinguishing systems, and Code 17A covers wet chemical fire extinguishing systems. Dry chemical fire extinguishing systems for example are required to be on a six-month inspection schedule. NFPA Code 10 addresses portable fire extinguishing systems that may be present in a kitchen. Some ventilation systems have doors that close to choke off a fire. Systems that have doors are covered by NFPA Code 80. Fire extinguishing systems and fire suppression systems have specific inspection requirements that must be adhered to. As an example, systems designed to automatically come on to extinguish a fire must be inspected every six months. Inspections and system servicing must be accomplished by trained and certified technicians who understand the applicable NFPA and local codes.
NFPA Code 72 covers systems designed to sense a fire and send a signal to the nearest fire station. Fire notification systems include fire detectors , smoke detectors, heat sensors, and phone systems the signal travels over. Systems that are capable of self-testing on at least a weekly basis can be placed on an annual inspection routine by trained technicians. Detection devices that cannot be easily accessed must be inspected when the system is torn down for maintenance, cleaning, or repair. If the system is not dissembled for normal maintenance, detection devices must be accessed at least every 18 months.
Kenneth Oster's leadership experience includes an Air Force career, pastoral leadership, and business ownership in the automotive repair industry. He has a MBA from Western Governors University, and is working toward a DBA degree from Northcentral University. Oster authored the book, "The Complete Guide to Preserving Meat, Fish and Game: Step-by-Step Instructions to Freezing, Canning, Curing and Smoking."