NFPA 96 There were an estimated 7,670 fires reported to public fire departments nationwide each year.

Statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration, the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and an insurance company, give more details about cooking fire hazards. Approximately 64 percent of all restaurant fires in 2002 were caused by cooking – and cooking materials were the most frequent items initially ignited.

Approximately 31 percent of these fires involved deep fryers, 18 percent involved cooking ranges and 11 percent involved cooking grills· Approximately 35 percent of cooking fires were extinguished by portable fire extinguishers· 91 percent of the losses by dollar value and 78 percent by number of occurrences were due to fire, according to an insurance company’s property loss experience from 1999 through 2005 for all restaurant losses exceeding $100,000.·
Only 12 percent of the restaurants were protected by a full or partial sprinkler system, but over 90 percent were equipped with overhead hoods with extinguishing systems in the cooking areas according to the insurance company’s loss experience.
Only 46 percent of the restaurants were protected by either a sprinkler system or an overhead hood with extinguishing systems in the area a fire occurred per national statistics.
To help protect their operations against all these hazards, restaurateurs should adhere to the  NFPA standards, which address the most common areas where fires occur in restaurants.NFPA® codes, standards, recommended practices, and guides (“NFPA Documents”), of which the document contained here is one, are developed through a consensus standards development process approved by the American National Standards Institute.
This process brings together volunteers representing varied viewpoints and interests to achieve consensus on fire and other safety issues. NFPA 96: Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial.
Cooking Operations Standard NFPA 96 provides the least fire safety requirements for both public and private cooking operations.
Within the Standard are Chapters 5 and 6, which address configuration and exhaust hood size necessary to give capture and removal of grease-laden vapors.
NFPA 96 requires that exhaust hoods are equipped with listed grease removal devices such as filters and that there is at least 18 inches of clearance between the grease filter and the cooking surface – unless the filter is listed for closer separation distances.
Filters should be easily accessible and removable for cleaning and installed at an angle not less than 45 degrees from the horizontal.
While the general requirements of NFPA 96 state that all cooking equipment used in processes producing smoke or grease-laden vapors shall be equipped with an exhaust system, Chapter 7 specifically addresses exhaust duct systems and the issues of installation, access and clearance.
Ducts should be installed without dips or traps that might collect residues, such as grease, and there must be access to all parts of the duct to ease cleaning.
All exhaust ducts must lead directly to the exterior of the building to have the shortest length of duct-work necessary, which helps limit the area available for grease to build-up and the amount of duct that has to be cleaned.NFPA 96’s Chapter 11 addresses rules for the use and maintenance of equipment.
Hood Exhaust systems must be operated when cooking equipment is turned on and cooking equipment must not be operated while the protection systems are inoperative or under repair.Properly trained and qualified staff should do maintenance on the fire extinguishing systems at least every six month and inspect the entire exhaust system for grease build-up regularly depending on the type of operations.
High volume cooking operations must inspections quarterly, at a minimum; moderate volume cooking operations must semi-annual inspections; and low volume cooking operations – such as day camps, seasonal businesses and senior centers – require annual inspections.
If any exhaust system has deposits from grease-laden vapors, the contaminated portions must be cleaned by properly trained people.Neither training nor certification guarantees that any company or person will do a good job.
NFPA 96-2014
Up blast fans with motors surrounded by the air stream shall be hinged and supplied with flexible weatherproof electrical cable and service hold-open retainers.NFPA 96 – 2014, Section 11.4:
The entire exhaust system shall be inspected for grease buildup by a properly trained, qualified, and certified person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and in accordance with

Type or Volume of Cooking Frequency Frequency
Systems serving solid fuel cooking operations Monthly
Systems serving high-volume cooking operations such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling, or wok cooking Quarterly
Systems serving moderate-volume cooking operations Semiannually
Systems serving low-volume cooking operations, such as churches, day camps, seasonal businesses, or senior centers. Annually

2014 NFPA 9611.6 Cleaning of Exhaust Systems.11.6.1* If, upon inspection, the exhaust system is found to be
contaminated with deposits from grease-laden vapors, the contaminated portions of the exhaust system shall be cleaned
by a properly trained, qualified, and certified person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.11.6.2* Hoods, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to remove combustible contaminants prior to surfaces becoming heavily contaminated with grease or oily sludge.

Access panels may be necessary to properly reach and clean areas of the exhaust system. NFPA recommends installation every 12 feet of duct work.Grease and particulate buildup in the exhaust system is a fire hazard, and greatly impacts on the efficiency and lifetime of mechanical equipment.According to the National Fire Protection Association, the majority of restaurant fires originate on the kitchen cooking appliances and flare into the kitchen exhaust system.
If the entire exhaust system is not cleaned, a significant risk for fire exists whenever cooking appliances are used.Insurance companies are good resources and can help with the establishment of these programs.Don’t let a fire start in your cooking area.
By following the appropriate NFPA 96 standards to protect your facility, and implementing and maintaining human element programs, you can decrease the chances of a fire occurring and keep your business in business.


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