Written by redwall

FAQ: Kitchen Hoods


Calling all restaurant and food service businesses! Do you know how, when, why, and who should inspect your kitchen hood and ventilation systems?  Don’t let your kitchen fall behind on codes and requirements. Here are few of our most frequently asked questions regarding kitchen hood systems.

What is a kitchen hood suppression system?

Kitchen hoods are designed to provide fire protection for commercial cooking applications.

Why do I need to have my kitchen hood inspected?

Kitchen hoods are subject to many different cooking oils and greases that build up over time causing an increased risk of failed operation when not tested properly.

How often do I need to have my kitchen hood inspected?

Kitchen hoods should be inspected semi-annually and have the manufacturer recommended parts replaced during those intervals.

Need a more detailed review? Our team is ready to help! Check out our introduction to kitchen hood inspections here or give us a call directly.

FAQ: Foam Systems


Foam fire suppression systems protect some of the most hazardous environments out there. Though, this is a less common protection system, it requires a highly trained technical staff to inspect and maintain. Here are some common questions we get regarding foam systems.

What is a foam system

Foam is a stable mass of small, air-filled bubbles with a lower density than oil, gasoline, or water. A foam system solution is made up of three ingredients: water, a foam concentrate, and air. Water is mixed with the proportioned foam concentrate to form a foam solution. This solution is then mixed with aspirated air to produce a foam which readily flows over fuel surfaces.

Who needs a foam system?

Foam systems typically cover are with flammable liquid storage, loading racks, processing areas, refineries, dike areas, aircraft hangars, heliports, engine test facilities, marine applications, and warehouses.

How does a foam system work?

Foam systems suppress fire by separating the fuel from the air.

How often should I inspect my foam system?

Foam systems require semi-annual inspections by qualified technicians.

Need more information or didn’t see what you were looking for here? We’d be happy to help! Contact our fire protection team directly.

FAQ: Fire Extinguishers


You know they hang on the wall in case of a fire emergency, but did you know they require regular maintenance and inspection with the rest of your fire protection systems? Fire extinguisher inspection is not only an NFPA requirement, it will help ensure that your fire extinguishers are capable of containing or extinguishing most small fires before they become big ones.

Do I need my fire extinguisher inspected?

  • Yes. Fire extinguisher should be inspected at various points throughout the year.

Who can inspect fire extinguishers?

  • Monthly fire extinguisher inspections do not require a certification.
  • All inspections and services higher than a monthly inspection, such as the annual inspection, six year internal inspection, and twelve year hydrostatic test,  must be performed by a qualified technician.

For more information on extinguisher inspections, check out our Fire Extinguisher Inspection Checklist blog here or contact us directly.

FAQ: Exit and Emergency Lights


Exit and emergency lights are often an overlooked area of fire protection. These mandatory pieces of equipment require more than you may think. Here are few questions people ask us about their exit and emergency light inspections.

Do my exit and emergency lights need tested?

  • Yes.  E-lights should be tested monthly at the user level and annually by an outside vendor.

What does a proper test consist of?

  • Two tests should be performed during the annual inspection.
  • The 30 second push button test
  • The 90 minute illumination test

Will testing interrupt my business?

  • No. Exit and emergency light testing will not interfere with your business productivity.

For more detailed information, check out this post on proper exit and emergency light testing procedure or feel free to contact us directly.


FAQ: Fire Suppression Systems


Fire suppression, or clean agent systems, are needed in many cases where a fire sprinkler system is not a viable option for protection. Here are few common questions we receive about this type of system.

What is a clean agent system?

  • Clean agent fire suppression systems are non-water based systems designed to protect data processing centers, storage vaults, occupied or unoccupied electronic areas with sensitive or irreplaceable equipment, and IT rooms.

How often are clean agent systems inspected?

  • Clean agent systems require semi-annual inspection.

How do I know if I need a clean agent system?

  • Generally, any space containing sensitive equipment that uses water based fire protection or is without fire protection should consider a clean agent system. This would include places such as data processing centers, storage vaults, occupied or unoccupied electronic areas with sensitive or irreplaceable equipment, and IT rooms.

Need to know something that wasn’t covered here? Our experts are happy to help! Please give us a call directly or shoot us an email with your inquiry.

FAQ: Fire Sprinklers


Not sure where to start with your fire sprinkler search? Here is a break down of what you need to know to make an informed decision regarding the safety and protection of your business’s fire sprinkler system.

What kind of sprinkler system do I have?

There are five general types of fire sprinklers:

1. Automatic

The automatic fire sprinkler system is the most widely used fire protection system today. It works by applying the right amount of water in the right place (the base of the fire) at the right time (as fast as possible). Traditionally, hazard systems were fed directly from town mains, but now, automatic water tanks and pumps are taking their place to guarantee adequate water flow and pressure.

2. Wet

A wet fire sprinkler system system is constantly charged with water under pressure that holds the fire sprinkler valve in a closed position. As a fire sprinkler head is activated, water instantly flows directly to the fire. A wet fire sprinkler system is commonly installed in areas where the ambient temperature is above 40 degrees F.

3. Dry

As opposed to the wet system, the dry fire sprinkler system is constantly charged with compressed air that holds the fire sprinkler valve in closed position. When a fire sprinkler head is activated, the air pressure dissolves and the valve opens so water can flow into the system and onto the fire. A dry fire sprinkler system is commonly installed in areas where the ambient temperature cannot be maintained above 40 degrees F, where a freeze risk is possible.

4. Pre-Action

A pre-action sprinkler system combines an electrical and mechanical detection system that is charged with compressed air. Sprinkler pipes are only filled with water upon activation of a detection system to avoid accidental water damage. A pre-action fire sprinkler system is commonly installed in high-risk areas such as data processing facilities or cold storage warehouses.

5. Deluge

A deluge system is also a combination of an electrical and mechanical detection system, but fire sprinkler heads are open and the pipe is not pressurized. When the detection system is activated, water discharges through all of the sprinkler heads in the system.  A deluge fire sprinkler system is commonly installed in high-risk areas such as power plants, aircraft hangars, and chemical storage or processing facilities.

And now that we’ve covered what kind of system you may own, here are few commonly asked questions about the different systems and components. 

How are fire sprinkler heads rated?

  • Each fire sprinkler head is rated by degree, depending on its application. For example, if a fire sprinkler head is rated for 155 degrees, if the surrounding area temperature reaches 155 degrees the bulb will burst and engage the sprinkler system.

How do I know my sprinkler system works?

  • The laws set forth by your local fire department and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) protect you by making sure that all fire related systems are tested at regular intervals to ensure proper operation.

Does the system need to be inspected?

  • Yes. In most jurisdictions, sprinkler systems require a minimum of one inspection annually.

Should I have my system tested?

  • Yes.  Your local fire department will notify you when and how often this should be done.  The minimum testing of a standard fire sprinkler system is annually and the maximum is weekly.

What is a backflow device?

  • A backflow device is used to prevent polluted or contaminated water from entering the clean water supply due to a back pressure or back siphon situation like a water main burst. 

Who can test my backflow?

  • Only licensed and certified backflow testers can inspect backflow devices.

How often should my backflow be tested?

Do you have a specific question that is not addressed here? We’d be happy to help! Remember, knowing the basics of your fire protection needs is important and will help reduce your risk for loss. Please give us a call directly or shoot us an email with your inquiry.