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Ul 300

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  • Ul 300

    Can anyone recommend a few real good references to help me with UL 300 questions?

    We are having a problem with local fixed pipe guys tagging systems that dont "look" right. And honestly, I don't know enough about it to make a professional judgement.

  • #2


    On November 21, 1994, a new Underwriters Laboratories test standard entitled UL 300, Fire Testing of Fire Extinguishing Systems for Protection of Restaurant Cooking Areas went into effect. This new standard is the result of changes in fire hazards involving commercial cooking equipment.

    Pre-engineered chemical suppression systems were developed in the 1960's for the protection of commercial cooking equipment, plenums and ducts. Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) developed a series of fire tests for these systems designed to duplicate the potential fire hazard found in the work place. These tests established specific requirements (and limitations) affecting extinguishing agent, fire detection, piping limitations, nozzle coverage, etc., for each manufacturer who submitted its system for UL testing. Following successful completion of such tests, this data created the installation and maintenance manual for that specific manufacturer.

    Fats and Temperature

    At the time that these tests were developed, rendered animal fat (lard) was typically used in commercial kitchens to fry various foods. Commercial cooking operations, appliances and supplies have changed greatly since the 1960's. Health concerns have reduced the use of lard. Efforts to cook faster have caused the use of insulated "high efficiency " fryers that heat faster and cool slower. Restaurant suppliers estimate that 70-75% of commercial kitchens use vegetable oils for frying in high-efficiency fryers.

    These changes have significantly altered the fire hazard in cooking areas. Lard has a large percentage of saturated fat whereas vegetable oils have a very low percent of such fatty acids. The auto-ignition temperature of most animal fats in the 550-600 degree F. range compared to the auto-ignition temperature of most vegetable oils which is at 685 degree F. and higher.

    The extinguishing agent employed in pre-engineered restaurant systems is an alkaline base. Fatty acids combine with alkalines to produce a soapy solution in process known as saponification. Thus, when a suppression system is discharged on a burning deep fat fryer containing rendered animal fat, a soap blanket is formed cutting off the oxygen supply and containing the fire until the fuel (animal fat) is cooled below its auto-ignition temperature.

    A similar fire involving vegetable oils creates a different set of circumstances. With only a limited amount of fatty acids saponification is greatly reduced and the higher temperature of such fires, enhanced by the insulation in a high efficiency fryer, causes the soap blanket to break down. Thus the extinguishing capability of the fire suppression system is reduced.

    Time for Change

    UL recognized the need for a new set of standards for pre-engineered systems and developed its new UL 300 standard. As might be anticipated, many changes were made in the testing program. A chart comparing former tests with the new requirements is printed on the reverse of this page.

    Unfortunately, UL did not require a model number change for those manufacturers who will be modifying existing system designs to comply with the new UL 300 test standard. The only requirement is the issuance of a new installation and maintenance manual containing whatever changes and modifications found necessary for the compliance with the new standard plus the effective date of the revised publication. This could lead to some confusion because of similarities between the old and new system components.

    Buyer Beware

    We must assume that there will be a small number of sellers/installers who will attempt to furnish either new or used systems that were tested to the former standard. Such fire suppression systems would be inadequate to deliver the additional coverage found to be necessary for today's fire hazards.

    UL-300 and the Fire Service

    How can a local authority determine if the system complies with the new UL 300 standard? It is suggested that the contractor be required to include with his submittal package a copy of the manufacturer's installation and maintenance manual that would specifically indicate it is in compliance with the new standard and dated November 1994 or later.

    The new UL 300 standard assures fire protection for a hazard that has gone through many changes. It presents the most significant advancements in testing of pre-engineered restaurant fire suppression systems in the past 20 years. Without careful scrutiny by local authorities such changes would have little effect if fire suppression systems are allowed to be installed under the old listings and manuals.

    Final Remarks

    The new UL Standard 300 addresses the problems in fire protection for commercial cooking environments which reflect changes in our diet and the way we prepare food. All of these changes have resulted in fires which are hot, stubborn and difficult to extinguish. Nozzle coverages and placement options are likely to decrease while extinguishing agent amounts increase.

    Pre-engineered systems for commercial cooking operations will become more detailed, more technical, and more expensive. They will also be safer, more reliable and perform their primary function better than ever before.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


    • #3
      Thanks Buff,

      My problems aren't with the new systems as much as they are with companies doing annuals on existing systems. Any ideas on those since we do not require companies to register or submit paperwork for routing inpsections?


      • #4
        Your job is not to second-guess those who perform maintenance. If they tag the system out of service, and it is a required system, your only job is to enforce the fire code and that is by mandating that the owner of the building either repair the system according to the inspection report generated by the maintenance vendor, or to mandate that they install a new one.

        Remember, a system inspector will do exactly that- inspect the system. They do not have to make repairs unless previously authorized by the owner. They will not tag the system unless it meets the minimum standards. When I do a BI, one thing I always ask for is the system reports/work orders for any installed system. If there are discrepancies noted on the report, I will mandate that the owner have the items addressed and will note the discrepancies as a violation on my report, and will give them ....10.....15.....20 days to repair and comply.
        "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


        • #5
          When you get the report from the owner, look at the report for any sections that are indicated as "No". Sometimes the owner will forget to give you the last sheet of the report that indicates what all the "No" answers mean.
          Fire Sprinklers Save Firefighters’ Lives Too!


          • #6
            Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you guys.

            Buff, my most recent problem is that I have two companies in town that are in a ****ing contest with each other. One says a system is fine and the other will come in and tag it as deficient..then both look at us and ask "who's right?"


            • #7
              Originally posted by oconnell107 View Post
              Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you guys.

              Buff, my most recent problem is that I have two companies in town that are in a ****ing contest with each other. One says a system is fine and the other will come in and tag it as deficient..then both look at us and ask "who's right?"
              I would say that it's not your job to decide that, unless you are fully certified and qualified to render the opinion; however even if you were cert/qual'd, and you do render an opinion, you leave yourself open to liability. Let's say Vendor A says the system is fine, and Vendor B says it needs X, Y and Z. Property Owner asks you to render an opinion, you agree with Vendor A. Place burns down the next night. Who do you think one of the Defendants are going to be on the lawsuit?
              A. Yourself
              B. Your Fire Department
              C. Your Code Enforcement Department
              D. Your Fire Marshal
              E. Your Municipality
              F. All of the above

              If I were you, I would recommend to the property owner that he not use either one of the vendors and go for one out of the area. If that is not possible, I would kick it back to the property owner's insurance provider for a decision.
              "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


              • #8
                I just pulled your profile, and looked up your Community. Nice FD website and good FM page too!

                You are basically in between Austin and San Antonio. I find it hard to believe the two vendors you talked about are the only game around. In Pennsylvania, I can not, by law, recommend vendors to property owners. However, in your situation, I would suggest that the property owners contact a vendor from one of the two cities.

                Would the Texas State FM's Office be of help to you? How about a County Fire Marshal's Office?

                One other thing I recommend, which you have sort of done by coming on here- Reach out for help from other FM's. In our area, on Fridays, about 4 or 5 of us from immediately surrounding municipalities all have lunch together. We rotate who's town we are going to, so that everyone takes turns traveling (with the approval of the bosses of course.) Yes we are having lunch, but we are also sharing problems and solutions with one another. Additionally, we do have a County-Wide Fire Marshal's group that meets once a month in a more formal setting, again to discuss problems and solutions, and we also have occasional training from various sources. Not to stop you from coming on here, I'll toss in my 2 cents and if it helps you, great, but perhaps someone more local could be of great benefit to you??????

                Also, some insurance companies provide great training, sometimes for free, sometimes with cost. Chubb Insurance has a great program located in New Jersey (yeah a bit of a stretch for you) that trains officials in all aspects of sprinklers and extinguishing systems (http://www.chubb.com/businesses/service/chubb5999.html) Perhaps you have something more local that could suit you.

                Best Regards.
                Last edited by FWDbuff; 10-31-2009, 06:48 PM.
                "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


                • #9
                  Buf, you're singing my song!

                  We've called the state. Texas is pretty laid back, and doesn't really address this particular issue. Our governmental situation is different than most places in that the county FM acutally has less authority than municipal FMs.

                  I've told all of the businesses that have been affected that I rely on the "professionals" that inspect and tag these systems. If someone puts a red tag on the system, it's not my place to question it, and conversely, if it's green tagged, it's okay with me.

                  What I've been telling them, essentially, is use who they trust becasue that company is accepting the liability for the system. I just want to make sure I am on the right track and am not overtly exposing my jurisdiction to liability.

                  Thanks for the props on our department and community...the FMs website is a work in progress so any suggestions you have are welcome.
                  Last edited by oconnell107; 11-01-2009, 06:41 PM.


                  • #10
                    Pat, turn on your private messages, or better yet, fire me an email to [email protected]
                    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


                    • #11
                      You can ask the company what the problem they see is.

                      than either find a neutral company to ask if they think it is a problem, and see what answer you get.

                      You can basicaly look at a system, and most appliances need at least one nozzle over it. deep fat fryers for sure require thier own nozzle. an electic griddle of about four feet can be covered by one nozzle normaly.

                      The other thing you can do is find what brand system it is and either look on line for install manual or call the maker for a install manual. If it is a coverage question the install manual will have various appliances and what specific nozzle is required, and where that nozzle has to be located.


                      • #12
                        UL-300 System problems

                        There are many things that could render a system as being tagged "deficient" by a service agency. I have been doing fire suppression systems for many years and have seen my share of questionable practices by fire equipment companies.

                        Changes or additions in appliances. The system may have been installed while older appliances were in place, or more could have been added, or they could have been repositioned. Thus changing the required flows for each appliance. Systems are designed and configured to deliver a measured amount of chemical agent to each appliance that requires protection. For instance, an Ansul R-102 wet chemical fire suppression system with one 3 gallon tank provides up to 11 flow points, max. A 1.5 gallon tank provides about 5 more. Normal sized fryers require 2 flows each. Larger fryers can require 3 and even 4 flows. The average duct requires 2 flows (depending on size), plenums require 1 flow up to 10 feet (a longer hood would then require an additional flow) griddles, depending on size would require a minimum of 1 flow, ranges typically require 1 flow for each 2 burners, etc.
                        When a system is inspected by a "service agency", these things should be checked.

                        The exhaust may not be functioning properly upon system activation. Most cities require the exhaust to turn on (or stay on) in the event of a system activation, and the makeup air to shut down.

                        The gas/fuel shut-off may not be functioning properly, or may not be hooked up at all! When the system activates, all fuel sources under the hood shall shut down (both electrical and gas)

                        The detection components of the system may be damaged, or so heavily coated with grease that it could restrict the automatic function of the system. I've seen systems where the conduit of the detection system had such a severe grease build-up, that the system would not trip upon cutting of the test link at the terminal end of the detection line.

                        There may be holes in the exhaust hood and/or ducts that a fire and smoke could extend from.

                        Maybe the filters are the incorrect type. Mesh filters should all be replaced with baffle filters as required per NFPA 96.

                        Pull stations also may be blocked or obstructed and need to be relocated.

                        All (restaurant) systems made today will have some indication on the labeling to indicate whether the system is UL-300 or not. Since UL-300 went into effect in late 1994, most systems that were installed new from 1995 on SHOULD be UL-300 compliant.
                        But a lot of service agencies do complete a systems inspection report at the time of service that would indicate the specifics of a system at the time of inspection. Whether it is or isn't UL-300 compliant, whether the appliances are properly protected, the size of the system, appliance layout/positioning, and what was done at the time of service such as changing fusible links, etc.

                        However, I've also seen many restaurant owners remove a "red-tag" or sticker from a system, as they don't want it to be seen or noticed by anyone such as inspectors!! Anytime an inspector checks a restaurant, I would suggest asking to see their system inspection paperwork, and at a minimum making sure the dates are within the current inspection period. If not, I would write up a notice of violation unless they can prove otherwise. Many times too, a service company will be more than happy to provide copies of inspection reports to fire inspectors when asked.
                        If the system is inoperable, I've seen instances (although rare) where the fire inspector has ordered the place to close until repairs are made to render the system operable again. But it always depended on the severity of the deficiency causing the inoperability of the system.
                        Last edited by Fireguyminn; 11-15-2009, 08:34 PM.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fireguyminn View Post
                          If the system is inoperable, I've seen instances (although rare) where the fire inspector has ordered the place to close until repairs are made to render the system operable again. But it always depended on the severity of the deficiency causing the inoperability of the system.
                          See post #2 over here: http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=110502
                          "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


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