NFPA Code 96: Commercial Kitchen Standards

Who is the NFPA?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a United States trade association that works to establish and maintain fire safety standards and codes to prevent death, injury, property damage or economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. Local governments adopt these standards in an effort to establish model building codes and equipment standards that keep fire related businesses and organizations safe. This includes commercial kitchens, construction projects, and firefighting equipment.

What is NFPA 96 and How Does it Apply to Me?

NFPA 96 in particular concerns the cleanliness standards for commercial kitchen exhaust systems. Vaporized grease from cooking operations solidifies inside the ventilation ducts over time, creating an incredible fire hazard. NFPA 96 outlines how often grease should be removed from your system by a professional as well as the guidelines of what areas need to be cleaned.

NFPA 11.6.1 “Upon inspection, if 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 company or person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.”

 NFPA 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.”

 Grease fires most often occur due to neglected kitchen exhaust systems covered in grease within the duct work. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, from 2011 to 2013 cooking was the leading cause of fires, accounting for 63.5% of all reported restaurant fires.

What Can I Do About it?

When your cooking equipment isn’t properly cleaned, it allows grease residue to build up, creating a fire hazard inside of the hood, duct work, and exhaust fan. If a fire was to occur on the cook line, all of these grease deposits allow the fire to spread to these portions of the building. To prevent this fire risk you MUST remove the grease deposits. How often you should clean you system depends on the type of cooking operation your business or organizations is and how often you use those appliances. Table 11.4 below from NFPA Code 96 details the minimum standards on how often your kitchen exhaust system should be professionally cleaned based on cooking volume:

When you keep and maintain a proper cleaning schedule, you’re ensuring the safety of your facility, your equipment and your staff. Bare Metal Standard sets the highest national standard for kitchen exhaust cleaning services and goes above and beyond NFPA 96’s fire safety code requirements. You’ll never fail inspection or risk getting shut down due to an unsafe kitchen exhaust system. When you partner with us, you’re making the best decision to keep your commercial kitchen clean, efficient, and up to code.

To read the full set of NFPA 96’s fire safety code standards, check out their website.