FIRE EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, INC.
RESTAURANT FIRE PROTECTION CHANGES - UL 300
Questions & Answers
UL 300 is a fire test procedure written by UL to ensure that all manufacturers are performing the same tests, in the same manner, in order to list their products with ULI.
The change in UL 300 were specific to the appliances in an effort to provide test protocols that more closely reflect real world fire risks.
The original effective date was January 13, 1194, but was delayed because of changes made to the standard.
The three major changes recently in fire testing were:
- The use of commercially available appliances that met specific heat up and cool down rates.
- The use of vegetable shortening with more severe burning characteristics (auto-ignition temperatures of 685 F or higher).
- Leaving the appliance heat source on during a two-minute pre-burn time instead of tuning the appliance off prior to a one-minute pre-burn.
Items A & C were the most critical changes.
Although each manufacturer's system is different, on average five times more agent is required for protection of fryers. Changes discussed in question 5 result in a more intense fire that is difficult to extinguish and far more difficult to secure against reflash.
The combination of all of these changes presents a much more difficult fire test, which in turn leads to a greater safety margin in real world applications.
Both extinguishments splash tests (no burning grease ejected from appliance during extinguishments) and cooking temperature splash tests (no grease droplets larger than 3/16 inch splashed from the appliance). Note: Failure of a splash test constitutes failure of the system at that nozzle location, even if fire extinguishments have been achieved.
According to UL, system manufactured before November 21, 1994 can be installed after November 21, 1994. However, several state fire marshals and other local authorities have issued mandatory compliance deadlines. Check with your AHJ to ensure compliance. Additionally, some manufacturers have issued statements regarding time limits for such installations. Check with manufacturer before installing.
UL's requirement provide the basis for UL to conduct follow-up service inspections at the time of manufacturer. However, it is the AHJ, not UL that governs the acceptability of installation. Some manufacturers will not accept liability for pre-UL 300 systems that have been salvaged and re-installed in another location. This action is far beyond the concept of "grandfathering"..
When acceptable to authorities having jurisdiction.
UL has stated that anywhere a new UL 300 cylinder assembly bearing the UL mask is used, that system must comply with the referenced installation manual. Replacement cylinder assemblies may be provided without the UL mark on the label; however, this may affect the acceptability of the system to the authority having jurisdiction.
Cylinder label references the manufacturer's installation, operation, maintenance, and recharge manual , thus linking the cylinder assembly and system design to the listed limits. In some cases, the label may also state "meets the requirements of Standard UL 300".
The requirement for replacement or upgrading of pre-UL 300 system units may come from the authority having jurisdiction or the insurance company involved. UL does not require replacement or upgrading of old systems.
Although there is no UL requirement for the additional label, most manufacturers are making such a label available.
UL has confirmed that no UL 300 listings currently exist for dry chemical system units intended to protect restaurant cooking areas. Testing by manufacturers has shown that while dry chemical systems can extinguish the UL 300 fire tests, reflash is likely to occur due to the lack of cooling.
The addition of another appliance to a pre-UL 300 system would not require that the entire system be upgraded to the new standard if coverable with the existing cylinder(s) under the parameters of the existing installation manual. If new cylinder assemblies manufactured after November 21, 1994 are added, then the system may need to be upgraded. Check with your AHJ since installation requirements may vary.
If the duct is protected by a separate dry chemical system, then only appliance protection need be upgraded to meet the new requirements, unless otherwise mandated by the AHJ. However, both wet and dry systems must discharge simultaneously and be listed by the manufacturer specifically for that operation.
The heat responsive link may take one minute or more to react and is intended as an automatic means to actuate the system if human intervention is not possible. The manual pull is a fastest means to react to the fire and should always be used before a portable extinguisher, because actuation of the system also shuts off power or gas to the appliance. Of course, the fire department should also be called and the building evacuated.
Manufacturers provide recommendations for choosing the proper fuse links. These recommendations should be followed. In general, the most rapid acting link not likely to cause an unwanted discharge should be used.
The correct operation of fuel shut-off devices is critical to successful fire suppression of cooking appliance hazards even for UL 300 listed systems..
Realistically, the most efficient fire suppression will occur when the manual pull of the system is activated. Actuating the system will turn off the heat sources to the appliances and apply agent efficiently without improper human appliance techniques. If appliance heat sources are not turned off, multiple extinguishers can be used and reflash may still occur. Down-time and clean-up may be greater after discharging several extinguishers and then having the system discharge. Certainly any chance of increasing damage by leaving the appliance heat source on while attempting extinguishment with hand portables will also affect down-time.
UL tests for B rated extinguishers use n-heptane in-depth fires to assign ratings. No commercial cooking appliances or shortenings are used for B rated extinguishers. No commercial cooking appliances or shortenings are used for B rated extinguishers. A new classification for fire extinguishers for use in commercial cooking area (Class K) has been proposed for inclusion in NFPA 10, and UL has developed a corresponding draft fire testing protocol that does use a commercial cooking appliance and commercial shortening. When NFPA 10 is revised to include Class K extinguishers, manufacturers will list portable extinguishers specifically for this use.
NFPA 10 currently specifies the use of sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate dry chemical fire extinguishers for the protection of cooking grease fires. A recent TIA submitted by FEMA has been approved NFPA Standards Council. The TIA incorporated wet chemical portable extinguishers into NFPA 10 as acceptable protection. Dry chemical extinguishers with appropriate ratings remain acceptable.
The two major changes recently in restaurants include: 1. high energy efficiency appliances to reduce costs, which are better insulated and retain heat that increases the difficulty of extinguishment; & 2. the use of low cholesterol vegetable shortening which has more severe burning characteristics (auto-ignition temperature of 685 F or greater).
Since pre-UL 300 fryer fire tests were not conducted with electric fryers and/or animal fat, there isnot data to support this assumption. Therefore, all fryers must have the same protection regardless of fryer heat source or type of shortening used.
The question, not the answer, is false. There is no such thing as a pre-UL 300 listed system without shut downs. All UL listed restaurant fire protection systems - before and after UL 300 - must include automatic shut downs. Without automatic shut downs, there is virtually no chance a fryer will not reflash after initial extinguishment regardless of the level of dry or wet chemical protection.
Part of UL 300 testing requires that each appliance must be covered individually unless a specific listing in the manufacturer's design, installation, and maintenance manual. In order to obtain a listing covering multiple appliances with a single nozzle, the manufacturer must specifically test this arrangement under the UL 300 test standard.
This is called an "Appliance Specific" listing and such coverage is only UL listed with the make and model fryer that is referenced in the manual. "Flat Bottom" or "Specialty" fryers often do not meet UL 300 requirements for grease depth, heat-up rate, and /or cool down rates for fryers used in testing.
In order to obtain a listing for a "Flat Bottom" or "Specialty" fryer, UL ties the coverage to the specific make and model appliance that was tested. This type of coverage is not to be used on other deep fat fryers.
To Date, no dry chemical system has been listed under UL 300; dry chemical may still be used for plenum and duct protection. Multiple Appliances must be treated individually under UL 300. A system using only one agent cylinder could still be within UL 300 limitations. A system manufactured before November 21, 1994 could have been installed within UL 300 listings, or could have been altered and upgraded to UL 300 listings. A combination griddle/range must be protected as two separate appliances or specifically listed in the manual under UL 300 testing.
It is recommended that considerations be given to upgrading dry chemical systems protecting appliances to UL 300 systems. Any system without shut-offs is not listed and should be upgraded to a UL 300 system. Any system requiring alterations or that has had changes to the appliance (including the addition of high efficiency /high recovery fryers) should be upgraded to UL 300. An interpretation of "grandfathered" system indicates that pre-UL 300 systems, installed in accordance with their listing, are okay as long as no changes to the system or cooking equipment have been made. Pre-UL 300 systems that have had changes occur in the cooking equipment or require changes in the system should be replaced or upgraded toa UL 300 listed system.
If the duct is protected by a separate dry chemical system, then only the appliance protection need be upgraded to meet the new requirements, unless otherwise mandated by the AHJ. However, both wet and dry systems must discharge simultaneously..
UL audits the manufacturing of the product through the follow-up service at the factory..
Such an installation would not be in accordance with the UL listing since the design, installation, and maintenance manual is the part of that listing. AHJs, not UL, govern the acceptability of installations. However. most AHJ and local codes require systems listed by an independent testing laboratory. This installation would not be listed. Furthermore, since the manufacturer's design and installation instructions and requirements are being ignored, all liability for the system's performance will rest with the installing company.
Currently, several revisions to the published standard are being proposed to incorporate change made as a result of manufacturer's compliance testing. These revisions will not require additional testing by manufacturers currently in compliance. Further changes are possible through the UL standards development process to refine UL 300 further.