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The automatic extinguishing system (AES) is an important piece of equipment in any commercial kitchen. It allows your business to fight fires as they are happening. Once a fire breaks out, the AES can be automatically or manually activated and fire suppression protocols begin. The activation of this system can trigger the shut off of fuel sources and the release of wet chemical fire extinguishing agents.

Here we’ll go over the details of working with an AES service contractor to maintain your system.

What Does an Automatic Extinguishing System Contractor Do?

Your AES service contractor will provide consultations, planning, routine maintenance, and inspections. The AES needs to be serviced on a semi-annual basis, per the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). During these inspections, there are several things that contractors look for to ensure that systems are installed and functioning properly.

What to Expect During the AES Consultation

The first appointment will be the initial consultation. In the consultation, the AES contractor will work with you to evaluate what type of equipment/coverage is needed, and placement that will work with your cooking operations. This is an important step in the process because the placement of the manual pull station should be designated, easily accessible, and visible in the event of a fire. In addition, the cooking equipment should have proper fire suppression coverage.

Semi-Annual Automatic Extinguisher System Inspection Checklist

After the appropriate system has been installed your next appointment will be the semi-annual inspection. In this inspection, the AES contractor will be there to check that the system is functioning properly. The contractor will be checking these components and repairing as required:

  • The AES alarm system testing
  • Placement of the equipment for proper AES nozzle coverage
  • Tightness of piping
  • Manual pull station
  • Checking for nozzle blow-off caps (placed on the end of the nozzles that are over the cooking appliance)
  • Condition of pressurized and non-pressurized tanks
  • Link line detectors
  • All electrical components

Once all components have been checked the AES contractor will tag the system at the tanks and the pull station. The tag will show the date of inspection, what service was provided, and if the system passed inspection. These tags can be easily lost in a busy kitchen, so it is important to keep all inspection documentation in a secure location for the fire marshal and insurance loss control inspections.

It’s also important to know that the NFPA also requires hydrostatic testing at least every 12 years, on the system’s wet chemical containers (tanks), auxiliary pressure containers, and any hose assemblies. Hydrostatic testing evaluates the system’s ability to hold pressure. It is done to test for system leaks and to ensure the safety of the pressurized system.

If your system is deemed non-compliant, it is important to work with your contractor to have the necessary repair fixed as soon as possible. Additionally, if the AES system is activated it is imperative to call the AES contractor. The contractor will make sure that your system is recharged and if any damage has occurred they can complete the necessary repairs. This will get you back in working order to allow you to continue to serve your customers.