A fire detection and suppression system developed specifically to protect commercial kitchens has been installed to safeguard the life and wellbeing of kitchen staff, diners and, ultimately, the 7.4 million visitors to Sydney Opera House and particularly the 320,000-plus people that tour the building each year.
The project was undertaken as part of a major renovation, refurbishment and upgrading of the kitchen of the popular Opera Bar, located on the lower concourse. While it involved the fitting of two new hoods, as much as possible of the kitchen’s original equipment and systems were retained, rebuilt and relocated to ensure compliance with the latest fire safety standards that are insisted upon by regulatory authorities and insurance providers. These include Underwriters Laboratories’ UL 300 standard and the Australian standards, AS/NZ 1668 Set: 2005 and AS 3772
The new fire protection system was provided by Delta Fire & Safety – a Delta Fire Australasia Pty Ltd company – which specialises in commercial kitchen fire protection, via its Sydney office. The company supplied a pre-engineered Ansul R-102 system, widely regarded as the world’s most frequently installed kitchen fire protection solution, to protect the cooking appliances, hoods and ductwork. Using a fire suppression agent that was specially developed for commercial kitchen applications, the Ansul system will automatically detect and suppresses a fire in the Opera Bar kitchen before it has time to take hold. It ensures fast flame knock-down, secures vapours, and cools hot surfaces and cooking oils. The agent will not corrode the cooking equipment, and post-fire clean-up requires nothing more than flushing the affected area with water or steam.
As is the case with many catering establishments, work installing the new fire protection system had to be undertaken outside of normal opening hours. An additional requirement for the project was that the phasing of the installation should not inhibit the use of any of the equipment when the kitchen was in operation during the installation period.
Although an automatic system, Ansul R-102 can also be triggered manually. Furthermore, immediately the system detects a fire, the gas or electric power to the kitchen appliances is cut-off prior to suppressant discharge. In fact, such is the system’s speed of reaction and effectiveness that diners in the Opera Bar are unlikely to be even aware that a fire has occurred. The clean-up process calls for nothing more than hot soapy water, but the recharging and resetting of the system should be carried out immediately by an authorised contractor to restore the system to its full operational state.
Delta Fire Australasia Pty Ltd specialises in the fire protection of high-risk, high-hazard environments, providing commercial, industrial and firefighting customers throughout Australia with market-leading equipment, proven solutions and professional fire engineering expertise. In addition to its Brisbane headquarters, the company has offices in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.