Q: We have an assisted living and basic care units at our facility. We have 48 total units: 24 on the east side and 24 on the west side. On each wing we have an electric range that is open to the corridor. I have been here 4 years and never have seen them in use. Under the new 2012 Life Safety Code, will we have to put in a suppression system on the units, plus will interlocks have to be installed? Currently we just turn off the breaker to the units. We have microwave units mounted above the stove and they have exhaust fans on them. Can they stay or will we have to put in regular exhaust fans?
A: It depends on what the range is used for….
If you never use it to prepare meals for staff or residents, then the Life Safety Code refers to these devices as food warming devices, and section 126.96.36.199.2 of the 2012 LSC says where residential cooking equipment is used for food warming or limited cooking, the equipment shall not be required to be protected in accordance with 9.2.3, and the presence of the equipment shall not require the area to be protected as a hazardous area. Section 9.2.3 is the requirement for commercial cooking equipment to be protected with NFPA 96 exhaust hood and fire suppression system.
If you do use these ranges for preparing meals for residents, then you must comply with the more restrictive requirements found in section 188.8.131.52.3.