By Michelle Morales


In one calendar year, firefighters will be called approximately 8,240 times to fires at dining establishments. That’s nearly 23 times every single day!  This adds up to nearly $200 MILLION dollars in property damage each year, and that doesn’t even include fires at industrial facilities or processing plants that also battle rooftop grease. Rooftop grease containment is a proactive step towards peace of mind regarding the safety of your employees, your establishment, and staying compliant with NFPA standards and local fire codes.

“NFPA 96 is a set of codes and standards for ventilation control and fire protection of commercial cooking operations,”  and is defined by, “the ability to drain grease out of any trap or low point formed in the or duct near the termination of the system into a collection container that is noncombustible, closed, rainproof, structurally sound for the service to which it is applied and will not sustain combustion.”  Every local agency bases their required standards around NFPA 96. In order to obtain compliance, rooftop grease containment products must be tested for effectiveness using unbiased organizations.  Underwriters Laboratories Inc is a 3rd party lab that is world recognized as the leader in product safety testing and certifications.

There are three specific experiments that Underwriters Laboratories performs on rooftop grease containment products to see if they are effective for fire prevention and establish NFPA 96 compliance; they are:

  • The “Flaming Brand Test” – During this experiment, flaming solid particles are dropped directly onto fire defense systems to see what level of ignition and flammability the materials making up the system have. This test simulates flaming particles flying out of the ventilation system of the establishment and landing on the roof, and a rooftop grease containment systems ability to truly prevent the spreading of fire.
  • The “Flaming Grease Test” – This test is conducted by lighting vegetable oil up to its flash point then letting it burn for at least 20 seconds before finally dripping it onto defense system being tested. This test was intended to mimic burning or flaming oil dripping onto the roof from the ventilator.
  • “Fire Exposure Test” – This experiment happens by using Luminous Gas Flame intermittently applied directly to the defense system being tested. This test demonstrates how the system holds up with external flames directly on or near it.

Choosing the proper rooftop grease containment is a crucial step in protecting your investment.  Our product, the Grease Guard Rooftop Defense System, passed all three of Underwriters Laboratories tests. It efficiently confined the burning materials, both solids and oils, without igniting or combusting, and it did not allow the spread of fire beyond the system itself. Additionally, there was no evidence that the support surface (or rooftop) underneath sustained any burning. This makes it an ideal tool for in fire protection.

Now, to achieve this, each Grease Guard comes with a “Fire Shield” layer, which goes under the filters flat against the roof. This is a fire retardant barrier that protects the roof and building from any potential exhaust system fire hazards. Next, The Grease Guard uses a top layer filter, which is fire-resistant and self-extinguishing. This is constructed from an open cross section polymer.  Additionally, the Grease Guard molded their corners from a UL Listed, corrosion, UV and temperature resistant copolymer with galvanized steel connector bars. Lastly, the filters are sprayed with a fire-retardant chemical.

It’s no secret that restaurants come with fire hazards. Regulations like NFPA 96, partnered with UL Listed products, can help keep the staff, the customers, and the structures compliant and safe.



  • Brett, Siobhan. “Why More Than 8,00 Restaurants Catch Fire Every Year” 09/06/2018.
  • Restelli, Daniel P. Underwriters Laboratories Inc.