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  1. Don’t Get Grilled… on Grill Safety!

    May 26, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    As the weather warms up, we know that a lot of you will be warming up the grill for barbecuing season. But do you know how to prevent your grill from starting a fire? According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2009 and 2013, there was an average of 8,900 grill, hibachi, or barbecue-related home fires per year. Here are five important facts about grill safety that will make your backyard the safe haven that you want it to be.

    1. Be very careful with liquid gas and propane, because they are extremely flammable. The most dangerous type of fuel to use in grills is gas, accounting for 83 percent of all grill fires. Charcoal and other materials account for less fires, but any material can pose a fire risk.

    2. You should always make sure to clean your grill properly before and after you use it. Improperly cleaned grills are the leading cause of grill fire. For gas grills, you can use a pipe cleaner to clear blockage in the tubes that lead to the burner.

    3. Another leading cause of grill fires that use gas is leaks or breaks that can develop in the gas line. It is always a good idea to inspect the pipes and fuel sources before you fire up the grill. Also, make sure there are no sharp bends in the tubing and pipes which might result in unnecessary stress on the system.

    4. Always have proper ventilation while grilling. Do not grill indoors, and be cautious with awnings or umbrellas. If you grill indoors, you are not only risking a fire, but also, suffocation from the fumes produced by gas and charcoal grills. Always use grills at least 10 feet away from your house or any building.

    5. If you suspect a leak, be careful. Keep open flames and lit cigarettes away from the grill, and if you suspect that there is a leak, play it safe. Do not light the grill if you smell excessive gas, or if you notice any abnormalities in the grill’s fuel system.

    It is important to know the facts behind grill safety. Grilling season is upon us, and we want to prevent as many fires as possible during this high-risk season. Proper fire safety systems are an important part of fire prevention, but safe practices are also crucial to a safe environment. If you have any questions about fire safety, whether you’re grilling at home or at your business, you can contact us at 630-960-5060.


  2. Five Questions to Ask to Assess Your First Aid Requirement for Workplace

    April 19, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    We cannot overstate the importance of first aid requirement for the workplace. If you read through the OSHA requirements for first aid kits and first aid training, and the ANSI minimum first aid equipment for businesses, you may notice that a lot of the details are left up to the business owner. That is because every business is different, and will have different risks depending on the equipment involved in the business. A simple office space might have a small, basic first aid kit, while a car mechanic would probably need a much more complex one. Here are five steps to help guide you through the process of determining what first aid kit and training your business and your employees need.

     

    1. What are the most common injuries in your industry? Think about the equipment involved with your industry, and what kind of accidents can happen with that equipment. Make sure you satisfy the first aid requirement for workplace accidents to handle the most probable injuries within your specific business.

     

    3. How close are you to the nearest hospital or medical center? In the event of an emergency, how long would it be until help arrived? If your business is in a remote location, you might need extra first aid materials to handle an emergency for a longer length of time.

     

    4. How many employees do you have? Make sure there are enough first aid kits to handle an emergency where multiple people are injured. The more employees you have, the more first aid kits you should have.

     

    5. Consider the layout of your workplace. Make first aid kits easy to get to, and easy to see. They must be clearly labeled, and all employees should know where they are. Also make sure that the first aid kits are accessible in the areas which are most prone to accidents, such as the kitchen in a restaurant.

     

    There are a lot of options for both first aid kits and training. Make sure to think about restocking first aid kits and offering training to new employees. First aid requirements for workplace accidents can include portable kits or wall mounted kits, designed for indoor or outdoor use. For first aid training programs, make sure you go with a quality program that will teach your employees how to handle emergencies that are most likely to occur in your workplace. Cover the basics, and go beyond, to keep your employees healthy and safe.

     

    If you have questions or concerns about first aid kit or training compliance, Total Fire and Safety is you one-stop source for all fire safety and first aid needs. Feel free to contact us at 630-960-5060.

     


  3. The Best Way to Protect Your Computers: Clean Agent Suppression Systems

    March 28, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    If you have a business that has any sort of valuable electronic equipment, like computers, servers, etc., you need to know about clean agent suppression systems. They are a liquid-free, fire suppression option, unlike sprinklers, that will not harm your electronic devices in the case of a fire and need for fire suppression. Just imagine the damage a sprinkler system would do to your equipment! Clean agents are an excellent alternative for many reasons:

    Your computers and data rooms are a fire hazard to begin with. Computers and data rooms need very good ventilation because they can get very hot. The NFPA has specific regulations for computer rooms and electronic equipment areas, because there is a greater risk of fire from electronics.

    Your business has a lot to lose from fire damage to electronics. Not only could you lose your equipment, but you could lose crucial data and online business. You could lose millions, literally, in the blink of an eye if a fire rips through the room that stores your equipment.

    You won’t have to get soaked with a clean agent. When the system is activated, Halon 1301, a gaseous fire extinguishant, is released into the room. Halon fills the room and extinguishes the fire, but does not leave any residue on surfaces in the room. No mess to clean up afterward… the gas will evaporate and the room will be unharmed.

    Because clean agents work by removing oxygen from the room, this kind of suppression system does post some danger to humans. Clean agents are great for rooms that are filled with servers and computers, but not people. There is a risk of suffocation if people are trapped in the room in an emergency situation.

    The pros of a clean agent system are many to those areas of your business that require an alternative to sprinklers. At Total Fire & Safety, we are experts in the installation and maintenance of clean agent suppression systems for businesses. If you are considering an installation, contact us at 630-960-5060.


  4. What You Need to Know About the OSHA 300A Form

    February 28, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    If you are a business subject to OSHA regulations, now is the time of year that businesses are required to post a yearly report of workplace-related injuries and illnesses. The summary must be posted in a common area where all employees can see it. Doing this keeps your employees aware of dangers in the workplace. As an employer, make sure you know how to keep records and to post the yearly summaries. Safety is important, and so is following regulations! All the forms can be found here, but a summary of what you need to know is below.

    The 300A form is known as the Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Forms. Form 300A summarizes job-related injuries and illnesses, which should be logged on the OSHA 300 Log. After a year of logging illnesses and injuries, employers should post the form 300A summary for all employees to see.

    Who needs to fill it out? Most employers who have ten or more employees will have to fill out the form. If your establishment has a chance of any sort of workplace injury or illness, you likely need to fill out the form. OSHA has also updated its list of newly included establishments that will need to keep records. To check to see if your industry is on the list, click here.

    Who is exempt from the requirement? If you have fewer than ten employees, you do not have to fulfill this OSHA requirement. Certain workplaces that are deemed low-hazard are also exempt, like shoe stores, book stores, florists, and publishers. You can find a full list of low-hazard workplaces here.

    When is the deadline for reporting? Notices must be posted each year between February 1 and April 30, so now is the time!

    OSHA Form 300A

    At Total Fire and Safety, we are dedicated to helping your business meet all safety requirements and helping you prevent workplace related injuries and illnesses. In addition to commercial fire safety, we offer onsite first aid kits and employee safety training. If you have questions or concerns about OSHA requirements or any other question related to workplace safety, feel free to contact Total Fire & Safety  at 630-960-5060.


  5. A New Year in TFS’s Commercial Fire Protection Training Room

    February 14, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    If you visit the TFS headquarters in Lisle, Illinois, make sure you take a look at our newly remodeled training room. Training is essential to what we do at Total Fire & Safety, not only for new employees but to help existing ones stay up-to-date on the latest hazards, fire codes and prevention techniques.

    Our existing employees know the training room well. This is a picture of our fire extinguisher division meeting. Every month, each division of Total Fire & Safety, fire extinguisher, sprinkler,  fire alarm  and backflow,  meet for monthly training and information exchange sessions. By gathering together, our team in each division can share information about their experiences in the field and discuss what is working or needs to be improved. Each division has their own concern with fire safety, so holding these division exclusive meetings is very helpful.

    Who benefits most from these meetings? The TFS customer!

    These meetings are one of many ways TFS is always trying to become more efficient and stay abreast of the latest in fire prevention and NFPA codes for their customers. The meetings help Total Fire & Safety deliver their very best in expertise, installation, maintenance and customer service to all our wonderful customers.

    Thank you to all of our customers for making 2016 a great year for us. We promise to do everything we can as your commercial fire protection company to make 2017 a safe one for your commercial fire safety. If you have any questions about fire safety for your business or want to update your fire equipment going into the new year, don’t hesitate to contact us at 630-960-5060.

     


  6. The Ghost Ship Fire: 36 Lives Lost From Lack of Fire Safety Systems

    December 14, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    Ghost-Ship-FireOn December 2 in Oakland California, a deadly fire took 36 lives in a warehouse facility turned artist residence known as the Ghost Ship Artist Collective. It took four days for local firefighters to recover the scene. An absolute contributing factor? The lack of a sprinkler and fire alarm systems, blocked and inadequate fire exits and a lack of working fire extinguishers.

    In fact, the few extinguishers found among the bodies were inoperable. Officials say it is the highest number of fatalities in a structure fire in the U.S. in the last 13 years.

    The tragedy shed negative light on the building owner, who refused to comply with fire codes and the state of the Oakland housing market, where people endured living in dangerous conditions since there was no other affordable alternative in the area. The city is also under scrutiny since the building had not been inspected for 30 years, and rightly should have been closed down.

    But for those of us in fire safety, like Total Fire, the tragedy is a demonstration of the importance of our work, and how what we do saves lives.

    The Looming Disaster

    The Ghost Ship had been home to numerous fire hazards for some time and was no stranger to the authorities. The facility had been reported for tall weeds, mounds of garbage on the grounds, and illegal conduct of the community within, even though the space was not meant for residential use. The cause of the fire is still under investigation but at first, an old refrigerator was thought to be the cause.

    The interior of the building was a chaotic mixture of improper electrical wiring and makeshift staircases, stacks of wood, furniture and other junk scattered around and wooden structures in progress. The fire started on the first floor, and people trying to evacuate had to weave through the inside clutter and climb a rickety, tight staircase to get out. People on the second floor were trapped by smoke and flames.

    Many of the bodies were found as they were in their last moments–holding and hugging each other in fear.

    At Total Fire & Safety, we truly believe we do something more than just come to work, collect a pay check and go home. We play an important role in keeping our community safe!

    Steven Holowka, our fire alarm division manager, puts it this way: “I tell my team to take the mindset that every building we take care of has someone you love  in there. Would you want your loved ones being in a building that wasn’t properly taken care of?  Would you feel okay  if you one of your loved ones died in a building that wasn’t properly maintained?”

    In the case of the Oakland tragedy, an inspection attempt was made as recently as last month when a code enforcement officer responded to complaints about piles of garbage. No one came to the door and the Oakland inspectors are not allowed to gain access to a building without permission.

    The blaze started during a rave dance party, and the facility was not equipped or zoned for such a gathering. NFPA reminds us that in the case of nightclubs, theaters and auditoriums where large numbers of people gather, fires are the most deadly when the proper features and systems are not in place.

    For theaters, night clubs, venues, etc. NFPA codes call for a considerable number of safety systems and features to be present for these structures, not just a single safety system or feature.

    Saving Lives, a System at a Time

    When building owners take shortcuts in service, look for the cheapest option or have the mindset that a fire like this could never happen to them, the consequences can be dire. That’s why we make sure we are doing our part in taking care of our customers and ensure that the systems they have onsite are adequate for their needs.

    Our entire team, including our administrative employees, field technicians, managers and even our owner believes that it is our responsibility to do our job 100%  because in the end we are protecting what matters most–people’s lives.

    When we arrive at a facility we..

    • TEST and INSPECT to make sure everything is in working order
    • PROVIDE REPAIR/INSTALL SERVICE so everything is done correctly and ready to activate in an emergency
    •  and VERIFY that everything is up to code for the customer.

    The fire at the Ghost Ship will rank among the Rhode Island Nightclub fire of 2003 and the Queen of Angels fire from 1958 as tragedies that could have been prevented or lessened considerably had the right life safety systems been in place.

    As fire safety systems continue to improve, Jim Pauley of the NFPA warns that “we can’t be complacent just because numbers have gotten better.” It’s important that everyone responsible for the safety of those inside a facility have it properly inspected with well maintained and fully operational fire safety systems in place. Do you?

    If you are unsure of whether your building is up to code, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Total Fire & Safety. We take our jobs seriously because we know what we do saves lives!


  7. TFS Cooperates at Navy Pier!

    November 20, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Total Fire & Safety team was on the scene recently at the 2016 Chicagoland Cooperator’s Condo, HOA, Co-Op and Apt. Expo at Navy Pier in Chicago.

    Once again, thousands of board and association members, property managers, homeowners and apartment building owners met for this growing, annual event. They attended educational seminars and browsed the exhibits, where they had a chance to visit with the knowledgeable staff at TFS.

    As an expert in commercial fire safety for property owners and apartment buildings, we always enjoy attending the show, familiarizing others with our services but most of all, addressing the attendees’ concerns about their current fire safety solutions. Mainly, we were able to answer the most frequently asked questions on the minds of the property owners such as:

    • What fire equipment is required for my property? (At Total Fire & Safety, we can make sure you are compliant with NFPA requirements which vary depending on your structure and occupancy. )
    • How can I reduce the cost of my fire safety needs? (Total Fire & Safety can update your old equipment or make sure your current equipment is operable. Often times, updating to a new system, like wireless fire alarm monitoring or low voltage emergency lighting, can help reduce maintenance costs in the long run while improving service.)
    • Do I have enough fire alarms? (Talk to us about your needs and we’ll make sure you get the fire alarms you need.)
    • What kind of fire safety training is needed for my employees or tenants? (Total Fire & Safety knows what kind of employee fire safety and first aid training is mandatory, or best suited for your building.)
    • Do I really need a first aid kit in my building? (Of course!  A properly placed first aid kit can supply much needed medical attention when it’s needed most!)
    • Why should we pick Total Fire & Safety? (Because for more than twenty years, Total Fire & Safety has led Chicagoland as one of the most reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy fire and safety companies in Chicagoland!)

    Mark Spinder (outside sales) and Robin Jones (inside business development) at the Cooperator Show.

     

    We look forward to next year’s show and another chance to meet new customers and introduce them to the company that has all the answers for their fire safety needs—Total Fire & Safety!   Hope to see you at the Cooperator Expo 2017! In the meantime, if we can ever help you with your fire safety needs, don’t hesitate to contact us at 630.960.5060.


  8. Thankful Fire Safety Facts for 2016

    November 16, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    Your fire risk is very different on Thanksgiving Day than it is on any other day of the year. Residential fires are a lot more common, because everyone is cooking! Here are some fire safety facts about Thanksgiving Day that you should be aware of, and some safety tips to remember so you don’t become a part of these statistics.

     

    • From 2011 to 2013, there was an estimated 2,100 cases of residential fires per year and approximately 10 deaths, 50 injuries, and $28 million in property loss, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

    Be thankful for the chance to be mindful of fire safety at Thanksgiving!

    • Most residential fires happen in single family homes, 65 percent, or multifamily homes, 28 percent. A fire could happen in your own neighborhood, or even your own home.

    Be thankful for all the working fire extinguishers  and smoke detectors in kitchens across the country!

    • The peak time for frequency of fires was from noon to 3 p.m., the time when many people are working on preparations for the big meal. This differs from normal days, when residential building fires are most likely to occur during the dinner hours of 5 p.m. –  8 p.m.

    Be thankful for properly attended stoves as we prepare the Thanksgiving meal!  

     

    • Of all Thanksgiving Day fires surveyed, 73.5 percent were limited to the object of origin; 11.6 percent limited to the room of origin; and 10 percent limited to the building of origin.

    Be thankful for knowing how to operate a fire extinguisher to stop a fire before it causes too much damage!

    • The majority of fires on Thanksgiving Day are caused by cooking, at 72 percent. Practice safe cooking by checking temperatures frequently, being extra careful with open flames and ovens, and not overcrowding the kitchen.

    Be thankful for cautious holiday cooks who observe fire safety measures!

     

    There is one last reminder that turkey lovers should keep in mind this year. Deep frying turkeys is a tradition for some Americans, but it is also a dangerous fire hazard. Watch this video to see a fiery demonstration of what can go wrong if you deep fry a turkey unsafely.

    Be thankful for deep frying with caution and care!

     

    Total Fire & Safety wishes you a happy holiday! If you are interested in a kitchen suppression system, safety inspection, or fire extinguisher training in preparation for Turkey Day, contact us at 630-960-5060.


  9. How Is Your Company’s Fire Prevention? Four Questions for Business Owners!

    October 24, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    National Fire Prevention Week has been a yearly campaign since 1922, occurring on the Sunday through Saturday period that includes the date October 9. It was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire on October 8-9, 1871. This infamous tragedy claimed 250 lives, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and left 100,000 people homeless. Fire prevention week is a day to remember this event and also what kind of effect a fire could potentially have on our lives.

    No matter what kind of business you own or manage, October is also the perfect time to remember how devastating fire can be, and how important it is to be ready for an emergency. A fire can cause serious damage to your company’s facility and equipment, not to mention employees! This is as good a month as any to make sure you have these five ‘checks’ taken care of within the boundaries of your office and/or facilities.

    1. Are your fire hazard risks assessed properly? Some businesses have greater fire risks than others, but there are very few businesses that have none. They all need to be properly assessed so the proper prevention can be implemented accordingly. Some local governments offer fire marshal visits, or workplace fire risk assessment guidance from your building’s property manager.  A commercial fire safety firm can also help you mitigate problems.

    2. Do you have emergency plans in place? Do you have an evacuation plan and do your employees know what to do in case of a fire? Do they fire training, so that they know how to use fire extinguishers, and when to use them?

    3. Do you have the right fire protection equipment installed? Your fire safety equipment needs likely include sprinkler systems, but you might need more to be up to code or compliant with regulations. Industries dealing with machinery that overheats or flammable substances might need a suppression system tailored to your business.

    4. Do you have scheduled routine equipment inspections?  Even if you have the right sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, and suppression systems, they also need routine inspections (at least annually) to keep everything in working order. Know what tests you can do yourself, and which require professional visits from fire alarm technicians.

     

    Even though Fire Prevention Week is over, it’s not too late to think about your fire prevention and safety. Perhaps now is the time to take action. Contact us or call 1.630.960.5060 for more information on any of the fire steps detailed above, from alarm installation to employee training programs.

     


  10. Have You Got the Power? Of a Suppression System?

    October 12, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Recently, a viral youtube video was released by the Daily Military Defense & Archive.  It shows an activated fire suppression system that can fill an aircraft hangar with foam in two minutes, covering at least 90 percent of the aircrafts with a simple, water-based foam. For the average Joe, it’s a visual spectacle to see that amount of space quickly fill with thick white foam and then get to witness the cleanup process (involving huge big squeegees) afterwards. Luckily, these systems usually trigger by accident or for a test run, and there aren’t a lot of cases where the system is triggered because danger is imminent. The government is successfully using this fire protection system to protect aircraft inside military hangars around the world.

    This video is a great example of how suppression systems work quickly and effectively. They can be deployed with amazing speed, and for a government building of this size and caliber, this system could save countless employee lives and millions in property damage.

    The suppression systems offered and maintained by Total Fire & Safety are not quite as messy as the ones in the video, but they are similar in many ways. The kitchen suppression systems we install for you are designed for specific type of fires that often occur around cooking equipment, whereas the suppression systems in an aircraft hangar are designed to fight fires caused by equipment failure or aircraft fuel. Rest assured that the suppression system in your commercial kitchen won’t fill the room with foam, but it will still get the job done in an emergency!

    Do you have a suppression system in place at your business? Total Fire and Safety has suppression systems that can protect your people and your assets. For more information about suppression systems, contact Total Fire & Safety at 630-960-5060.