Tel: 630.960.5060
Your "Total" Source For Fire Safety & Security

  1. TFS at the Co-op and Condo Expo

    November 29, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    Robin Johnson, business development (left) and Jason LeGrand (outside sales) at the latest Co-op and Condo Expo at Navy Pier in Chicago.

    Did you stop by and see us at the latest Co-op and Condo Expo at Navy Pier in Chicago?

    Our team was on hand to talk to condo owners, homeowner association board members, property managers and apartment building owners about their fire safety. We participate every year, not only to meet new prospective clients, but to see our many satisfied ones that come for the educational seminars and exhibit floors.

    Visitors to our booth walk away with one of our fire extinguisher-shaped stress balls (if you don’t have one, ask your Total Fire & Safety technician!) and a better understanding of their fire safety responsibilities as property owners or managers. What were the most frequently asked questions?

    • How do I know if I am in compliance? (We can help perform inspections to make sure buildings are up-to-date with NFPA requirements, which vary depending on your structure and occupancy.)
    • What is this wireless fire alarm technology and will it save me money? (Besides making sure your fire alarms are inspected, in compliance and operational, we can update your old equipment to reduce maintenance costs and improve performance.)
    • What do my tenants need to know about fire safety? (We offer solutions and fire safety training on a customized basis.)
    • Do you offer first aid kits? (We offer a variety of commercial first aid kits based on your environment’s needs. A first aid kit can make a big difference in the comfort and safety of your tenants or employees!)
    • Why Total Fire & Safety? (We are one of the most experienced commercial fire protection companies on the market and make use of some of the most technologically advanced reporting features available.)

    We hope to see you at the show next year! Until then, if we can be of assistance with your fire safety needs, don’t hesitate to contact us  at 630.960.5060.


  2. Are your Fire Hoses Compliant with NFPA?

    October 31, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    All fire safety equipment is subject to rigorous standards for safety and reliability, and fire hoses—the subject of NFPA 1962—are no exception. Despite looking like a relatively simple device, a fire hose is one of the most important lines of defense in firefighting. NFPA 1962 is an important revised standard for fire hoses; an outline which ensures that all hoses and their components will perform safely and as expected. At Total Fire and Safety, we take pride in ensuring that every fire hose meets all safety specifications.

    NFPA 1962 Fire Hose Pre-Inspection

    Before the inspection begins, we ensure the hose is easily accessible in all directions, and that there is a clear path to it. If the time comes to use a hose, there will be no time to clear obstructions. After this, we remove the cover from the hose and inspect the nozzle first, ensuring it opens and closes freely.

    NFPA 1962 Inspection

    First, we unravel the hose by the nozzle and find the tags and markings which indicate such information as the hose’s manufacture date and when it was last inspected. Once the hose is unraveled, we perform a visual inspection of the hose, inside and out, looking for any signs of wear or damage. This can be anything from cuts, to frays, to dry rotting, to contamination by a foreign substance. According to NFPA 1962, if there is any issue with the hose, we ensure it is either hydro tested or replaced. We also check the hose to ensure it is completely dry, inside and out. If we find evidence of water, we perform a hydro test to verify the hose is still up to code.

    NFPA 1962 Post-Inspection

    Once the inspection is complete, we carefully re-rack it to ensure it does not crack, fray, or wear prematurely over time. We also reconnect the hose to the standpipe and close the nozzle. We conclude the inspection by replacing the cover around the hose and documenting our procedure by placing an inspection tag around the standpipe.

    At Total Fire and Safety, our inspectors are fully trained and up-to-date in all safety regulations—including NFPA 1962—to ensure your facility is safe and up to code. If you have any questions about your own facility’s fire preparedness, or if you are due for an inspection, don’t hesitate to contact us.


  3. Total Fire & Safety Remembers Mary Ann Schultz

    October 11, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    On Thursday, June 29, 2017, the Total Fire & Safety family said goodbye to a much-loved matriarch, Mary Ann Schultz. She was the wife of Total Fire & Safety’s founder, Glenn Schultz, and was always a great supporter of the family business. She was the loving mother of four children and eleven grandchildren. She lived in the Chicago suburbs for much of her adult life, and was involved in the community, through church and the family business.

    Mary Ann’s daughter Michelle, who is the Director of Operations at Total Fire, and son-in-law Jason, who is the Vice President, have started a fundraiser in Mary Ann’s name. They are fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, through the Light the Night Walk which will take place October 21, 2017 in the Oak Brook Park District. Those who wish to remember Mary Ann by supporting this cause can donate, or register to walk on the Schultz’s team, “Strong Like You.”

    We here at Total Fire & Safety offer our greatest condolences to the Schultz family, and support them in their efforts to fund research for a future without blood cancers. They are well on their way to making their goal of $5,000 in donations. Those who wish to donate or register for the Light the Night Walk can do so at: http://pages.lightthenight.org/il/wsuburban17/StrongLikeYou


  4. What is Fire Extinguisher Maintenance?

    September 4, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    Walk into any building and you’re sure to see a fire extinguisher hanging somewhere on a wall, and although it doesn’t look it, that extinguisher requires maintenance. It does more than just sit idly until a dire situation calls for its immediate use. Most people overlook these crucial pieces of safety equipment—often to the point of not even knowing anything about it. Think about the fire extinguisher in your home or office—do you know if it is fully charged? Do you know if you will be able to depend on it to successfully extinguish a flame if the need arises?

    This is why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires that that all portable fire extinguishers be inspected on a monthly basis (NFPA 10, Section 6.2.1) and maintained by a licensed fire protection company on an annual basis. (NFPA 10, Section 6.3.1)

    We take fire extinguisher maintenance seriously at Total Fire and Safety, and perform rigorous inspections of fire safety equipment, including our 12-point portable fire extinguisher service check. People often ask us what goes into inspecting a fire extinguisher, so we’ve decided to share our technicians’ exhaustive process:

    An inspection begins the moment we walk inside the door. At this point we already have all our tools and materials in hand to perform a proper inspection of the facility. To begin our process of fire extinguisher maintenance, we walk throughout the facility, ensuring all fire extinguishers are properly located and easily accessible. If there is not a clear path to an extinguisher, we may ask the customer to move any obstructions (We are not able to move any obstructions ourselves due to liability reasons).

    We check that the extinguisher is charged and ensure it is the correct type for your facility’s hazards. For example, a kitchen requires a different type of extinguisher (or even a fire suppression system) than a server room. We verify that it will work for the type of fire which may occur in that area. In addition, we check the gauge and carefully weigh the extinguisher to ensure its pressure is in the proper range.

    We perform a visual inspection and check such data as manufacture date and past fire extinguisher maintenance. We look for any signs of damage or any other reasons the extinguisher may need to be removed from service. We also check to see if maintenance is due. In some cases, extinguishers that have been dented have been tested and returned to service. We look for any markings to confirm this. One key aspect of proper fire extinguisher maintenance is communication between inspectors. All relevant information about the fire extinguisher’s maintenance history should be legible, so that any future inspectors know what we know.

    We inspect and test the extinguisher’s hardware, such as the hose, pin, handle, and lever. We remove the hose from the extinguisher and ensure it is not clogged or damaged. If so, we attempt to remove the clog. If we cannot fully clear the hose or if it is damaged, we replace the hose entirely. We also ensure the pin, handle, and lever are not bent or damaged in any other way.

    Finally, we check the bracket, clean the extinguisher, and place a new inspection tag on it. . Before hanging the extinguisher back up, we ensure the mounting bracket is the correct type for the extinguisher, and that it’s not damaged or incorrectly installed. We then wipe off any dirt, grime, etc., and make sure the gauge is legible. Our last step is to return the extinguisher to the bracket and apply a new inspection tag with the date we performed the inspection and the extinguisher type punched into it.

    While fire extinguisher maintenance is a rather straightforward procedure, it is crucial that it is performed diligently and properly, as all these devices may be counted on to save lives at a moment’s notice. We strongly recommend that everyone’s fire extinguishers be inspected on a routine basis by qualified professionals. If you have any questions about the condition of your fire safety equipment, or if your facility is due for an inspection, please contact us at 630.960.5060.


  5. Your Fire Safety in a High-Rise Apartment Building

    August 14, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    If you live in an apartment building, especially beyond the first floor, you should be prepared and have a plan in place in case of a fire.

    According to the NFPA, about 62 percent of fires responded to by firefighters between 2009-2013 were in apartment buildings, resulting in many fatalities, injuries and millions in property damage.

    In a message from NFPA President James Pauley, many of the latest fire tragedies involving multiple loss of lives can be attributed to several factors:

    • The use of outdated codes and standards
    • Acceptance of reduced safety requirements to save money
    • Ignoring referenced standards within a code
    • Lack of education around the application of codes and standards
    • Reduced enforcement
    • A public unaware of the dangers of fire

    As you can see, five out of six of these items are out of the control of the tenant in the apartment building. However, even though no two fires are alike, being aware of the dangers of fire, knowing basic fire safety and having a plan in case of an emergency is something that everyone can do to prepare for fire.

    Here are some important things to know for fire safety in a high-rise residential apartment building:

    • Be familiar with your floor’s evacuation plan. A diagram should be posted where you can see it.
    • Be aware of the location so the fire exits in your hall, especially those near your unit.
    • Always have a set of house keys and a flashlight in your nightstand.
    • Always be sure your smoke alarms are working.

    If the fire occurs in your unit…

    • Leave immediately and close the door behind you to prevent the spread of heat and smoke.
    • Don’t lock the door. It needs to be unlocked for the firefighters.
    • Take your keys, flashlight and cell phone with you if it is safe to do so.

    Then, be CALM:

    C     Call 911 and report the fire from a neighbor’s unit or outside the unit. Be specific. Give your floor and apartment number. Stay on the line to answer more questions and receive instructions.

    • Alert building management and other tenants/security. Knock on doors and let them know there is a fire on the floor.

    L–    Listen for important information from fire officials. Your building may have a PA system that could be activated to give you instructions. If there is no PA system, the fire department will do a search of the building.

    M– Move to safety as directed by the fire department.

    If you smell smoke in your apartment building…

    If you are in the apartment and smell smoke, call the fire department right away and let them know where you are. They may have information for you and be aware of the situation. Just because you smell smoke does not mean you are in immediate danger. The City of Chicago fire department recommends you stay in your unit unless told by the fire department to leave because in many cases, staying in place is the safer option.

    In most cases, you will be asked to remain in place until the fire department gets there. If you smell smoke as you wait for the fire department, do the following:

    • Keep your door closed
    • Stuff wet towels around the door and vents to keep smoke out
    • Open a window slightly, without breaking it, if heat and smoke are building up
    • Stay low to the floor where air is cooler and cleaner. Smoke rises.
    • If you are advised to leave the apartment, check the temperature of the door with the back of your hand. If it is warm to the touch in 5 seconds, do not open it. If cool, close the door and make your way to a safe stairway exit.
    • NEVER use the elevator in fire emergencies since it may be in use by the firefighters. Never head to the roof since heat and smoke rise.
    • Have your keys, flashlight and cell phone handy if you need to leave, but leave all other belongings behind.

    You can find out more about high-rise fire safety in this video from the City of Chicago:

    The best way to prepare for an emergency is to have an emergency plan. Always know where your fire exits are and know what to do in the event of a fire.  At Total Fire & Safety, our job is to help residential buildings stay safe with up-to-date fire equipment. To find out more, visit totalfireandsafety.com

     

     


  6. Total Fire & Safety Tees it Up!

    August 1, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    Thank you to our client, Discount Tire, who chose a beautiful day for their recent annual golf outing. It was held July 27 at the lovely Tamarack Golf Course in Naperville, Illinois. This was the third consecutive year we participated, sending a fearless foursome to the golf outing and we were as always, happy to support our client.

    This year, we even sponsored a hole with handsome, environmentally appropriate signage to add to the festivities.

    The foursome representing Total Fire & Safety came from varied key service areas of the company.  Pictured here are some of our finest employee golfers! From left to right, Jason Schroeder, Vice President; Jason LeGrand, Business Development;  Nick Ingoglia, Fire Division Manager and Chris Burroughs, Dispatch Coordinator.

     

    Were it not for the tournament, would these four fire safety men be on the golf course? Golf courses are not typically a fire risk, but fire has been known to destroy the maintenance buildings and club houses that sit adjacent to them. At Total Fire & Safety, our services protect many recreational venues in Chicagoland, Wisconsin and Indiana. And that’s important because such fires break out more often than you think.

    In fact, this past May, a Texas and Ohio golf course building were both destroyed from fire.

    In Brownsville, Texas, the clubhouse at Valley International Country Club had a blaze on May 13, which most likely began in the kitchen area.  Although nobody was hurt, the beautiful venue, including the original two-story clubhouse built in 1910, was ruined. The fire was fueled by a “built-up roof” which was heavier and held the heat more easily as the blaze raged for 12 hours.

    Just a few days earlier, fire had destroyed a maintenance shed at the Carlisle Golf Course in Grafton, Ohio. The fire broke out after midnight on May 11 from an unknown cause, but arson is not suspected. The fire department was able to keep the fire from spreading to a nearby residence, but in this case, their challenge was the water source. Since the course was not close to fire hydrants, they had to set up a water shuttle to bring water to the blaze.

    It just goes to show how the need for fire safety is everywhere, even in the places we least expect.  At Total Fire & Safety, we’re proud to support our clients and keep our recreational areas, as well as our workplace, as safe as possible. If we can help you with your commercial fire protection, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 630-960-5060.


  7. Your Fire Safety in a High-Rise Building

    July 14, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    While fire safety in high-rise buildings is always a concern, NFPA fire safety codes for high-rise buildings in the U.S., especially in the city of Chicago, are well enforced. 

    In fact, the National Fire Protection Association even reports that the fire death rate per 1,000 fires is generally lower in high-rise buildings than in similar, lower buildings (fewer than seven stories). That is because there is usually a greater use of fire protection systems in high rises, along with features such as sprinkler systems and one-way communication systems which are able to make critical announcements to everyone in the building. In the city of Chicago, standpipes, which help propel water into the floors of the building from the inside, are required for every building over 80 feet tall, and also help to douse fires effectively.

    In the city of Chicago, property managers are required to distribute updated fire safety information annually, but the tenant, or employer, is also required to have an emergency fire plan in place and communicate it to their employees. Depending on the size of the company you work in, emergency fire equipment training may also be OSHA-required. Whether or not.  If you work in a high-rise, be prepared for a fire emergency

    • Know your employer’s fire safety plan.
    • Know where the nearest fire exits are and make sure they are clear of clutter at all time.
    • Know several exits in case one or more should be blocked by smoke or fire.
    • Attend any required fire safety training offered by your employee.

    In the event of an emergency on your floor, remember to remain CALM, which is not just an attitude, it’s an acronym!

    C     Someone should call 911 and report the fire from a safe part of the floor, per the floor emergency plan.

    A    If applicable, alert other tenants on the floor

    L–    Listen for important information from fire officials. Your building may have a PA system that can be used by the fire department to give you instructions to either evacuate or stay in place.

    M– If applicable, move to safety as directed by the fire department.

    There is no “one size fits all” fire emergency plan for high-rise workplaces because every fire, building and safety condition is different. However, the decision as to whether you should evacuate or shelter in place will be made by the fire department based on the applications of the building and the conditions of the fire.

    If you evacuate…

    • You should always use the stairs to exit the building…never the elevator unless directed by the fire department.
    • Never head to the roof. Smoke, fire and heat rise quickly and you put yourself in greater danger.
    • Keep low. Smoke and fire rise. The air is cooler and cleaner below.

    If you shelter in place…

    • Stuff wet towels around the door and vents to keep smoke out
    • Make sure the fire department knows where you are
    • Open a window slightly and wave a bright cloth to signal your location
    • Do not break windows
    • Be prepared to close the window if it makes the smoke condition worse, but you could leave the cloth outside as a symbol
    • Try to communicate with the fire department to monitor their progress. Stay calm. It can take time.

    You can find out more about high-rise fire safety in this video from the City of Chicago:

    Your fire safety in a high rise building is an important consideration, as is your employer’s emergency fire plan. At Total Fire & Safety, our job is to help keep the tenants of high-rise buildings safe with up-to-date fire protection and life safety training and equipment. To find out more, visit totalfireandsafety.com today.

     


  8. 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.


  9. 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.

     


  10. 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.