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  1. Are Your Employees Ready for Fire Prevention Week?

    October 2, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

    Fire prevention week was instituted in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which burned from October 8-10, 1871 and took the lives of nearly 300 people.  It burned nearly 3.3 square miles of Chicago and left over 100,000 residents homeless.

    Forty years after the tragic blaze, the U.S. Fire Marshall used the anniversary to promote fire prevention and fire safety.  In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed fire prevention week as a national observance and it has become the longest running health observance in the country.

    Even though we know more now about fire prevention than ever before and we have better equipment too, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) released a shocking statistic: if you reported a fire in your home, you are more likely to die today than you were a few decades ago.  Today’s home fires burn faster, allowing occupants less than two minutes to escape without harm.

    Although the messages of Fire Prevention Week primarily focus on home fires, their messages can be applied at any location including businesses, warehouses, and other commercial spaces.  Fire prevention week is a time to draw attention to the fire safety practices within your company using the resources provided by fire departments, the NFPA, and companies like Total Fire and Safety.

    The following are some initiatives companies can take to observe Fire Prevention Week:

    This year, fire prevention week runs October 7-13.  The theme is Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware- Fire can happen anywhere. This year’s campaign focuses on basic but essential ways to escape your home fire safely with three simple steps:

    • Look for places a fire could begin. Identify potential fire hazards in your workplace and remove them.
    • Listen for the sound of the alarm. As soon as the alarm sounds, make your way out of the building at a safe distance from the fire.
    • Learn two ways out of every room. Make sure all exits leading outside are free of clutter, unlocked and have emergency lights if necessary.

    Fire prevention week is also commemorated at fire stations all over the area with special open houses and related programs. Here’s a roundup of some of the events in the Total Fire & Safety service area. For more information, see the website for each individual fire department.

    If we can ever be of  help to you during fire prevention week or any other time during the year, call Total Fire and Safety to ensure your business in in NFPA compliance with all of your commercial fire protection at 630-960-5060.

     

    Saturday, Oct. 6

    • Tinley Park Fire Department: 17355 68th Court, Tinley Park, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Schaumburg Fire Department: 950 W. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, 11 a.m. – 2p.m.
    • Clarendon Hills Fire Department: 316 Park Ave., Clarendon Hills, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Minooka Fire Department: 7901 E. Minooka Road, Minooka, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Hazel Crest Fire Department: 2903 W. 175th St., Hazel Crest, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Bensenville Fire Protection District: 500 S. York Road, Bensenville, 12 – 3 p.m.
    • Darien-Woodridge Fire Department: 7550 Lyman Ave., Darien, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

    Sunday, Oct. 7

    • Belvidere Fire Department: 123 S. State St., Belvidere, 1 – 4 p.m.
    • Evanston Fire Department: 1817 Washington St., Evanston, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.• West Chicago Fire Department: 200 Freemont St., West Chicago, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Cissna Park Fire Department: 206 N. 2nd St., Cissna Park, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Lake Zurich Fire Department: 321 S. Buesching Road, Lake Zurich, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Mokena Fire Department: 19853 S. Wolf Road, Mokena, 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Peotone Fire Protection District: 7550 W. Joliet Road, Peotone, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    Monday, Oct. 8

    • Western Springs Fire Department: 4353 Wolf Road, Western Springs, 6 – 8:30 p.m.

    Wednesday, Oct. 10

    • Downers Grove Fire Department: 6701 Main St., Downers Grove, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

    Friday, Oct. 12

    • Crete Fire Department: 524 W. Exchange St., Crete, 5 – 8 p.m.
    • Beecher Fire Department: 711 Penfield St., Beecher, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

    Saturday, Oct. 13

    • Charles Fire Department: 112 N. Riverside Drive, St. Charles, 12 – 3 p.m.
    • Harlem Roscoe Fire Protection District: 10544 Main St., Roscoe, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Schiller Park Fire Department: 9526 Irving Park Road, Schiller Park, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Northbrook Fire Department: 1840 Shermer Road, Northbrook, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department: 100 W. Woodstock St., Crystal Lake, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Glen Ellyn Fire Department: 524 Pennsylvania Ave., Glen Ellyn, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Channahon Fire Department: 24929 Center St., Channahon, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Elk Grove Village Fire Department: 101 Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove Village, 12 – 3 p.m.
    • Rolling Meadows Fire Department: 2455 Plum Grove Road, Rolling Meadows, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Lemont Fire Protection District: 15900 New Ave., Lemont, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • River Forest Fire Department: 400 Park Ave., River Forest, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Northlake Fire Department: 118 E. Parkview Drive, Northlake, 12 – 3 p.m.
    • Elgin Fire Department: 650 Big Timber Road, Elgin, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Prospect Heights Fire Protection District: 10 E. Camp McDonald Road, Prospect Heights, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    Sunday, Oct. 14

    • Byron Fire Department: 123 N. Franklin St., Byron, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Manteno Fire Department: 13 S. Walnut St., Manteno, 12 – 3 p.m.
    • Elmhurst Fire Department: 601 S. York St., Elmhurst, 12 – 4 p.m.
    • North Palos Fire Protection District: 10629 S. Roberts Road, Palos Hills, 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • McHenry Township Fire Protection District: 3710 Johnsburg Road, Jonhsburg, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

    Monday, Oct.15  

    Romeoville FPD Open House

    Saturday, Oct. 20

    • Dolton Fire Department: 14022 Park Ave., Dolton 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • La Grange Park Fire Department: 447 N. Catherine Ave., La Grange Park, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Hoffman Estates Fire Department: 225 Flagstaff Lane, Hoffman Estates, 1 – 4 p.m.
    • Sycamore Fire Department: 2100 Frantum Road, Sycamore, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    Sunday, Oct. 21

    • Grayslake Fire Department: 160 Hawley St., Grayslake, 7 a.m. – 12:30 p.m

    Total Fire and Safety has a dedicated team of professionals that use the best technology to test and inspect fire safety equipment in any commercial building.  TFS also provides training classes to educate employees both in the classroom and on-site.    Knowledge is power and the more your employees know, the better they can protect themselves. What better time to spread the word than fire prevention week! If we can help you with your fire prevention in October or anytime, give Total Fire and Safety a call at 630-960-5060.


  2. Fire in the Office! Do You Have a Fire Emergency Preparedness Plan?

    February 13, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    When a ballistic missile warning sounded in Hawaii recently, few people had an emergency preparedness plan in place. Instead, people were sent into panic. Parents threw their children into sewers, people caught in traffic ran from their cars, some Googled “how to shelter from a nuclear bomb.”  We can look at this now in hindsight and think we would have handled it differently. But would we?  Whether it’s a ballistic missile, tornado, or a fire it is important to have an emergency preparedness plan.

    When a fire occurs in the office, people are likely to react the same way. However, if employees understand what’s going on, what to do, where to go and how to get there, panic will not set in. A fire emergency preparedness plan will help employees feel in control during an emergency and do what needs to be done. .

    One way to help employees respond appropriately in an emergency is to remember to REACT:

    • R-Remove persons from danger. Know the location of fire exits and that they are not blocked. Steer clear of elevators and equip them with warning signs: in case of fire do not use. They can trap people and must be available to firefighters. Figure out a designated meeting area for employees, safe from danger. Make a procedure in case of entrapment in the building. Assign someone to always keep a list of employees and visitors, so you can begin a roll call once in the safety area.
    • E-Ensure doors and windows are closed. Keep doors and windows closed to prevent spreading of the fire.
    • A-Activate building alarm. Make sure alarms or a warning signal are working properly and that your employees are familiar with the sound. Most importantly, have regular fire drills.
    • C-Call the fire department. Never investigate the fire on your own. Time is minimal for your employees to reach safety quickly.
    • T-Treat all fires as dangerous.

    A fire preparedness plan also includes having the right equipment and in working order too. Does your place of business have everything it needs to survive a fire? And has it been inspected lately? Know that your facility is up-to-date on the systems it needs to have ready to go in case of a fire:

    Don’t forget that the second part of having the right fire equipment is having employees that can operate the equipment safely. Total Fire and Safety offers training courses for employees on all our technologies and equipment. Having employees properly trained improves chances of putting out small fires.

    As you can see there are many safety precautions to include in a fire preparedness plan.  If your building does not have the proper safety equipment or it is not up to date, there could be catastrophic consequences. Total Fire and Safety always has the well-being of the customer in mind as we complete our inspections.  We never give less than 100 precent because you can never be too prepared for a fire. Contact us at: 630.960.5060

     


  3. 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!


  4. 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.

     


  5. The Fire Alarm Technician: Not All Superheroes Wear Capes!

    September 20, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    Since they don’t wear a cape or colorful tights, to the untrained eye the fire alarm technician is just the guy who comes in to check the safety of your fire equipment. But in reality, the fire alarm technicians at Total Fire & Safety are specialized employees who actually end up saving lives by making sure your equipment functions properly in an emergency situation at your commercial building!
    Yet these humble heroes walking among us in a simple Total Fire & Safety uniforms often go unappreciated because people don’t understand the special powers they possess and bring into play on a daily basis. For example, all Total Fire & Safety fire alarm technicians…

    1. Battle the forces of evil at a moment’s notice! When the call comes, the fire alarm technicians jump in their “Total Firemobile” and rush bravely in to battle the villain, whether it’s a malfunctioning backflow problem or a damaged sprinkler system. They soundly thwart the forces of equipment failure by repairing and replacing the critical systems, always emerging victorious. While Chicagoland sleeps, the Total Fire & Safety technician is on the job, throughout greater Chicagoland, lndiana and lower Wisconsin.  

    2. Excel at searching out the right clues to every puzzle. The crafty fire alarm technician can decode the secret language and uncover the valuable clues in blueprints, diagrams, specifications, schematics and operational/product manuals to find the information that saves the day and restores equipment to its proper functionality. It’s all in a day’s work for the fire alarm technician!

    3. Protect their customers and save the day. The Total Fire & Safety fire alarm technician deals directly with our customers, listening to their needs and providing the best, safest solutions for their situation. With professionalism and skill, they communicate with headquarters to make sure all is well for their customer, humbly accepting a mere humble thanks for their efforts.

    4. Go wherever the wind takes them…even overnight. The life of a fire alarm technician is filled with adventure on the road, going where they are called and serving willingly. Total Fire & Safety fire alarm technicians are flexible enough to travel overnight in order to perform inspections and repairs for clients that are not so close by. That’s what all heroes do!

    Bravery, trustworthiness and competence are all marks of the highly trained fire alarm technicans at Total Fire & Safety. Do you have what it takes? We are always looking for skilled individuals to join our force of heroes. Those who qualify can apply at apply at Total Fire & Safety for a distinguished career as well as competitive compensation and benefits such as health and dental and a position in a growing company with room for advancement. Contact Total Fire & Safety today about opportunities and learn how being an everyday hero with us can lead to exciting opportunities to do good in the world!

     


  6. Answer These Five Questions and Prevent Water-Based Sprinkler System Freeze!

    February 9, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    It’s the time of year when temperatures drop and things get icy, but don’t be fooled. Fires still pose a very serious threat even in winter! Even though it’s been a milder winter than normal here in the Chicago area, it’s still important to make sure your water-based commercial sprinkler system is bullet-proof from the elements and always ready. In the Midwest, where subzero temperatures can hit at any time, it makes sense to be prepared.

    A commercial fire protection company can provide winter fire protection, but building owners need to do their part too!  So how do you know you’re prepared? If you can answer these five questions affirmatively.

    Are your water-based sprinkler system pipes insulated? Even indoors, if the weather gets cold enough, your sprinkler system can be compromised and a small freeze within a fire protection system will compromise the system’s efficiency. If your building has a water-based fire system, the key is to block all cold air flow to the pipes. All pipes should be properly insulated, especially those in the ceilings and exterior walls of the building. Pipes that are close to the ceiling should have insulation above them, since cold air can enter between small caps in exterior sheathing and insulation.

    Have you installed a dry system in your most vulnerable areas? In places that are perpetually vulnerable to cold, such as attics and garages, it is best to replace your water-based sprinkler with a dry one. Special dry systems or dry sprinkler heads can be installed so that the sprinklers will continue to work in cold conditions, and you will never again have to worry about a freeze in a water-based system.

    Has your sprinkler system been inspected lately? When it comes to your commercial sprinkler system, an ounce of prevention is key. Make sure your sprinkler system is functional before the dangerous weather hits and there is a possibility of a pipe breaking.

    Do you know where your water shut-off valve is?  If you have a water-based sprinkler system, there is always a chance of a pipe freezing and bursting. Know how to stop the leak and react fast in an unexpected situation.

    Do you know who to call for help? Have the number of your commercial fire protection technician handy. They can prevent problems with timely inspections, repair a faulty system or update your water-based system to a dry one.

    If you’ve answered yes to all questions, your water-based sprinkler system is in good hands at your facility. If you answered no, we at Total Fire & Safety are at your service to help you install or maintain the best possible system for your building. Contact one of our qualified sprinkler professionals today at Total Fire & Safety.

     


  7. Foundry Fire Demonstrates Importance of Proper Commercial Fire Protection

    December 21, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

    Photo from Daily Herald Business Ledger/Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.com

    Business owners everywhere know they have to keep their fire protection systems up to code, but what happens when they don’t?

    In March 2014, a fire broke out in a foundry building located in Batavia, IL, caused by a careless employee. The fire happened when no one was working in the building, so no employees were hurt. However, the fire caused considerable damage to the foundry as well as the next-door business, Dewell & Dewell, which shares a wall with the foundry. Later, an investigation revealed that the reason the fire caused nearly $500K in damages was that the former tenant, Master Cast Inc., did not maintain a proper fire alarm and fire suppression system.

    Now, Master Cast Inc. is being taken to court in a suit alleging the company did not have proper fire alarms and commercial sprinkler systems. The building owner is seeking $450K in damages from Master Cast Inc., and Dewell & Dewell is seeking more than $50K. The lawsuit will come to court this February.

    This event is only one of the many cases every year in which a lack of properly installed fire safety equipment leads to extensive damage from fires. If your business isn’t up-to-code on all of your sprinklers, suppression systems and alarms, your business could face disastrous consequences.

    This fire also addresses an issue that businesses don’t always prepare for– employee fire safety training. According to the Kane County lawsuit, the fire started when an employee used a grinder near cardboard boxes. An employee who has been trained well would have avoided the fire hazard, and possibly even fight the fire, using an extinguisher the right way.

    The best way to avoid situations like this is to ensure that you have regularly scheduled fire equipment inspections. A professional service like Total Fire & Safety can keep your place of business up-to-code and inspected on a regular basis. For information on the many services available to prevent this kind of situation for your business, contact Total Fire & Safety.

    Read the latest in the court investigation here:

    http://dhbusinessledger.com/Content/Suburban-Trends-and-Issues/Suburban-Trends-and-Issues/Article/Lawsuit-Batavia-foundry-had-no-sprinklers-fire-caused-by-negligent-worker/87/172/17397


  8. Deck the Halls of the Office…..Safely!

    December 15, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

    Workplace safety is always important, but do you know how to safely spread holiday cheer without creating fire hazards? Here are a few crucial tips to keep in mind as you deck your workplace halls!

    1. Decorate in areas that won’t create obstacles. The best places for decorations are locations that are out of the way, but are still frequented by employees, such as reception areas, break rooms, foyers, and lobbies. Never place decorations in exit corridors, or in places that obstruct the view of exit signs, fire alarms, extinguishers, or hose cabinets.

    2. Be cautious with cords! Extension cords and string lights can pose a serious fire hazard if used incorrectly. Make sure that there are no broken or frayed wires or loose connections. If any cords appear damaged, don’t use them. Never nail or staple power cords or strings of lights, as this could seriously damage them and even cause an electric shock. Also make sure not to overload electrical outlets.

    3. Choose your decorations wisely. Inspect all decorations taken out of storage, especially electronic decorations, for damage before using them. Never use decorations that have an open flame. Choose fire-retardant materials for your decoration, and make sure they do not dangle or hang in places where employees could trip over them. Under no circumstances should a decoration be hanging from a sprinkler. Make sure Christmas trees or other tall, freestanding decorations are out of the way and cannot be tipped over.

    Make sure your holidays are safe and filled with cheer! If you have any questions about fire safety, equipment, or first aid in your place of business, you can contact Total Fire & Safety at 630-960-4823.

     


  9. Why Your Backflow Prevention Device is Important

    October 21, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    Backflow prevention systems are a must for any commercial building with large sinks, photo developing equipment, dishwashers or other machines where contaminated water is prone to backflow.  Backflow prevention, sometimes known as a cross-connection control device, keeps contaminated or polluted water separate from drinking water. It is important for fire prevention systems because any water used in fighting a fire or commercial fire sprinkler systems should be potable.

    Like any water safety system, there are also building codes that require installation of backflow prevention devices and there are specific types of backflow prevention devices that are required by code. The backflow prevention system is necessary when water is kept at high pressures to enable water flow. If the pressure fails due to an emergency (such as a broken pipe), undesirable solids, liquids, or gases may be sucked into the clean water supply.

    Backflow prevention devices use an air gap, or an assembly of valves or pressure vacuums to regulate cross-connection of drinking and contaminated water systems. When drinking water and contaminated water systems meet in certain intersections of piping, the clean water must move into the contaminated water, not the other way around. If the system fails, contaminated water can backflow into clean water as the contaminated water moves to an area of lower pressure. Just as the suction of a straw directs liquid to its proper destination, so the prevention backflow system is needed to prevent cross contamination.

    Since backflow prevention is an emergency system, inspection is required on a regular basis. Without regular inspection and installation, a faulty system could endanger the lives of people who drink water connected to the systems. In the past, a lack of working backflow prevention has even led to contamination of entire towns!

    The installation, inspection and certification of backflow prevention systems should always be handled by professionals who are experienced with such systems. If you have questions regarding your backflow prevention system, contact Total Fire & Safety for more information.

     


  10. Cloud Ceiling Panels: Where do the Sprinklers go?

    July 31, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

    Cloud ceiling panels are a new interior design trend in which a building with a high unfinished ceiling has panels at a lower level with lights attached to them. This creates a kind of ‘faux ceiling’ which draws attention away from the high ceiling. The effect can be modern, artistic, and add texture to a room, but… where do the  indoor sprinkler system heads go?

    For a long time, commercial sprinkler systems had to be installed on both the cloud ceilings and the actual ceiling, but the NFPA has revisited these rules since the cloud ceilings have become more popular. The original thought was that the cloud panels will block water from reaching the floor of the building where the fire would be. Therefore, cloud panels would have fire sprinklers installed on them too so that the sprinklers would be closer to potential fire sources.

    After running certain tests, officials have determined that there are some cloud panel situations that do not require so many sprinklers. By following certain guidelines regarding the size and distance between each cloud panel, sprinklers may only be installed in either the cloud ceiling or the true ceiling. The distance between the true ceiling and the cloud ceiling is also a factor in this rule. In order to be effective, sprinklers must cover a certain range of area in the building, vertically and horizontally. If there is enough space between each cloud panel and they aren’t too far from the ceiling itself, it is safe for sprinklers to only be installed on the ceiling. Likewise, if cloud panels are very close to the actual ceiling, sprinklers would serve better if installed on the panels themselves.

    If your building has cloud ceiling panels and you have questions about where sprinklers should go, make sure to contact a professional at Total Fire and Safety, since the NFPA regulations have been updated. You can reach us at 630-324-0092.