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  1. The Business Owner’s Checklist for Commercial Fire Safety in 2019

    December 4, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    A brand new year is a great time for businesses to evaluate what they can improve upon, even in terms of their commercial fire safety.  No business is completely immune to accidental fires and having the right equipment in place year round can prevent potential devastation.

    According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 3,300 fires break out in office buildings across the U.S each year.  The NFPA reports that a number of people are killed or injured with an estimated $112 million in property damage.

    If you’re a business set on achieving your 2019 goal of reaching NFPA compliance, take a look at checklist of equipment you need below for commercial fire safety. Anything missing? Call Total Fire & Safety. We can help!

    ____    Alarms

    • Fire and smoke alarms are the first line of defense and should be regularly inspected and in working order.
    • Consider wireless fire alarm monitoring, which is more efficient for many businesses.
    • Have a plan of action for occupants should the alarm sound.

    ____     Extinguishers and Suppression Systems

    • Conduct tests regularly to ensure function and pressure when activated.
    • Schedule routine maintenance of equipment.
    • Store extinguishers in open areas for easy access.

    ____     Emergency Lighting

    • Effective emergency lighting throughout the building will help occupants to safety in an emergency.
    • Schedule regular maintenance and inspections.

    Equipment is essential and necessary to prevent major damage but people are too! Whether it’s putting out a fire or tending to the injured, what good is the equipment if you don’t have employees able to use it?

    ____    First Aid

    ____    Training Courses

    • A comprehensive fire equipment training course on the use of fire equipment and first aid can place confidence in employees and keep everyone safe.
    • Training employees reduces the chance of small fires starting and spreading.

    You could have all the equipment ready and employees trained to use it but they need something else.

    ____   Emergency Preparedness Plan

    • Remind employees to REACT-(remove from danger, ensure doors/windows are closed, activate alarm, call 911, treat as dangerous.)
    • Conduct fire drills.
    • Schedule inspections of all fire equipment.
    • Have employees trained on firefighting equipment.

    Making sure you have commercial fire safety in place can seem a daunting task but the pros at Total Fire and Safety are here to simplify it.  TFS covers everything including inspection, maintenance, training, and keeping your building up to code so you are well protected in the event of an unforeseen fire. Give us a call today at 630-960-5060.


  2. Are You In the Dark About Emergency Exit Lights?

    March 15, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

    Nobody thinks much about emergency exit lights. But if the power suddenly goes out, smoke fills the room and you can’t see a foot in front of you, relying on the emergency lights may be your only means of escape.

    Emergency exit lights are essential to safety in any dangerous situation. They can alarm someone in a fire, be the only source of light in the dark, and the key to safely exiting the building. Emergency exit lights are often overlooked and taken for granted, but take note of how many you come across every day. Do you realize how many requirements and regulations go into the installation and maintenance of one exit sign?

    There are numerous agencies that govern emergency exit lighting and signs: OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), NFPA (National Fire Protection Administration, JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the International Building Code and International Fire Code. Above all these agencies, the local authority is responsible for monitoring and enforcing building/fire codes.

    According to OSHA, an exit route is defined as a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety. There are three parts to an exit route:

    • Exit access-part of the exit route that leads to an exit.
    • Exit-part of the exit route that is separated from other areas and provides a safe means of travel to exit discharge.
    • Exit discharge-part of the exit route that leads to directly outside or refuge area.

    OSHA’s requirements for the lighting of these afore mentioned exit routes is covered under 1910.37(b). It states that each exit route must be sufficiently lighted so an employee with normal vision can see along the exit route and each exit must be clearly visible and marked by a sign reading “EXIT.” Additional information for OSHA requirements can be found at www.osha.gov.

    The NFPA guidance for emergency exit lighting and signs can be found in the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code. The NFPA’s Life Safety Code provides information for placement, illumination, and visibility for exit signs.

    • Placement of exit sign. Any exit signs must be located so that no point in an exit access area is more than the sign’s viewing distance, or 100 feet from the nearest sign.
    • Visibility of exit signs-Every sign must be located and of such size, distinctive color and design that is visible and contrasts from the background of its placement. NFPA also states no decorations, furnishings, or equipment that impairs visibility of a sign shall be permitted. Nothing should be placed near an exit sign that distracts attention and inhibits visibility of an exit sign.
    • Illumination of Exit Signs-The NFPA states all exit signs must be illuminated by a reliable light source and legible in normal and emergency exit lighting modes. There are two categories of illumination: external illumination, which comes from outside the exit sign and internal illumination, which comes from a source inside an exit sign.

    According to the NFPA, emergency illumination must be provided for a minimum of 1.5 hours in the event of power outage. The emergency lighting must be illuminated not less than an average of one lumen per square foot. The maximum illumination at any point can be 40 times the minimum illumination. All emergency exit lighting must be able to provide lighting automatically when normal light is interrupted.

    Many emergency exit lights are now using LED lights. The NFPA states that LED lights are longer lasting, provide better light and are most durable. In emergency situations, LED lights emit sufficient lighting and are most effective when placed properly. They are also most energy efficient, saving the building money.

    According to the NFPA requirements for testing, there are three categories of emergency lights: traditional, self-testing, and computer base self-testing. A monthly activation test which involves having the lights illuminate for no less than 30 seconds and an annual test which keeps the lights illuminated for 1.5 hours, simulating a long-term emergency. Records of these test must be maintained for inspection.

    Many regulations, codes, and considerations go into the signs and lights you see every day so it is important to have regular maintenance and testing of these lights. Total Fire and Safety has a knowledge team for inspecting emergency exit lighting. With regular maintenance and testing from Total Fire and Safety, you can be assured your emergency exit lighting is up to code and the safety of your employees/tenants is assured. Give us a call today 630-960-5060.


  3. 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

     


  4. TFS at the Co-op and Condo Expo

    November 29, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    Robin Jones, 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.


  5. 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.


  6. 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


  7. Four Telltale Signs You Should Update Your Commercial Fire Protection

    August 19, 2014 by Total Fire and Safety

    update-fire-systemYour commercial fire protection systems should be a “set it and forget it” situation, right? Perhaps, but just like everything, fire systems age too. By updating the system you have, you may be able to save considerable time and money, thanks to advances in the latest life safety technologies. So how do you know when it’s time to update your commercial fire protection?  Here are the main telltale signs:

    Overall age of the system. The industry has made great strides in fire prevention technology in the past decade. The industry continually makes equipment more efficient and reliable, so if it has been a while since you upgraded, chances are you’re missing something.

    Changes in your business or areas of your facility. Have you had any changes that would affect the fire code in a particular area of your facility?  For example if you have relocated your flammables to a different area of the building, you may need additional protection, such as additional fire extinguishers or alarm monitoring to remain compliant with fire code. A fire protection professional can help you make the necessary adjustments.

    Too many service calls.  Have you noticed you are calling more often for system malfunctions? Does it seem like you are constantly scheduling a service call from your fire protection service? Are service calls becoming more routine? Are the bills from your fire protection service inflating because of excessive service calls? These are signs that your older system needs an upgrade to function properly.  As an added bonus, you will see a reduction in your service calls and maintenance fees!

    And the most important reason for upgrading your system…

    You are paying too much for your monitoring services.  Many companies aren’t aware of how much they are actually paying their service company to monitor their fire safety every month. It’s possible a simple, inexpensive upgrade can result in a remarkable savings over time. For example, many companies are switching to wireless fire alarm monitoring systems, which allows them to cut their dual landlines and save 70% on their alarm monitoring services each month.

    If you have an older building, or if you are wondering if an upgrade can save your business money each month, please call Total Fire and Safety at 630-960-5060 for a FREE evaluation of your current commercial fire protection service.


  8. 10 Reasons to Have LED Emergency Lights

    June 12, 2014 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    What kind of lights do you have in your emergency exit signs? Chances are, they are incandescent and fluorescent lights and probably have been for some time. Now, however, LED (light emitting diode) lighting is becoming a safer, more economical way for businesses to provide reliable, emergency lighting.  Have you discovered how LED emergency lights can help your business?  Here are the top ten reasons to consider it:

     

    LED COST SAVINGS

    LEDs are notorious for saving the customer money.  How much will you save making the switch to emergency LED lights? The answer depends upon your facility and number of LED emergency lights, but statistics show the savings could be dramatic. According to Energy Star, a qualified LED bulb has an average operating cost of $1 per year, while a compact florescent bulb’s annual cost is $1.20, $3.50 for a halogen incandescent bulb and $4.80 for a traditional incandescent bulb. In the case of exit lighting, where illumination is 24/7, significant savings always occur when our customers switch to LEDs!

    EFFICIENCY One of the reasons LEDs are more affordable to operate is because the LEDs run at a lower temperature than incandescent. This increases the bulb’s efficiency because they generate more energy as light, not heat.

    LED LIFESPAN  LEDs are also known for their longevity. Since they don’t rely on a burning filament for light, they can last up to 50,000 hours or more! While annual maintenance is still required, our customers appreciate how infrequently LED lights need replacement.

    BRIGHTNESS  Over the years, the color and technology of LEDs has improved significantly. Today’s LEDs are pleasing to the eye and outshine regular bulbs dramatically. They can be seen from maximum distances, and are therefore perfect for providing illumination in times of emergency.

    ADVANCING TECHNOLOGY  LED lighting continues to improve and demand for LEDs is increasing.  More and more options are becoming available for LED emergency lighting, from standard exit sign units to lighting strips that can be incorporated very subtly into the architectural elements of the buildings.

    CONSTRUCTION  LED lighting is thinner and lighter than other bulbs and therefore easier to install and maintain. Yet they are truly robust and offer some of the brightest lighting available. In fact, the construction of LED lights and absence of glass makes them the safest choice for mining, oil, exploration and other explosive environments.

    RELIABILITY  LEDs are easily controlled and since they use a minimum of power, they are ideal for operation from a backup generator or battery.  When you need them, LED emergency lights are there.

    ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY  LEDs are considered environmentally friendly since they contain no lead or mercury. They also last longer than incandescent bulbs, which end up in landfills much sooner. LEDs are considered the “way of the future” and expected to decrease energy costs nationwide.

    RESILIENCY  LEDs are tough, and resistant to shock and vibration. They are therefore less likely to be damaged in public places.

    SPACE EFFICIENCY  LEDs are very focused, bringing illumination to designated areas. LEDs rely on their own dedicated optics, drivers and fittings, so they can be easily incorporated into different types of lighting fixtures using a minimum of space.

    Still wondering if LED emergency lights are right for you?  Contact Us Today for a free estimate on making the switch to LED emergency lighting.

     

     

     


  9. Total Fire and Safety Blog

    February 21, 2012 by admin

    Welcome to the Total Fire and Safety Blog. Here you can get more information on keeping yourself, your children and your property safe from fire and disaster with easy preventative steps. Also should an emergency arise, Total Fire and Safety can educate you, your family or your employees on what to do, where to go and how to keep yourself and others safe in an emergency.

    There is lots of safety equipment and technology that can prevent disasters as well as minimize the damages. These technologies are all available through Total Fire and Safety:

    • Fire Alarms
    • Sprinkler Systems
    • Fire Pumps
    • Backflow Prevention Plumbing
    • Fire Extinguishers
    • Emergency Lights
    • Fire Suppression Systems
    • First Aid

    Also Total Fire and Safety offers full training courses on all of our technologies and equipment to be utilized properly in an emergency situation.