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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. 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. 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.

     


  4. Five Reasons You Need a Commercial First Aid Kit

    February 21, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    If one of your employees hurt themselves right now, do you have a commercial first aid kit for them to use?  Is it fully stocked?

    It’s not only important to have an OSHA-approved first aid kit onsite, but it’s also important to have the right kind, with the right contents, and have it replenished with first aid kit supplies on a regular basis.

    Without a doubt, the number one reason you need to have a commercial first aid kit onsite is:

     1.       It’s Code!

    OSHA’s “Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program”,  publication states:

     “It is advisable for the employer to give a specific person the responsibility

    for choosing the types and amounts of first-aid supplies and

    for maintaining these supplies. The supplies must be adequate,

    should reflect the kinds of injuries that occur, and must be stored in

    an area where they are readily available for emergency access.”

    Under the ANSI standard, Z308.1-2009, businesses can maintain four different categories of first aid kits for general indoor use, office use and light manufacturing.  Kits must also meet the performance and testing requirements set by the standard.

    Type I: Kits for indoor use, intended to be in a fixed position, not portable, like a mounted wall cabinet  for offices or manufacturing facilities.

    Type II: Portable, indoor kits with a carrying handle to be used in office or manufacturing environments.

    Type III: Portable kits for mobile indoor/outdoor settings that should have the ability to be mounted and are typical for transportation or construction jobs.

    Type IV: Portable kits for rugged, environmentally hostile outdoor applications where potential for damage to the kit is high.

    The ANSI standard details items needed for each kit but they generally include a selection of compresses, bandages, tape, gloves, antiseptic and burn treatments. Businesses with specific workplace hazards should consult with a competent healthcare professional to see what first aid kit supplies they should have. Depending on the workplace conditions, additional supplies may include eyewash, cold packs, eye covers, burn dressings, etc.  The standard also addresses requirement marking and labeling of first aid kit supplies and the importance of having the commercial first aid kit regularly maintained, which can be tricky unless you retain a first aid supplier to do it.

    2.       Accidents Really DO Happen.

    According to information from the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), an estimated 3.8 million workers in private industry and state and local government had a nonfatal occupational accident in 2012. The year prior, an estimated 2.9 million workers went to the ER with an occupational injury or illness and approximately 150,000 of those workers were hospitalized.  In the doctor’s office or even a court of law, it’s important for your employee to be able to report that a first aid kit was available and well-stocked, but the injury’s severity required additional medical attention. Undoubtedly, at some time during their tenure with your business, every employee will have interaction with the kit at least once.

    3.       You Care.

    Really, having a commercial first aid kit there for your employee’s comfort does send a message that workplace safety is important, as is the well-being of each employee. Employees who are more comfortable, are happier and therefore work more efficiently.

    4.       Productivity.

    In some cases, a minor scrape, or headache can send an employee home to get the proper first aid for their ailment. Their departure, even for a short period of time, means others have to take their place, and the domino effect can wreak havoc on productivity. Worse yet, the employee may choose to take the rest of the day off.  Having the first aid supplies they need on hand can keep an employee comfortably on the job.

    5.       Saved Time.  

    When an incident happens, nobody has to run out to the drug store for bandaids; they just reach inside the kit and find everything they need. Again, the first aid kit can keep everyone on the job where they belong and your productivity at the level you require.

    At Total Fire & Safety, we are experts with OSHA approved first aid kits and have been offering first aid kit supplies and replenishment for more than 20 years. If you have any questions about the type of first aid kit you need for your business, call us today at 630-960-5060.


  5. Commercial Sprinkler Systems: Why Fire Sprinkler Inspection is Important

    December 10, 2014 by Total Fire and Safety

    commercial-sprinkler-maintenanceYour facility’s commercial sprinkler system lies dormant until their operation is critical during a life-threatening emergency. If they fail at that certain time, lives can be lost. Regular fire sprinkler inspection can ensure peak performance when the situation heats up!

    Sprinkler systems respond to heat, not smoke, and are carefully designed to activate early but only in real fire, not non-fire situations.  Sprinklers release much less water than a fire department would, however by the time the fire department arrives, more water is needed to extinguish the fire.

    One of our services at Total Fire & Safety is to perform regular, on-site sprinkler inspections to help our clients comply with NFPA 25. NFPA 25 is our guideline for inspection, testing, and maintenance of sprinkler systems (water-based fire protection systems) to avoid failure and ensure fast, effective response in a fire emergency.

    Sprinklers are very effective; however, a recently published report by John Hall, Jr. entitled “U.S. Experience with Sprinklers” revealed that in reported structure fires from 2007-2011, sprinklers operated 91% of the time in structures large enough to activate sprinklers. Their effectiveness rate was 96%, which is good, but not perfect.  Why would a sprinkler system fail in an emergency?

    The National Fire Prevention Research Foundation (NFRP) prepared a report that they recently presented at a workshop in Chicago. Their findings on the major reasons for sprinkler system failure were:

    64%  Shutoff of the system before fire began. This may occur in the course of routine inspection or maintenance and is easy to monitor for safety.

    17% Lack of maintenance.  If a sprinkler system is not maintained, chances are it will not operate correctly in an emergency.

    6% Manual intervention that defeated the system.  Sometimes we are to blame for turning off or damaging the system during its deployment.

    6% Inappropriate system for the type of fire. A competent fire protection company like Total Fire & Safety can help you  determine the right sprinkler system for the job, whether it be wet pipe or dry pipe systems.

    7% Component damage.  Proper inspection and maintenance can ensure that the fire protection equipment is in proper working order.

    As you can see, your sprinkler system must be well maintained and ready to deploy at all times in case of a fire.  When is the last time you had your sprinkler system inspected? Call Total Fire & Safety today to see if maintenance or an upgrade is needed at 630-960-5060.

     

     


  6. Announcing….Our New Wireless Fire Alarm Monitoring Page!

    May 21, 2014 by Total Fire and Safety

     
    Total Fire & Safety is welcoming some new additions to our website, including the “Wireless Fire Alarm Monitoring” page!

    More and more municipalities, particularly in Chicagoland, are looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency by mandating wireless  fire alarm systems for the businesses in their service area. Wireless fire alarm monitoring is faster, safer, and more reliable than phone-  based systems that can fail from environmental factors. Also, with wireless fire alarm systems, businesses can disconnect their unneeded landlines and realize a substantial monthly savings.

    Our new page includes information about Vigilant™ fire alarm monitoring equipment, which is our preferred manufacturer of fire safety equipment. Vigilant is an industry leader known for its affordable, yet high-quality products that easily retrofit in single-unit facilities or multi-story office buildings.

    We’ve  also added new icons on our home page to signify three growing and very important parts of our business—life safety training, first aid supplies and emergency lighting.

    A new icon on our home page indicates our established  life safety code training service which prepares employees for fire scenarios and teaches them the correct use of fire safety equipment. For businesses where fire prevention is a priority, these classes prepare employees with the information they need to keep themselves, their co-workers, and the facility safe.  Classes are held at your location in a classroom setting with a hands-on, live burn session so employees get firsthand experience in extinguishing a fire. Other classes we offer include: hood suppression systems, paint booth suppression systems, proper evacuation procedures, fire sprinkler systems proper apparatus usage and more.

    Everyone knows the red cross means safety, and the recently added icon represents our  first aid supplies.  Our service protects your employees with  stocked cabinets of quality first aid supplies that we routinely replenish. When a minor injury occurs, your business is prepared, with the the right supplies on hand. We make the program affordable by only charging for the products your employees use. Our service helps businesses meet OSHA Regulation CFR 1910.151 (b).

    Our third new home page icon is the exit sign, which represents our  emergency lighting and LED emergency lighting, including signs and combination exit sign and lighting units. We keep your emergency lighting in working order with regular inspections to ensure that all units are in compliance, mounted correctly and free of damage, with batteries charged and bulbs in proper working order. We are also specialists in helping companies convert their emergency signage from conventional light bulbs to LEDs, which has helped many of our clients reduce their service and supply cost.

    We regularly provide free evaluations of your existing systems and can make recommendations on how to reduce costs for your company. For more information on our quality products and services, or to schedule an evaluation of your site, visit us at totalfireandsafety.com or call us at 630-960-5060.


  7. Fire Sprinkler System Inspections

    May 8, 2013 by Total Fire and Safety

    Properly installed and maintained automatic fire sprinkler systems help save lives. Because fire sprinkler systems react so quickly, they can dramatically reduce the heat, flames and smoke produced in a fire.

    Superior field service is a fundamental strength of Total Fire & Safety and has made us the preferred service provider for thousands of customers. We offer the full range of scheduled fire sprinkler inspections and maintenance services, as well as 24-hour/365-day emergency service.

    We service sprinkler systems in commercial structures. We also test fire hoses. Our technicians are highly trained and state certified. Our service trucks carry everything needed to get the job done right. Various parts of fire sprinkler systems must be tested at different intervals per NFPA 25.

    Below are some of the items tested during an inspection:

    • Are systems functional upon arrival?
    • Are gauges good and reading correctly?
    • Are main control valves open?
    • Do control valves operate through full range?
    • Valves are lubricated as needed.
    • Are there extra sprinkler heads in cabinet?
    • Is the building heated in wet sprinkler area?
    • Are the water motor and gong functional?
    • Is the electric alarm test satisfactory?
    • Are the alarm devices functional & free of damage?
    • Is stock and storage 18″ below the sprinklers?
    • Alarm time delayed in seconds?
    • More testing depending on system type

  8. 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.