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

  1. Fire Safety for Senior Citizens

    May 20, 2019 by Total Fire and Safety

    (Photo credit: Dreamstime ID 95654936 © Wavebreakmedia Ltd | Dreamstime.com)

    With the rise in popularity and construction of senior living centers, fire safety continues to be a concern to keep our grandparents, parents, and aging loved ones protected. According to the United States Fire Administration, in 2015, older adults represented 15 percent of the U.S. population and suffered 40 percent of all fire related deaths.  They are also 2.7 times greater risk of dying in a fire than the total population.  Those 85 and older were 3.8 times more likely to die in a fire than the total population.

    The elderly in multi-level dwellings are at higher risk of dying in a fire for several reasons.  They may be on medication that impairs them from taking stairs down to safety, or their mobility issues may prevent them from moving quickly enough. They may live alone or have no one to call for assistance. Educating property managers, caretakers, and the elderly on fire safety for senior citizens is one step we can take in protecting this aging generation.  Below are some considerations for property managers and their tenants.

     1. Test Smoke Alarms

    Smoke is a silent killer.  Senior citizens with hearing problems who sleep without a hearing aid could be killed in their sleep.  Having a working smoke alarm in every room and hallway helps, but they should be effective for the user. Strobe alarms are best, and seniors can install alarms that shake their bed to rouse them in the event of a fire. Most importantly of all, make sure to test smoke alarms every month so they are always in compliance.

    2.  Sit Your Butt Down…in the proper place!

    Smoking is the number one cause of fire deaths in the country. Remind senior citizens never to smoke in bed and especially not near flammable oxygen tanks. Seniors can use deeper or heavier ashtrays to avoid ashes flipping or falling onto the rug and starting a fire. The best way to put butts out is with sand and water.

    3. Create a Fire Escape Plan

    Seniors may have less than three minutes to escape danger in the event of a fire. They should have a fire escape plan and practice it, knowing all the accessible exits. For seniors suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s who have escape proof doors, it is important they have a prearranged escort in the event of a fire.

    4. Stay in the Kitchen

    Seniors should always stay in the kitchen when cooking.  Most kitchen fires begin because food is left unattended, so if they must leave the kitchen while cooking they should turn the burner off. Even a short absence from the kitchen can unexpectedly turn into an extended amount of time away.  If seniors must leave the kitchen, they should take a cooking utensil or potholder with them to serve a helpful reminder. Also, remind seniors to never cook with loose or dangling sleeves that can easily ignite and burn a senior, or potentially start a major fire.

    5. Daily Necessities

    Seniors should think about what they use to get around every day, like glasses, a wheelchair, a cane, etc. These items should be placed next to the bed for easy access in case of fire. A phone and a whistle should also be at bedside. The whistle lets people know where you are and enables you to warn others of the fire. Escape is always the priority; call the fire department later. If trapped, use the phone to call for help. Seniors with wheelchairs or walkers should check exit routes ahead of time to be sure they are accessible or plan an alternate route.  Inform building managers or neighbors of the plan.  If your impairment makes it impossible to escape in the event of a fire, discuss your concern with landlord, or check with the fire department.

    6. Don’t Overload Outlets or Extension Cords

    Inspect your extension cords regularly for fraying, exposed wire, or loose plugs.  Unplug extension cords when not in use.  If you need to plug in multiple appliances, use an extension cord approved by the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

    As their population begins to grow, fire safety for senior citizens cannot be stressed enough. Property managers, caretakers, the elderly, and their families should all be aware of the increased risk to the age group and try to protect them. The professionals at Total Fire and Safety are ready to help ensure your building has fire equipment that is  working properly.  We provide the life safety features that keep fire safety for your residents, including senior citizens, a main priority.   Give us a call today! 630-960-5060

     


  2. The Best Way to Prevent Industrial Fires

    April 24, 2019 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), between 2011 and 2015, there was an estimated 37,910 fires at industrial properties each year.  These industrial fires resulted in 16 civilian deaths, 273 civilian injuries, and $1.2 billion in property damage.

    Industrial fires are serious, but there are several things you can do at your plant or factory to minimize the possibility of an industrial fire. First, it’s important to know how they usually start.

    The five most common causes of industrial fires are…

    1. Combustible Dust Fires

    A combustible dust is any dust or fine material that has the potential to catch fire and explode when it is mixed in the air.  Many times, materials that are normally considered non-flammable can act as a combustible when fine particles are mixed with air in a particular concentration.  Combustible dust happens in two waves.   A primary explosion causes particles to become airborne, and then the dust cloud can ignite and cause a secondary explosion, much more severe than the first. Combustible dust can bring down entire facilities.

    How do I Prevent Combustible Dust Fires?

    • Implement a hazardous dust inspection, testing, housekeeping, and control program.
    • Regularly inspect for dust residues in open and hidden areas.
    • Use proper dust collection systems.
    • If ignition sources are present, use cleaning methods that do not generate dust clouds.
    • Control smoking, open flames, and sparks (mechanical and friction).

    2. Hot Work Fires

    Hot work is any activity that involves open flames or generates sparks or heat.  This includes welding, heat treating, grinding, thawing pipes, torch cutting, brazing, soldering, etc.  Hot work becomes a fire hazard when sparks and molten material travel…often as far as 35 feet, sometimes igniting combustible dust in other areas.

    How do I Prevent Hot Work Fires?

    • Train personnel on the hazards associated with hot work and make sure they are using proper safety equipment.
    • Clear area of flammable materials including dust, gases, and liquids.
    • Make sure a safety professional is on site to provide supervision of the work.
    • Avoid hot work if possible.

     

    3. Flammable Liquid and Gas Fires

    These are most common in chemical plants.  Flammable liquids and gases can ignite off sparks from the previous hazards or add fuel to an already burning fire.

     How Do I Prevent A Flammable Gas Fire?

    • Know the hazards of each flammable liquid and gas on-site. Read and follow the safety information for storage and follow the material safety data sheet included with the product.
    • Properly store hazardous materials according to OSHA.
    • Keep ignition sources away from flammable gases and liquids.
    • Provide personal protective equipment, like gloves, bodysuits, vests, goggles, shoes etc.

    4. Equipment and Machinery Fires

    Equipment not properly installed, maintained, or operated correctly is a major cause of industrial fires. This is especially true for equipment associated with hot work and heating.  Even machinery not seen as a fire hazard can become a risk with lack of proper maintenance.

     How Do I Prevent Equipment and Machinery Fires?

    • Training can help employers and employees identify possible risks and what to do if they find one.
    • Keep the machines, equipment, and areas surrounding them, clean.
    • Prevent machine overheating by following the manufacturer’s guidelines for recommended maintenance procedures.

    5. Electrical Hazard Fires

    Electrical fires are most common in manufacturing plants and include wiring that is exposed or not up to code, overloaded outlets, extension cords, overloaded circuits, static discharge, etc. A spark from electrical hazards can cause ignition of combustible dust and flammable liquids and gases.

     How Do I Prevent Electrical Hazard Fires?

    • Don’t overload electrical equipment or circuits.
    • Unplug temporary equipment not in use.
    • Avoid using extension cords.
    • Use antistatic equipment as advised by OSHA and NFPA.
    • Follow a regular cleaning schedule to ensure combustible dust and other hazardous materials are removed from areas that house equipment and machinery.

     

    It can seem overwhelming to have to safeguard your facility against industrial fire hazards, but the pros at Total Fire and Safety can help you identify and prevent risks throughout your facility. They also provide fire safety training to educate employees on proper fire safety equipment operation and life safety procedures.

    To take the first step in keeping industrial fires at bay at your facility, call Total Fire and Safety at 630-960-5060 or reach us at our 24/7 emergency line, 630-546-8909.

     


  3. Will your fire sprinkler system work when the heat is on?

    March 22, 2019 by Total Fire and Safety

    In a commercial building, a fire sprinkler system is one of the most effective ways to control and extinguish fires.  A well maintained fire sprinkler system can mean the difference between minor damage and total destruction.

    A fire sprinkler system is a group of pipes and sprinkler heads located on ceilings or overhead.  They slow the spread of fire or extinguish fire by releasing a spray of water.  They are designed to cover as much area as possible to provide widespread coverage.

    Most fire sprinklers are heat activated.  When heat is detected, water is released and the fire alarm will likely be activated. Obviously, we need fire sprinklers to be as reliable as possible. So when and why do they fail?

     The NFPA reports that there are an average of 660 reported sprinkler failures a year.  However, with a proper working fire sprinkler 96% of the time they are effective in controlling most fires.  The most common causes of sprinkler failures are:

    • System shut-off
    • Manual intervention
    • Damaged components of fire sprinklers
    • Lack of maintenance
    • Inappropriate design of the fire sprinkler systems

    Fortunately, most of these problems can be alleviated with proper, regular inspection of your fire sprinkler system  by a trained professional.  The NFPA suggests different intervals per year in order to ensure effectiveness.

    Monthly inspection should ensure that

    • Valves are accessible, labeled properly and are not leaking
    • Wet gauges should be in good condition with proper water pressure detected
    • Dry gauges should have normal water pressure with the quick opening device showing the same pressure as the dry pipe valve

    Quarterly inspection should:

    • Check for physical damage to the supervisory alarm and water flow alarm
    • Dry test the system to check for valve issues
    • Check that all fire department connections are accessible
    • Check for leaks around the fire department connections
    • Inspect pressure reducing valves (free of leaks, open position, maintaining downstream pressure)

    Annual inspection should include all of the above, plus professional inspection by a certified professional for code compliance and tagging.

    Well-maintained fire sprinkler systems are paramount to your building safety and occupants.  The professional at Total Fire and Safety is dedicated to keeping you safe and in code compliance.  Give us a call today to schedule an inspection at 630-960-5060.

     


  4. What’s a Fire and Life Safety Ecosystem?

    February 27, 2019 by Total Fire and Safety

    Image: NFPA Website

    The fire and life safety ecosystem led the discussion at the 2018 NFPA Conference and Expo.  What is the fire and life safety ecosystem?  Like any ecosystem, it is comprised of elements that work together to achieve a functioning system—in this case, eight separate elements that have to do with fire and safety. Several of them are the responsibility of the government, while many call upon the public to enforce and deliver. Regardless of who is charged with the responsibility, the goal throughout the ecosystem is to prevent major disasters from fire, electrical, and other hazards.  When tragedies occur, it is likely there was a breakdown in one or more parts of the fire and life safety ecosystem.  Here are the eight components relating to the fire and life safety code:

    • Government Responsibility: Policy makers must maintain effective policy and regulatory environment and not prioritize politics over the public’s safety. When life safety codes are stripped for any reason, people’s lives are endangered for the sake of political gain.
    • Development and Use of Current Codes: Government and building designers must implement the latest codes and standards or risk losing the latest technology and research in fire, electrical, life safety.
    • Referenced Standards: All standards within the fire, life, building, safety, and electrical codes must be addressed or the right products and practices will not be used, possibly leading to disastrous results.
    • Investment in Safety: Property managers and need to make an investment in safety to comply with the latest standards and codes. Hiring a company like Total Fire and Safety means an investment in safety.  All the latest fire safety technologies are always available from TFS and we can design a program to fit any company’s needs and budget.
    • Skilled Workforce: Promote the development of skilled professionals to apply the codes and standards.  For over 20 years, TFS has employed highly skilled, highly trained,  and  highly dedicated workers in order to put customers’ safety above all else.
    • Code Compliance: Effective code enforcement is necessary. Fire Marshalls and other officers must conduct regular inspections to ensure safety and code compliance.
    • Preparedness and Emergency Response: Provide effective preparedness and emergency response capabilities to deal with fire, electrical, and related hazards.  Train employees on emergency equipment, fire safety drills, designated leader in emergencies, etc..  TFS provides training classes for employees, as well as, informative literature on how to react in an emergency and much more.
    • Informed Public: Educating the public is important, as is  educating businesses about the specific fire hazards in their facilities.

    No one cog in the fire and life safety ecosystem can keep us all safe from harm. Even all the pieces together, working in tandem, may not prevent every disaster, but they can certainly prevent many. By practicing and implementing the various areas outlined in the fire and life safety ecosystem, we can all create a safer community.  At Total Fire and Safety, we are committed to helping you play your role in the fire and life safety ecosystem.  Contact us today to discuss your fire safety needs or call 630-960-5060.


  5. Danger on the Job: Keeping the Office Kitchen Safe

    November 5, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

    Next to the everyday hustle and bustle of the average office, office kitchen fire safety is a secondary concern. However, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports that just over one-fifth of office fires begin in the kitchen or cooking area.  Twenty-nine percent are started by cooking equipment, the leading cause of fires in the office.  Although these fires started small, they caused major structure damage.

    With the holidays on the way and more employee parties sure to take place, the office kitchen will be used more than ever.  How can you prevent a fire from happening? How do you keep your employees safe and well fed at the same time?  Here are four important safety tips to help you get started:

    1. Replace worn or frayed power cords.
    Inspect power cords on the kitchen appliances. Are the wires exposed?  If so, the cord can short out and cause a fire.  Encourage your employees to keep an eye out for damaged cords.  Be sure to replace them as soon as they are found.  This one simple act will keep the office safe.

    2. Watch food as it cooks.
    It easy to become distracted in the office, whether its fellow coworkers gossiping or doing too many things at once. You wouldn’t leave food unattended at home and the office should not be any different.  To ensure food cooks properly, emphasize that employees must stay near appliances as they cook or heat food/beverage.  Employees using the kitchen also need to watch for signs of smoke or burning.  Doing so will ensure the safety of the entire building.

    3. Regularly clean appliances.
    We’ve all been there. We stick a (insert food item) in the microwave, oven, toaster, etc., and it explodes or leaves spillage behind.  However, we avoid cleaning, commonly thinking someone else will do it.  Spills and baked-in foods left behind can cause a fire. Cleaning kitchen equipment after use will prevent grease from accumulating which prevents combustion. These hazards can be avoided easily so remind employees to wipe up spills, food particles left behind, etc.

    4. Have employees trained to use a fire extinguisher.
    No matter how proactive you and your employees are, accidents still happen.  Having staff trained to use fire fighting equipment could mean the difference between a catastrophe or a minor incident.  Total Fire and Safety can train you and your employees to use a fire extinguisher, first aid equipment, and other lifesaving safety measures.

    With most office fires starting in the kitchen, it is important to educate employees on office kitchen fire safety.  Total Fire and Safety (TFS) offers a complete fire training program to educate employees on the proper techniques of fighting a fire.  Not only can your employees use these practices in the office, they can also apply them in their home.  Keep you, your staff, and your workplace fire safe. Give TFS a call today at 630-960-5060.


  6. 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.


  7. Parent’s Guide to Campus Fire Safety

    September 19, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

    Campus fire safety is not likely a hot button issue with college students or parents when they first move on campus. But fires occur on college campuses more than parents and students realize. According to The Center for Campus Fire Safety, between 2000-2018, more than 92 fatal fires killed 132 people on college campuses, Greek housing, or off-campus housing within three miles of college housing.  The NFPA reports that U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,870 fires in dormitories and Greek housing from 2009 to 2013.  Cooking equipment accounts for 86 percent of the fires.

    Most dormitories have specific rules and regulations in place to reduce the possibility of fire, but  sometimes drugs and alcohol consumption can inhibit a student’s ability to recognize danger zones. It’s worth mentioning to your child that special care must be taken with the following items, even when they allowed by residence:

    • Space heaters
    • Candles
    • Stovetops
    • Cooking utensils
    • Smoking
    • Overloaded power strips

    When you move your child in, you can help keep them safe by keeping fire safety in mind:

    • Check for smoke alarms and fire sprinklers. These should be located in hallways, lobbies, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.
    • Look for a posted escape route. If there are no plans posted, make one.
    • Check with school officials when and how often fire drills are planned. There should be fire drills on-campus, in Greek housing and off-campus housing.
    • Keep all exits clear for a safe escape path.
    • Do not use flame candles, opt for battery operated candles.
    • Practice fire safety in the kitchen. Do not leave food cooking unattended and do not cook when tired or in a compromised state.  Unplug appliances. Do not put out grease fires with water.
    • Do not overload outlets.
    • Turn off electronics and appliances, like computers, hair tools, etc. Hit the off button when leaving the room.
    • Clean the lint trap from the dryer, before and after each use.
    • Smoke outside! Do not dispose of cigarettes, etc. in the garbage.

    Unfortunately, one of these potential fire hazards became real when a mother lost her daughter in a fire while she was attending Reed College near Portland, Oregon.  Because of this tragedy, the victim’s mother partnered with the Portland Fire and Rescue to promote the “Zero Death Initiative.”  The program aims to educate students, who are on their own for the first time, about fire safety.

    Starting college is a big step into a new world for everyone but campus fire safety should not be lost in the fray.  Take the precautionary measures now so your child can stay focused on the year ahead.  Total Fire and Safety keeps residential buildings equipped and compliant with proper fire code regulations. To find out more about what we do, give us a call at 630-960-5060.

     

     

     

     

     

     


  8. Why Companies Fail Fire Extinguisher Inspections

    May 30, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    Most companies understand the mandate to have regular fire extinguisher inspections but many wonder why on earth a company could actually fail these inspections. After all, a fire extinguisher is rarely used so how can it need service?

    Chances are you see a fire extinguisher every day, but how closely do you look at it? Even one dent in the tank can change the outcome. According to the NFPA, nearly 30 percent of fire extinguishers are not in proper working order. Total Fire and Safety’s twelve-point check can ensure your company’s compliance. However, there are five main reasons why companies fail a fire extinguisher inspection.

    1. Unseen Damage– Corrosion or damage can occur over time in hard to see areas of the extinguisher, for example, rust within the tank. That is when a professional steps in and inspects the extinguisher inside and out. TFS will visually examine the extinguisher making sure it is free of dents, rust, or other hazards.

    2. Potential Hose Blockage– Debris can clog the hose or deterioration of the O-rings can occur over time, rendering a fire extinguisher useless in an emergency. TFS will remove the hose completely to check for irregularities.

    3. Possible Leaks– Whether large or small, a leak will cause the fire extinguisher to be inoperable. Anyone can check the pressure gauge to determine if there is a leak. However, if there is no pressure gauge, you will need a professional. TFS will confirm the compression in the tank.

    4. Wear/Fading of Labels– Labels are vital when fighting a fire because they contain instructions on how to use the extinguisher. They also provide important information about the device’s maintenance history, which is needed by inspection professionals. Once your fire extinguisher inspection is complete, the labels will be updated, and an additional certification tag will be attached.

    5. Recharging Needed– Once a fire extinguisher is used, even partially, it will need to be recharged immediately. If you fail to recharge the extinguisher, it will fail you in a fire.

    Although these are common reasons companies fail fire extinguisher inspections, there are other possible hazards not listed. It is important to stay up-to-date with your fire extinguisher inspections. The NFPA requires inspection every month and maintenance every year by a professional. In addition, a stored pressure extinguisher requires internal maintenance every six years and a hydrostatic test every 12 years.

    It takes a minute for a fire to spread and cause irreparable damage to your company—the same amount of time it takes to schedule a fire extinguisher inspection!

    Total Fire and Safety can inspect your fire extinguishers to ensure they are unfailingly ready to fight fire at a moment’s notice. We also provide onsite training for your employees, including hands-on practice in the use of a fire extinguisher. Give us a call today at 630.960.5060.


  9. Fire Safety Symposium

    March 21, 2018 by admin

    Join us for the 2018 Fire Safety Symposium

    at Total Fire & Safety!

    Register below! Space is limited!


  10. 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.