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

  1. When Self Defense Meets Fire Safety

    August 31, 2019 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    Once again active shooting in public places is making headlines and making us consider our self defense options wherever we go. Unfortunately, our safety can be threatened almost anywhere, and self-defense is important. In your workplace or the facilities you manage, it’s important for the people inside to know how to react in the event of an active shooter or other attack.

    In the case of an active shooter or other violent attack, potential victims have little or no advance warning.  The sound of gunshots may be the earliest alert you receive, leaving little time to react.  That’s why it is more important that you are prepared with a proactive plan of self defense, so you know how to respond immediately.

    For years we were taught to shelter in place and wait for first responders.  But studies have found that this line of defense results in increased casualties.  Recently, offices and buildings have adopted the ALICE response plan.  ALICE is an acronym for the five steps you can take to survive an active shooter attack.  You may or may not use all the steps in the plan, but it’s nice to know that the fire extinguishers we regularly install and service, can actually be used effectively against an attacker in the “C” or “counter” step of ALICE.

    So, in the event of an attack, remember ALICE:

    • Alert- Let everyone in the office or the building know what is going on when you hear gunshots, receive a warning or phone message, etc. The faster you communicate, the more lives can be saved.
    • Lockdown- If evacuation is not an option, lock the door, barricade it, and cover windows. Look for alternate escape routes, call 911, but do not open the door. Prepare yourself for the shooter to enter.
    • Inform- Pass on as much information as you can. Who, what, where, when! The more those around you know, the better.
    • Counter- Counter is one of the most dangerous but potential life saving strategies within the ALICE response. To counter is to fight back. Even in schools, there is one weapon, available to all, allowed and required in all buildings, and easy to use at your disposal against a predator. It’s your FIRE EXTINGUISHER!

    While any object can become a weapon against the shooter, that five or ten-pound fire extinguisher on the wall can be very powerful. Remember that an armed assailant will not have a free hand to block counterattacks, nor will they be expecting one.  Use your fire extinguisher to throw at the shooter or as a bludgeon when he comes through the door. Even if hitting him over the head does not knock him unconscious, it can buy you time to escape.  You can also pull the pin and deploy the contents which can potentially blind or suffocate the shooter, or at the very least, startle him/her, long enough to disarm or tackle them.

    To use a fire extinguisher, remember PASS:

    • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
    • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
    • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
    • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

    Once the can is empty, keep your grasp and ram the bottom of the can into the attacker’s face or body. Having training on how to correctly use a fire extinguisher ahead of time can ensure that your employees are prepared for more than fighting fires!

    If you automatically locate the nearest escape doors when you go into a public place, it’s also a good time to note where the fire extinguishers are located, just in case.

    The last letter in the ALICE acronym is “E.”

    • Evacuate- Escaping the danger zone is always the best self defense option in the event of a shooter. Total Fire & Safety offers emergency evacuation and fire safety training so your people are trained to respond in a productive, organized way should an emergency ensue.

    Total Fire and Safety is committed to all areas of life safety, including self defense against active shooters. For more information on our training, see our website or give us a call: 630-960-5060.


  2. Find Your Career in Illinois Commercial Fire Safety

    July 23, 2019 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    When people think of careers in fire safety in Illinois, they usually think of firefighters. But what about the folks who prevent the fires in the first place? These dedicated professionals work in the area of commercial fire safety. They help commercial buildings and residential dwellings stay up to code with the fire safety equipment, and thus, can save lives indirectly by keeping people safe and prepared for fire emergencies.

    Providing fire safety to any business, at any level, starts with teamwork. If one aspect of fire safety fails (sprinkler, extinguisher, or alarm), it can make the difference between life and death. All the fire safety components work within a life safety ecosystem, which includes government code compliance, a skilled workforce, and an investment in safety equipment, installation, and training. As part of a commercial fire safety team such as Total Fire and Safety, you are part of a life-saving mission. We provide customers their first offense in putting out a fire on their premises.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and their Occupational Outlook Handbook, the projected employment change for security and fire alarm system installers is expected to grow 14 percent, which is faster than the average career. They are expecting growth of 10,400 new jobs between 2016-2020. Currently, Illinois, the home state of Total Fire & Safety, is among the states in the nation that employs the most installers in this field. (see chart below).

    Chart reprinted from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2018, 49-2098 Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Many of the careers in fire safety require a high school diploma or equivalent but mainly, on-the-job training. At Total Fire & Safety, we have a vigorous employee training program that prepares our people for many of the jobs that are so needed in the industry, such as customer service, sales representatives, dispatchers, fire alarm service technicians, fire extinguisher technicians, fire sprinkler service technicians, etc. We even have an on-site training facility (pictured below) where we regularly host classes and training modules for TFS employees.

    You’ve heard the phrase teamwork makes the dream work, right? At Total Fire and Safety we are always looking for dedicated professionals to join our commercial fire safety team, which has that has provided fire safety for over 30 years. If you are looking for employment or are ready for a career change, join Total Fire and Safety and see how working as a team can save lives.

    To learn more about the opportunities available and experience needed at Total Fire and Safety, visit our employment page  or search us on Indeed.

     


  3. 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!


  4. 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

     


  5. Five Important Questions to Get Your Money’s Worth from Fire Safety Training

    April 13, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    If your business has more than ten employees, they are going to need annual fire safety training. Some businesses rush to the least expensive program that will satisfy OSHA requirements, assuming that all training is the same; however, that’s simply not true. Fire safety training can vary in quality based on a number of factors, and many come with “hidden” fees that you may not be aware of. So what should you look for?  Here are some important questions to ask before you book the training company.

    1. What kind of course would you recommend? The course you need for your company should address the most probable emergencies that can occur at your facility. A training company worth its salt will tailor the course to your needs, surveying your business ahead of time to determine the most important content needed for your employees.

    2. Who is teaching the course? Make sure the instructors are experienced professionals who know what real emergencies are like and how they occur. It’s even better if the instructor has experience with real-life emergencies. Nothing compares to the knowledge of a first responder who has faced countless fires and hazardous events. They can share personal stories, anecdotes and examples related to the training, which can make the class more interesting.

    3. What will the course cover?  Basic training courses cover how to use the fire extinguisher, but the most important thing employees should learn is WHEN to use the fire extinguisher. A good training course will focus on the importance of making fast and accurate, life-or-death decisions. Not only should your employees know how to fight fires, but also WHEN to fight the fire, and most importantly, when not to fight the fire. Evacuating and leaving it to the professionals is sometimes the best decision an employee can make.

    4. Where will the training take place?  Many fire safety trainings are performed outdoors, with a live burn in a pan that employees practice extinguishing. Although exciting, putting out a pan fire in a parking lot does not accurately simulate a realistic fire or emergency situation! Also, elements of the weather such as wind can affect the fire and unrealistically hamper the efforts of the employee trying to learn proper extinguishing techniques. It is much more effective to practice emergency procedures where they actually occur—inside the facility. With the help of digital technology, your employees can learn to extinguish the exact type of fire they would most likely face right at their worksite. This “on-the-spot” training also helps employees develop realistic evacuation plans and teach them to work as a team in an emergency situation.

    5. Will there be extra costs involved with the equipment or the course materials? If the trainer is using “live burns”, or actual fires to practice extinguishing, you will need to have a burn permit and may incur any associated costs with setting up an outdoor space needed for the demonstration. If the training company uses your fire equipment for a live burn session, you will have to recharge them. You may not have budgeted for this unexpected, volatile cost, and it will vary based on how many turns each participant receives to extinguish the fire. The fire safety courses offered by Total Fire & Safety use high-tech, virtual simulators to practice extinguishing fires, which are versatile and allow more practice for each participant. These simulators feature virtual fire on a screen that responds realistically to the participant’s motions with the fire extinguisher. The indoor training gives each person multiple attempts with a full extinguisher every time until they feel confident with their firefighting skill.  Compared to outdoor training, simulated training is more cost effective, accurate, completely green, and requires no messy clean-up or permit fees.

    So before booking a company to perform fire safety training for your employees, ask these questions to make sure you receive your money’s worth for your employees and your business. No one can predict how an emergency will unfold, but the right training company can make sure your employees are not only prepared to fight a fire, but are adept at making quick decisions about whether or not it is safe to do  so. For more information, contact the professionals at Total Fire & Safety at 630-960-5060.


  6. 5 Things Businesses Should Know About Fire Extinguishers

    August 18, 2015 by Total Fire and Safety

    1. There are different types of extinguishers for different fires. Make sure the fire extinguisher types in your building are the right type for the kind of fire that may happen, depending on the materials present in your business.

    2. To use a fire extinguisher, remember PASS. This acronym will walk you through the steps of using a fire extinguisher:

     – Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle
        pointing away from you, and release the locking
        mechanism.
      – Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
      – Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
      – Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

    3. Fire extinguishers must be inspected by a licensed fire protection company on a monthly basis. This is an NFPA requirement. Total Fire and Safety has a 12-point fire extinguisher check that thoroughly assesses each portable fire extinguisher unit.

    4. Fire extinguishers should be installed near exits. This will allow you to stay safely near an exit when using the extinguisher. If you do use it, keep a clear path to the exit and face your back to that exit. Evacuating all personnel is always the priority if a fire breaks out, so make sure you and everyone with you is within safe distance of an exit before attempting to extinguish the fire.

    5. Employee training services are available. Total Fire & Safety has comprehensive training courses on many safety topics and fire equipment, such as CPR, machine safeguarding, emergency preparedness, and many others. They offer OSHA and AHA compliance courses in these topics also.

    For more information about fire extinguishers in businesses, you can contact Total Fire and Safety at 630-960-5060.