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  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. 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.


  4. 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.


  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. 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!


  8. 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.


  9. What is Fire Extinguisher Maintenance?

    September 4, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    Walk into any building and you’re sure to see a fire extinguisher hanging somewhere on a wall, and although it doesn’t look it, that extinguisher requires maintenance. It does more than just sit idly until a dire situation calls for its immediate use. Most people overlook these crucial pieces of safety equipment—often to the point of not even knowing anything about it. Think about the fire extinguisher in your home or office—do you know if it is fully charged? Do you know if you will be able to depend on it to successfully extinguish a flame if the need arises?

    This is why the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires that that all portable fire extinguishers be inspected on a monthly basis (NFPA 10, Section 6.2.1) and maintained by a licensed fire protection company on an annual basis. (NFPA 10, Section 6.3.1)

    We take fire extinguisher maintenance seriously at Total Fire and Safety, and perform rigorous inspections of fire safety equipment, including our 12-point portable fire extinguisher service check. People often ask us what goes into inspecting a fire extinguisher, so we’ve decided to share our technicians’ exhaustive process:

    An inspection begins the moment we walk inside the door. At this point we already have all our tools and materials in hand to perform a proper inspection of the facility. To begin our process of fire extinguisher maintenance, we walk throughout the facility, ensuring all fire extinguishers are properly located and easily accessible. If there is not a clear path to an extinguisher, we may ask the customer to move any obstructions (We are not able to move any obstructions ourselves due to liability reasons).

    We check that the extinguisher is charged and ensure it is the correct type for your facility’s hazards. For example, a kitchen requires a different type of extinguisher (or even a fire suppression system) than a server room. We verify that it will work for the type of fire which may occur in that area. In addition, we check the gauge and carefully weigh the extinguisher to ensure its pressure is in the proper range.

    We perform a visual inspection and check such data as manufacture date and past fire extinguisher maintenance. We look for any signs of damage or any other reasons the extinguisher may need to be removed from service. We also check to see if maintenance is due. In some cases, extinguishers that have been dented have been tested and returned to service. We look for any markings to confirm this. One key aspect of proper fire extinguisher maintenance is communication between inspectors. All relevant information about the fire extinguisher’s maintenance history should be legible, so that any future inspectors know what we know.

    We inspect and test the extinguisher’s hardware, such as the hose, pin, handle, and lever. We remove the hose from the extinguisher and ensure it is not clogged or damaged. If so, we attempt to remove the clog. If we cannot fully clear the hose or if it is damaged, we replace the hose entirely. We also ensure the pin, handle, and lever are not bent or damaged in any other way.

    Finally, we check the bracket, clean the extinguisher, and place a new inspection tag on it. . Before hanging the extinguisher back up, we ensure the mounting bracket is the correct type for the extinguisher, and that it’s not damaged or incorrectly installed. We then wipe off any dirt, grime, etc., and make sure the gauge is legible. Our last step is to return the extinguisher to the bracket and apply a new inspection tag with the date we performed the inspection and the extinguisher type punched into it.

    While fire extinguisher maintenance is a rather straightforward procedure, it is crucial that it is performed diligently and properly, as all these devices may be counted on to save lives at a moment’s notice. We strongly recommend that everyone’s fire extinguishers be inspected on a routine basis by qualified professionals. If you have any questions about the condition of your fire safety equipment, or if your facility is due for an inspection, please contact us at 630.960.5060.


  10. 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.