fire

Standpipes: How to perform your weekly maintenance check

NFPA 25, Standard for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems, requires that a standpipe system be visually inspected on a regular basis.

 

If your building or facility has multiple levels or a large area such as an enclosed shopping mall then you may have a standpipe system. This water based fire system is an integral part of your building’s fire and safety design as it can supply the building’s sprinkler system and allows firefighters to hook up fire hoses directly on the level where a fire is occurring.

There are different types of standpipes, some may have water in them while others are dry and need to be hooked to a water supply for use; some  standpipes have enough pressure from the water supply to work on their own, while others need the help of a fire department pumper truck.

Pictured above is one example of a stand pipe with a 2 ½” hose vale. These vales should be checked weekly for damage, leaks, or missing caps.

 

What you need to do:
No matter what type you have, it is important to inspect your standpipe weekly for:

  • Signs of physical damage or leakage.
  • Make sure all control valves are in place.
  • Check for dry rot on the hose and cap gaskets.
  • Check for proper labels on equipment.
  • Make sure equipment is accessible – not blocked by boxes or other items.
  • Gauges on dry, pre-action, and deluge valves for standpipes should be inspected for normal air and water pressure; automatic standpipes can be inspected monthly.

Prevent Problemsstandpipe hose
The most common problems found with standpipes are related to housekeeping – keep your standpipes in good working order by keeping the area around the standpipe and valves cleaned and painted in order to prevent corrosion. Standpipes are commonly in need of maintenance for leaking valves, missing caps or handles, and damaged devices – all of which you will be able to see on your weekly checks so it can be fixed right away, before the problem escalates!

Your weekly checks should find any emergency maintenance problems, your required semi-annual and annual inspections will test the system thoroughly for issues you would not be able to see in your weekly checks. At the semi-annual inspection, your alarm devices, valve supervisory devices, and supervisory signal devices will be tested. In addition to these, the annual inspection will test the hose nozzles, hose storage devices and main drain.

Every 3 to 5 years, inspections will include a pressure test on hoses; testing of control valves, pressure-reducing valves and system flow; dry standpipe system piping, hydrostatic test; and a full flow test. Your inspector will lubricate and operate all valves and hose connections to ensure everything is working properly and they will remove the hoses from racks to reload them in order to keep them in good working order.

Read more about Standpipes, the different types, required inspections, and more in our Standpipe Systems Ebook. A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Greg Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Need Fire Extinguisher Training in the Workplace

If the proper fire extinguisher is used correctly and promptly, more than 90% of fires are extinguishable.

Ask your employees where the nearest fire extinguisher is. Most informal polls have found that less than 25% of employees are able to locate the nearest fire extinguisher in their workplace from memory. If you could make sure you and your employees were prepared in the event of a fire, why wouldn’t you?

In addition to safety, companies that provide fire extinguisher training for their staff usually have a better insurance rating. If that’s not enough reason to hold fire extinguisher training for your workplace, check out the OSHA minimum requirement that employers provide their staff with the basic knowledge of how to use an extinguisher and the hazards of early stage fires. (Occupational Health and Safety Administration; 1910.157(g))

So, properly training your staff on fire safety keeps your employees and property safe, and keeps money in your pocket.

 

What to include in your workplace fire extinguisher training:

  1. Common fire hazards in the workplace include:

* Waste & Combustible material storage,

* Flammable liquids and vapors,

* Dust build-up in enclosed spaces with heat generating devices (think, Data Room),

* Objects that generate heat (such as electrical equipment and machinery) being left on for extended periods of time,

* Faulty electrical equipment,

* Overloading power sockets,

* Smoking (you think it won’t happen, but it did at A1 and it can at your workplace too!), and

* Human negligence.

 

  1. Selecting the proper fire extinguisher. Did you know there are different extinguishers for different areas – kitchen, data room, etc??

A – ordinary combustible; B – flammable or combustible liquids; C – electrical equipment; D – combustible metals; and K – cooking oils

  1. Where fire extinguishers should be located.

Check your workplace for the materials listed above and make sure the appropriate fire extinguisher is nearby. Dependent on the type of extinguisher, there is a specific distance it should be placed from the hazard: 75 ft. for ABC, as long as there is an extinguisher within 50 ft. of a B hazard; 50 ft for D; 30 ft for K.

  1. Review your fire escape plan in the event of a larger fire.

According to the Ohio Fire Code, your company should have a fire escape plan. If not, take a few minutes to write one down and ensure everyone knows how to respond in the event of an emergency. The Ohio Fire Code also specifies what information should be included in a company’s fire escape plan – be on the lookout for a future A1 blog on what to include (and maybe even a handy template!)

  1. How to use a fire extinguisher.

Review the P.A.S.S. method here.

Fire extinguisher training will provide your employees, as well as yourself, with a basic knowledge of how fires start, how they grow, and how to use the proper fire extinguisher in order to reduce injury, risk, and loss in the workplace.  Additionally, your company should have a properly outlined fire escape plan in the event of a larger fire that cannot be fought with extinguishers. By understanding these things, along with what fire hazards are in the workplace and where fire extinguishers are best positioned, your staff will feel confident to act accordingly in a stressful situation such as a fire.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198. Check out our Workplace Fire Extinguisher Training!

Will Buchholz

Kitchen Hood Systems Simplified

Cooking is the leading cause of death and destruction from fires in the U.S. Cooking fires account for $16.4 million in property damage annually. Additionally, cooking was the leading cause of fire in all healthcare facilities (nursing home, hospital, mental health facility, clinic or doctors office) according to NFPA US Structure Fires in Health Care Properties Fact Sheet (download it here). Keeping up with your required kitchen hood system inspections is an important part of protecting lives and your facility.

Kitchen hood suppression systems are designed, tested, and approved to provide fire protection for commercial kitchen cooking appliances, hoods, and ducts.

Kitchen hood systems have an efficient, automatic detector response that acts fast to suppress flames. Kitchen hood systems eliminate the need for a constant supply of the suppressing agent and manual shut off of the appliance’s gas and electric, while blocking any danger of a violent reaction that may spread flame or spill cooking oil.

Facilities that should have kitchen hood systems:

  • Gourmet Restaurants
  • Sports Complexes
  • Fast-Food Chains
  • Retail Food Courts
  • Convenience Stores
  • Hotel Kitchens
  • Diners
  • School Cafeterias
  • Food Service Kitchens

Kitchen hood systems will extinguish fires caused by the following:

  • Deep Fryers
  • Ranges
  • Griddles
  • Char-Broilers
  • Woks
  • Upright Boilers
  • Chain-Broilers
  • Filters
  • Plenum Chambers
  • Hoods
  • Ducts

How Do Kitchen Hood Systems Work?

When a fire starts in a protected area, heat sensitive links activate the kitchen hood system. The system stops the cooking appliance’s gas and electric supply. An extinguishing agent releases through nozzles and onto the appliances, plenum and duct.

At the first sign of fire, remember to evacuate the building and call 911. Stand by with a K class extinguisher just in case the system fails to act or a re-flash occurs.

Types of Restaurant Fire Suppression Systems

Wet Chemical Systems

Wet chemical systems are the most commonly used kitchen hood system. The wet chemical agent suppresses fire by cooling and reacting chemically to produce a foam layer on the grease. The foam seals combustible vapors, stopping the flames from re-igniting.

Dry Chemical Systems

Dry chemical systems were used to extinguish flammable liquid fires involving live electrical equipment. Dry chemical interrupts the chemical reaction of fire by removing the oxygen from the source. When the multipurpose dry chemical is discharged, the agent leaves a residue on the burning material. The residue seals the material from the oxygen to suffocate the fire. Unfortunately, because deep fryers are much more insulated than in the past, dry chemical systems are not capable of extinguishing kitchen fires. UL 300 Systems are recommended as a good replacement for dry chemical kitchen hood systems.

UL 300 Wet System

UL 300 systems use wet chemicals to smother the fire (like dry chems) and to prevent re-ignition by cooling the flammable liquids (unlike dry chems). The UL 300 standard represents the heightened suppression innovation to accommodate new, hotter cooking methods and is currently the most effective way to suppress a kitchen hood fire. If you are due to change your kitchen hood system soon, most states will require you to update to a UL 300 system.

Living and Caring for Your Restaurant Fire Suppression System

Have a certified kitchen hood system professional inspect your kitchen hood system every 6-months and immediately after any major hood/duct cleaning. The system should be inspected overall and tested to verify that it is fully operational. Keep in mind that menu, preparation, and layout may require an update to your system. Any updates, again, require a professional.

While a professional should service, test, inspect, recharge or repair a system, NFPA asks system owners to perform a monthly inspection. This inspection is for visible problems with the kitchen hood system.

Check the following during your monthly visual inspection:

  • The extinguishing system is in its proper location.
  • The manual actuators are unobstructed.
  • The tamper indicators and seals are intact.
  • The maintenance tag or certificate is in place.
  • No obvious physical damage or condition exists that might prevent operation.
  • The pressure gauge(s), if provided, is in operable range.
  • The nozzle blow-off caps are intact and undamaged.
  • The hood, duct, and protected cooking appliances have not been replaced, modified, or relocated.

Supplement Your Kitchen Hood System

K-Class fire extinguishers are used to protect against kitchen hazards without leaving residue. These extinguishers are a great supplement to kitchen hood systems and should be present in any commercial cooking environment.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Will Buchholz

Are You Sprinkler Savvy or Sprinklerstitous?

Sprinkler Savvy or Sprinklerstitious? Take This Test to Find Out.

There’s a lot of misinformation about fire sprinkler systems out there. Do you have the right information, or are you sprinklerstitious too?

Answer true or false to these statements. Scroll down for the answers and explanations to see how much you know!

1. Water damage from a sprinkler system costs more than the fire damage it prevents

2. Only one or two sprinkler heads go off when there’s a fire.

3. All you need is a smoke detector to save lives.

4. Sprinklers were designed to protect property, not so much lives.

5. Sprinklers don’t add too much additional cost to construction projects.

6. New buildings are much safer than older buildings.

7. Sprinkler systems can work fine in freezing temperatures.

8. Smoke detectors don’t set sprinklers off.

9. Smoke detectors will not put out a fire.

10. Most insurance companies value the use of fire sprinkler systems.

True or False Sprinkler Test Answers.

1. False. Water damage from a sprinkler will be much less severe than fire damage. Think of it this way, would you rather have your building get a little wet or let it burn to the ground.

2. True. Contrary to Hollywood portrayals, each sprinkler is individually activated. Only those affected by heat at 165 degrees will activate.

3. False. Smoke detectors save lives in offering a warning to get out. For people that have trouble moving, like the elderly, a sprinkler system will put out a fire early and keep everyone safe.

4. False. Sprinklers will protect both lives and property. In fact, statistics show that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a fully sprinklered building.

5. True. Sprinklers costs about 1-2% of the total construction costs. They are comparable to carpet costs, paved driveways, or adding a whirlpool bath.

6. False. Newer construction techniques make a facility much more susceptible to fire. You can learn more information from NFPA here.

7. True. With the right equipment, sprinkler systems will work fine in cold temperatures. You may need a dry pipe or preaction system as an alternative to water filled pipes.

8. True. Detectors are there to sense a fire and talk back to the panel. The panel will sound an alarm and notify the necessary parties to handle the emergency. Detectors will not set off the sprinklers.

9. False. Again, detectors offer warning, but will not put out any fires. You need some sort of suppression equipment for that.

10. True. Insurance companies will sometimes lower the value of your premiums and some are leading advocates for sprinkler systems.

So, are you sprinkler savvy, or sprinklerstitous? Do you have more questions? Click here to contact us.

 

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds