Author: Mick Van Kampen
A Pleasant Thank You
Fire Prevention Week
This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” represents the final year of our three-year effort to educate the public about basic but essential elements of smoke alarm safety.
Why focus on smoke alarms three years in a row? Because NFPA’s survey data shows that the public has many misconceptions about smoke alarms, which may put them at increased risk in the event of a home fire. For example, only a small percentage of people know how old their smoke alarms are, or how often they need to be replaced.
As a result of those and related findings, we’re addressing smoke alarm replacement this year with a focus on these key messages:
- Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
- Make sure you know how old all the smoke alarms are in your home.
- To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.
Hydrogen Creates Unique Challenges for Fire Protection
All Things Hydrogen, a recent article published by the NFPA, author Nick Barilo described the growth of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source and the challenges it poses for the fire protection industry.
As the world seeks to find alternative sources of energy, those in the fire protection and life safety industries must be constantly vigilant in providing our customers with the information they need to protect their employees and assets from the fires associated with these newly identified sources. Hydrogen is a flammable gas at atmospheric conditions and diffuses rapidly in air and through materials not normally considered porous. Early market applications for this rapidly growing alternative energy source include vehicle fueling, material handling equipment, backup power for warehouses and telecommunication sites, and portable power devices. As this technology continues to gain acceptance, additional applications are also developing.
While the concept of using hydrogen in a variety of industrial processes is not new, using it as a fuel source creates unique challenges. The proper handling of the gas is critical and any emergency situation requires proper fire protection equipment. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a code to address the unique nature of hydrogen-related fire protection. NFPA 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code was released in 2011.
For more information on hydrogen related fire protection, see this latest article from the NFPA. Click here.
USCG Warns of Counterfeit Portable Fire Extinguishers
Boating season is upon us! It seems like we have waited so long for winter to come to an end. This is a reminder to be vigilant when purchasing fire safety products that protect your vessel(s). There have been a number of confirmed counterfeit portable fire extinguishers discovered in use that bear brand names like Amerex and Buckeye. This warning from the United States Coast Guard bears repeating for water enthusiasts everywhere. As an industry-leading distributor of high quality fire protection products, Reliable Fire Equipment wants to advise its customers of the significant safety hazard associated with the use of these counterfeit extinguishers.
Their capability to extinguish a fire is unproven: they may be charged with a powdery substance that is not a fire extinguishing agent, the pressure cylinder is not DOT approved, and the pressure gauge may not function or give false readings. This poses a significant hazard in the event of a fire.
The attached press release provides in-depth information on what you can look for to determine whether a portable fire extinguisher is counterfeit. “At this time, the Coast Guard believes that the counterfeit production is not limited to Amerex Corporation and Buckeye Fire Equipment. There was also mention of a possible case involving Badger portable fire extinguishers.”
Vessel owners/operators are encouraged to inspect their equipment. If you suspect that you have identified a counterfeit extinguisher, please contact the Coast Guard Office of Design and Engineering Standards. Additional information is included in the release.
Reliable Fire Equipment Company Hosts Life Safety & Security Seminar
Reliable Fire Equipment Company invites you to join us on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 for our Annual Life Safety & Security Seminar set to take place at The Carlisle in Lombard, IL. We have invited industry experts to present information and updates on several important Life Safety and Security topics.
We are excited to welcome Mr. Chuck Wilson, Executive Director of the National Systems Contractors Association to provide the Keynote Address about the benefits of Systems Integration. This presentation will incorporate information about the value that businesses can recognize through integration of their life safety and security systems.
Schedule of Events
Morning Session 8:30 to Noon
- Mass Notification
- Video Surveillance
- Life Safety Insurance Audit
- Key Note: Chuck Wilson – Executive Director – National Systems Contractors Association
Lunch – Noon
Afternoon Session 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
- OSHA – New Compliance Expectations
- Customer Appreciation Prizes
Study Finds that People Use Fire Extinguishers Effectively
In a recent study at Eastern Kentucky University, it was determined that an ordinary person, one who has not had any fire training background, can use a portable fire extinguisher with great effectiveness. However, the results improved further when the participants in the study were given some proper training regarding the proper technique.
The proper technique for the use of a portable fire extinguisher is:
Pull the pin from the fire extinguisher
Aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire
Squeeze the top handle or lever
Sweep from side to side until the fire is completely out
This study demonstrates how a person with proper training on the use of a fire extinguisher can be effective at extinguishing a fire in its incipient stages. Download a copy of this study here.
UL Standard 2802 Gives Customers Insight to Differences in Digital Cameras
Video surveillance is on of the fastest growing industries. According to a recent publication by Underwriters Laboratories, “Video technology has been used to defeat potential acts of terrorism, in local law enforcement and fire protection activities, and in commercial and industrial security programs.” Customers looking for quality, high-resolution security cameras can be easily overwhelmed. A recent figure estimates that video surveillance products and systems account for approximately 10 billion dollars annually.
Customers are looking for cameras with the greatest number of megapixels, best resolution, lowest distortion and fastest processors. Manufacturers have flooded the market with a large selection to meet those needs. This has made the choice of selecting the best camera for the specific application even more difficult. However, UL Standard 2802 was designed for Performance Testing of Camera Image Quality and establishes a quantitative benchmark that can be sued to compare critical parameters related to camera image quality.
Using UL 2802, cameras are assessed to nine image quality attributes including:
- Image resolution
- TV distortion
- Relative illumination
- Maximum frame rate
- Veiling glare
- Dynamic range
- Grey level
- Bad pixel
The rating process for cameras uses a quantitative rating system, which translates these parameters into easily comparable numbers. The goal of this standard allows customers to better assess whether a certain camera will work for a particular situation.
The security professionals at Reliable Fire Equipment Company work with the latest technology and participate in several manufacturers and industry training events to keep up to date with the most advanced products and services. To read more about UL 2802, please visit this link.
Office of State Fire Marshal Sends Warning about Cold Weather and Sprinkler Pipes
The Midwest is not new to cold weather, but our recent string of temperatures plummeting below zero has caused additional concerns for property owners and facilities managers. On Monday, January 27th, the Office of the State Fire Marshal in Illinois sent out a warning to remind building owners to take extra measures to prevent freeze-ups of water-based fire protection systems, such as automatic fire sprinklers. The water in the pipes could freeze causing the pipes to break or leak.
This warning reminds everyone of some simple steps to take to ensure that the water in these fire sprinkler pipes does not freeze. The National Fire Protection Association’s standard for buildings with fire sprinkler systems recommends that building owners maintain at least a 40 degree temperature in all areas that contain the water-filled piping. Below are a few additional measures to help prevent these freeze-ups.
- Make sure heating systems are in good working order in all areas of the building. Override any energy saving measures that might allow temperatures to drop below freezing.
- Openings to outdoor areas should be tightly sealed. Make sure doors and windows are shut tight and remove any snow and/or ice from these areas that prevent complete closing. Caulk or seal any cracks or openings.
- Leave doors open that lead to areas that are poorly heated to ensure warmer temperatures pass through into those areas.
- If you have a drop ceiling, remove a few tiles to allow warmer air to circulate in this area.
For more information about maintaining your sprinkler system during cold weather conditions, contact Reliable Fire and speak with one of our representatives today.
The full press release from the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal, please click here.
Reliable Fire Equipment Company Launches New Website and Focuses on Core Customers
Reliable Fire welcomes you to our new and improved website! Since 1955, Reliable Fire Equipment Company has developed a rich tradition of providing fire equipment protection and security systems to Chicagoland. Thousands of customers can attest to our high quality products and our superior customer service. We invite you to take a look at our newly designed site and hope that you will find it provides you with the information you need to make any decision you may have regarding fire protection and security.
It’s not enough these days to simply have a flashy website that people enjoy looking at. Reliable has been recognized as an industry leader both locally and nationally. We pride ourselves on helping to set the standard in terms of what we do. Reliable is dedicated to serving the needs of our industrial, institutional, commercial and residential customers, fire departments, and the community in terms of the latest in fire protection equipment and systems as well as security systems and service.
We invite you to visit our website often as we will continue to make improvements and updates that will have a direct impact on our customers. We strive to be the one and only source of information you will need in terms of keeping your employees, customers, residents and property safe. For years, our tagline has been: “One Call Does It All.”™ Coined by our founder Ernest Horvath, we continue to deliver services to our customers today and be their one source in order to save time and money.