Fire Extinguisher Requirements For Healthcare

Providing a safety standard for healthcare facilities can be challenging because healthcare facilities contain operating rooms that need to maintain a sterile environment and imaging rooms with sensitive equipment. Telecommunications rooms also require fire safety measures that will not destroy computers and other devices.

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) released 99 standards that were updated in 2018 to specify the required type of fire extinguisher to be used in different areas of healthcare facilities. Certain fire extinguishers can disrupt or destroy the functionality of some devices in healthcare facilities.

NFPA 99 standards clarify any that rooms that contain MRI scanners or other magnetic imaging devices must have non-conductive fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers for rooms with these devices must be non-ferrous, which means they are not affected by magnetic fields. MRI scanners run on extremely high voltages and generate very strong magnetic fields, making conductive fire extinguishers a potential risk.

NFPA 99 also requires that healthcare facilities must provide Type K portable fire extinguishers in areas where other fire extinguishers could negatively react to ingredients in cooking areas. Type K fire extinguishers don’t react to combustible cooking oils and fats. This measure has been included in kitchen fire protection safety standards for some time.  It has only recently extended to healthcare facilities. In addition, automatic fire suppression systems are also required to protect cooking appliances.

NFPA 99 also requires healthcare facilities to provide clean agent portable fire extinguishers for telecommunications equipment rooms. Clean agent fire extinguishers are non-conductive and gaseous fire extinguishers that do not leave a residue upon evaporation. The revised NFPA 99 standards require clean agent fire extinguishers because water fire extinguishers can destroy sensitive electronic equipment that stores information about patients and the hospital.

The revised standards also require operating rooms to use water-mist or clean agent portable fire extinguishers to maintain the required sterile environment of the room. 

If you would like more information on Suppression Systems for Health Care facilities, please call Reliable Fire & Security at 708.597.4600.   

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Keep Your Commercial Kitchen Safe

Deep Fryers

Deep fryers can quickly become a vat of fire fuel if proper precautions are not taken. The fire from your stovetop or range should be at least 16 inches from your friers. The fryers should be equipped with an automatic shut-off valve in case the unit catches on fire. This valve will stop the flow of combustible fuel from feeding the flames.

The Oven

Commercial ovens should be cleaned regularly for not only health safety but for fire protection as well due to a build-up of combustible substances. Make sure your oven is placed away from other equipment to avoid heat transfer from one to the other. 

Hood and Ventilation Systems

According to NFPA code 96, every commercial kitchen must have a hood and ventilation system to prevent fire. The hood and ventilation system should be cleaned and maintained often to prevent buildup from accumulating on the outside and inside of your system. Every vent should have a grease filter that should drain into a non-flammable container. The hood should cover your entire cooking station including the ovens and fryers. It should also be structurally sound and made of noncombustible material. These systems should be cleaned and maintained regularly to keep them free of greasy buildup. 

Trash Cans

Trash cans should be emptied regularly to prevent the accumulation of fire fodder and be kept at a safe distance from open flames. Every trash can should also be equipped with a sturdy lid to keep its contents from becoming fuel in the event of a fire.

Call Reliable Fire & Security at 708-597-4600 to help you keep your commercial kitchen safe from fires.

Fire Alarm Pull Stations

Manual pull stations generally fall into two main types, single-action, and dual-action. With a single-action alarm box, a person can activate the alarm by simply pulling the handle down. Dual-action alarm boxes require the user to perform two actions to activate the alarm. They may first need to lift the handle before pulling it down.  They may need to break a glass panel to access it. On all types, pulling down the handle completes the circuit and locks the handle in the activated position, which sends a notification to the fire alarm control panel to trigger the alarms.

Once a manual pull has been activated, it must be restored to its ready position. This requires a special tool, which is used to open the alarm station. Opening the alarm station allows the handle to revert to its ready position. Once this happens, the station is closed, which will allow the alarm to be reset from the fire alarm control panel.

The placement of fire alarm pull stations is critical to ensuring they provide the protection intended. The requirements for their placement are intended to ensure that occupants leaving any area of the building can quickly and easily find and pull the alarm to warn others of the emergency on their way out and must be accessible for those who may have disabilities.

Manual fire alarm boxes must be tested annually per the manufacturer’s instructions. Annual testing is required by NFPA 72 also. This testing is typically done as part of a more comprehensive testing of the fire alarm system, which is also required annually.

If you would like to have your Fire Alarm Pull Station tested, or installed, call Reliable Fire & Security at 708.597.4600.  

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Common Industrial Fire Hazards

Industrial and Manufacturing Properties

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports electrical and lighting malfunctions as the top causes of structural fires in industrial properties. Heating equipment leads the list as the cause of structure fires in manufacturing facilities. These facilities are also at an increased risk of fire due to the storage of combustible materials and the use of flammable liquids and gasses. It’s vital to store flammable and combustible materials away from potential ignition sources.

Hotels and Motel Fires

Commercial Kitchen equipment is the #1 cause of fires in Hotels and Motels.  Kitchen fires caused approximately 50% of all motel and hotel fires, making them the primary cause.

Healthcare Fire

Fires at hospitals and healthcare facilities can be caused by several different sources. Faulty electrical wiring, improper storage of combustibles and flammables, and heat-producing equipment are all major causes. Like many other industries, cooking is the primary cause of fires in medical facilities, accounting for approximately 60% percent of all fires. Electrical and equipment malfunctions are major contributors.

Gas and Oil Industry  

Improper hot-work practices, the ignition of flammable liquids from a generator, and malfunctioning electrical motors are the leading causes of fire in the oil and gas industry. From welding operations to a vehicle’s catalytic converters, there are so many sources for ignition in this industry. Sparks from machinery can cause explosions from igniting flammable gases and vapors.

Call Reliable Fire & Security at 708.597.4600 to make sure your business is properly protected against fires.

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Dry Fire Sprinkler Systems

Need to add a sprinkler system to part of your building but concerned about freezing temperatures? A dry pipe sprinkler system will provide the coverage you need without the risk of burst pipes. 

A wet pipe sprinkler system is the most common form of fire protection.  However, they cannot be used in temperatures of 40 degrees F. and below. The standard way to add a fire sprinkler system to exposed building areas such as an open garage, freezer storage, or unheated spaces is to install a dry pipe sprinkler system.

A dry pipe sprinkler system contains pressurized air instead of water.  The sprinkler head is activated during a fire, causing the air pressure to drop. This removes the pressure from the valve, which releases the water into the pipes.

Dry pipe sprinklers are used in applications where you can’t protect pipes from freezing temperatures.  A minimal amount of water frozen inside the pipe can plug the fire sprinklers main feed and prevent the valve from tripping during a fire.

If you would like more information on Fire Sprinkler Systems, call Reliable Fire & Security at 708.597.4600

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The Importance of Kitchen Suppression Systems

For fires to survive, three things must be in place; fuel, oxygen, and heat. Like a fire sprinkler system, the kitchen hood suppression system gets activated when it detects flames or excessive heat. When the system is activated, it discharges wet chemicals through the sprinkler heads. These nozzles are over the appliances and in the ventilation system over the hood of your cooking station. The wet chemicals quickly put out fires by covering the flame and depriving it of oxygen.

Kitchen hood suppression systems also come with a manual pull station that allows the kitchen staff to activate it when the system does not sense the heat of a fire early enough. The hood fire suppression system will also cut off the power to the appliances and outlets under the hood to eliminate any shock hazards or sparks that could ignite another fire. To deplete the fire of its fuel, the suppression system will also shut off the gas to all appliances. This method helps to stop fires in the kitchen without allowing them to spread to other areas.

Kitchen fires are dangerous and can quickly get out of control. It is important that hood fire suppression systems are in all restaurants and commercial kitchens. It serves as a safety measure to help keep fires under control. The system helps to put out fires without shutting down the entire operation of the kitchen.

Reliable Fire & Safety can help you with your Kitchen suppression systems. Call us at 708.597.4600 and visit us on the web to see a complete list of services we provide at 

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Panic Buttons

In today’s world, in just about any business, there is a chance that an angry or unstable customer, disgruntled employee, someone with a mental illness, or a thief will cause or threaten violence in a commercial establishment. Installation of a panic button is a great way to potentially diminish this danger.

A panic button is a strategically placed or hidden button that automatically alerts police to an emergency situation. These buttons are usually placed in a discreet location, like just under the lip of a desk or retail counter. It’s important to place buttons in locations where employees will likely be at the time of a situation. When a robber yells “freeze” an employee should be able to hit the button quickly and discreetly. Law enforcement in the area will be dispatched to your location immediately.

If you would like more information about Panic Buttons for your facility, call Reliable Fire & Security at 708.597.4600

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Fire Code Deficiencies

When you are running a business, it’s easy to forget about things like your building’s fire protection systems. The importance of adhering to fire code  can never be underestimated. They not only ensure that those in a workplace or home are safe, but they also make sure that insurance policies on a building are not compromised.

Here is a list of several common fire code violations that can be easily avoided:

Fire Extinguishers 

All fire extinguishers in a building or place of work should be regularly inspected and maintained.

EXIT Signs

All exit signs must be illuminated and placed in positions where they are easy to notice should an emergency occur. Any bulbs that burn out must be replaced.

Extension Cords 

In commercial facilities, extension cords are either prohibited or are only allowed to be used temporarily. Extension cables must not be connected and should never be attached to permanent fixtures or pass-through holes in walls.


Electrical control boxes of any type must have a clearance diameter of at least 36 inches. Placing furniture, equipment, or any other obstruction in access areas to electrical sources is a common fire code violation that can be easily remedied.

Combustibles Stacked Too High 

Sprinkler heads must have a clearance of 18” from any materials, and buildings without sprinklers must have a 24” clearance to the ceiling.

Rated Enclosures

Any rated enclosures (examples: doors, furnaces, water heaters, wires, etc.), must not have any holes in them.

Fire Doors

Fire doors can help to contain heat and smoke in the event of a fire. They include doors in stairwells, between offices and warehouses or shops, and doors leading to storage, electrical, or laundry rooms. Any damage to these doors must be repaired immediately. The doors must also be able to close and latch by themselves. Leaving fire doors wedged open to promote easy access or exit points to a building is prohibited.

Blocked Exit Paths

Hallways, stairwells, doors, and other means of leaving your building must be clear of obstructions. Never store combustible items or materials in exit paths. Keep doors to hallways and stairways closed; this prevents smoke and fire from entering escape routes.

Blocked Fire Protection Devices 

Fire alarm panels, sprinkler heads, standpipe connections, and any other components of your fire protection system must remain easily accessible and free from storage at all times.

Blocked Fire Department Connections and Fire Lanes

Outside, make sure nothing blocks critical areas of your building.

Covered Electrical Outlets – Any significant electrical outlet must remain covered. This applies to junction boxes, circuit breaker panels, and any type of outlet box.

Fire Alarms

All alarm systems must be tested regularly with a written record of the tests kept. These tests can include but are not exclusive to, alarm boxes, batteries, and sound devices.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors provide another common fire code violation. Homeowners and businesses are obliged to ensure that all smoke detectors have charged batteries and be in full working order.

Self-Closing Devices

All fire doors must be fitted with a suitable self-closing device and these must be regularly maintained to ensure they are in good working order.

Storage of Flammable Materials

There are limitations to the kind of flammable materials that may be stored, their quantities, and their locations. Contact your building inspector to find out the specific regulations for your area.

The Fire Code mandates periodic fire and life safety inspections of commercial-type occupancies. This inspection is performed to prevent and/or limit the severity of fires. I

If deficiencies are noted during the inspection the Fire Prevention Bureau will schedule a reinspection, allowing you adequate time to correct problems

Remember to call Reliable Fire & Security for all your Fire Protection and Security needs at 708.597.4600

Has your commercial structure had a Backflow Inspection?

Backflow assemblies can potentially fail without inspections. Deficiency can occur if there is any sediment or any kind of buildup inside the backflow assemblies. Even a very small piece of debris can damage the backflow assembly. This can lead to watersafety system from functioning properly. If backflow is occurring, t he systemate to the drinking water. An impaired assembly can prevent a fire safety system from functioning properly. If backflow is occurring, the system will not have enough water to function properly and could be insufficient to contain a fire. Not having a backflow inspection is in opposition to the NFPA25 Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. The standard states that the backflow assembly must be tested and inspected annually.

Reliable Fire & Security can handle all of the required paperwork for backflow inspections, testing, and maintenance for you. Never let a backflow inspection date pass by without having your backflow assembly inspected. Backflow inspections are a part of building provision and must be included in your maintenance routine to ensure that your building is safe and secure. Call us to schedule your Backflow inspection at 708.597.4600 and visit our website for our complete list of services at #firesafety#fireprotection#firealarm#firesprinklersystems#security#CCTV#cardaccess#onecalldoesitall#womenownedbusiness

Condemed Fire Extinguishers

A properly maintained fire extinguisher has the potential to last up to 20 years or more. But in some cases, it is safer and more cost-effective to simply replace the unit rather than continue servicing it, especially if it has not been properly maintained over the years or has seen better days.

Business owners are required to have their portable fire extinguishers professionally inspected once per year. They are also required to perform internal maintenance every 5,6, or 12 years depending on the equipment type. A fire protection professional will be able to easily recognize the signs that it’s time for a fire extinguisher replacement.

Here are some of the signs that it is time to replace your portable fire extinguishers:

  • Damage to the Cylinder including visible signs of physical damage, such as dents, corrosion, or leakage.
  • If the instructions for operating the extinguisher can no longer be read, the unit needs to be replaced.
  • Excessive Damage to the Components including broken or loose handles, damaged hoses, etc.
  • A humid or corrosive environment can lead to rust, which in turn can cause important components to break, become inoperable, or worse lead to serious safety issues such as cylinder rupture.
  • If your fire extinguisher fails a hydrostatic test performed by a fire protection professional, the unit will need to be condemned. Hydrostatic testing measures the integrity of the fire extinguisher’s cylinder, which is under constant pressure.
  • Over time, a fire extinguisher can become obsolete. If you know or suspect that your fire extinguisher is old and you’re not sure when it was last inspected, have a fire protection professional take a look.
  • Fire extinguishers protect against specific hazards. Over time these hazards may change, requiring a reevaluation of protection and the replacement of current fire protection equipment. The replacement should be an extinguisher that is appropriate for the new hazard potential.

Even the most well-maintained fire extinguishers will deteriorate to an unsafe condition eventually. Make sure you have your fire extinguishers checked on an annual basis to ensure your safety in the event of a fire. Call Reliable Fire & Security at 708.597.4600 to schedule your inspection or stop by our will call for service. Visit us on the web at for our location, hours, and complete list of services.