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The fire sprinkler system in your building is a critical safety measure and, when needed, it can save lives. Still, even the best systems can malfunction, and sprinklers do occasionally fail. When they do, they can drench the interior of your building, damaging everything from furniture and personal belongings to drywall and building materials. As a property manager, dealing with fire sprinkler failure can feel overwhelming. What do you do next? Where do you start? And why did the sprinkler system fail in the first place? In this post, we’ll discuss the common causes of accidental discharge, and what to do if it happens to you. Reasons for Fire Sprinkler Systems Failure Today, all building fire sprinkler systems must meet NFPA 13 standards. These National Fire Protection Association benchmarks define safety requirements for components and installation, and help ensure that sprinkler systems are well maintained and ready to perform. Still, fire sprinkler systems can fail. Here are a few of the most common culprits: Aging parts Building renovations (collisions with construction equipment, displacement or disturbance, etc.) Incorrectly placed heating systems that activate sprinklers Vulnerable pipes that freeze and cause sprinkler heads to burst Corrosion Fire sprinkler malfunctions can be incredibly problematic, causing extensive damage to your building Regardless of what causes the sprinklers to discharge accidentally, fire sprinkler malfunctions can be incredibly problematic, causing extensive damage to your building and requiring costly repairs from a water damage repair contractor. 5 Things to do if Your Sprinklers Fail There are no flames in your building, but your sprinklers are soaking everything in sight. You have to move quickly to avoid even more damage. Stay calm and follow these five steps: Get everyone out Even if there’s not an active fire in the building, water poses its own set of dangers. To avoid problematic slip and fall conditions, get everyone out of the area immediately. Move them to a safe location outside the building, preferably one you’ve agreed on in a previously established evacuation plan. Shut off electrical equipment Water and electricity are a deadly combination. To avoid electrical shocks, shut off all nearby electrical equipment and appliances, and then, turn off the building’s main power supply, as you exit the building. Turn off the water main Instead of wasting time shutting off broken sprinkler heads individually, go to the building’s main water supply immediately and shut it off at the valve. This will stop all water flow and prevent additional water damage. Take photos of the scene Once it’s safe to re-enter the building, document the scene. Use your smartphone to take photos of broken sprinkler heads or anything else you believe may have caused the accidental discharge. Additionally, take photos of the damage the sprinklers caused to floors, walls, personal belongings, and more. These photos can help response specialists understand the cause of the malfunction and may streamline your insurance claims process. Contact a restoration specialist Even if your water damage looks minimal, you’ll need to contact a skilled water damage restoration expert, like the Chicago-based maintenance and service company, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. Accidental sprinkler discharges soak drywall, destroy carpets and textiles, and lead to dangerous mold and mildew growth, which can happen just 24-48 hours after water exposure. Prevent worsening damage and the dangerous conditions by contacting a sprinkler repair specialist right away. Cleanup and water damage restoration services Using your documentation, your insurance company will work to determine the cause of the sprinkler failure Using your documentation, your insurance company will work to determine the cause of the sprinkler failure. This can be a lengthy process that takes weeks or even months. As that happens, your cleanup team will focus on providing water damage restoration services. Typically, fire sprinkler water damage involves ‘blackwater’- a dangerous mixture of sediments and other contaminants that leave behind an unpleasant smell and a film that can destroy belongings. To reclaim your space, the water damage restoration service will focus on extracting the remaining water, drying the space to prevent mold and mildew formation, and decontaminating all surfaces. This is a critical step that you can’t afford to rush. Work with the best water damage cleanup company you can find to ensure positive results. Protecting Your Sprinkler Systems in the Future While it’s impossible to completely avoid every accidental discharge, there are certain steps you can take to safeguard your sprinkler system. Proper maintenance, for example, allows you to avoid preventable issues that could lead to malfunction. You should also take care to keep all remodeling and construction work away from sprinkler heads and systems to avoid accidental damage. These are simple tips, but they can help keep your building and tenants safe and dry - both now and in the future.
Within traditional commercial and industrial firefighting systems, engineers have primarily focused on permanent installation designs rather than entertaining alternative or supplemental mobile firefighting systems. Permanent installation design is typically better understood, supported, and supplied throughout the fire protection engineering and manufacturing community. However, mobile firefighting systems provide unique solutions and advantages compared to their permanent installation cousins such as flexible deployment, simpler servicing, improved economy, and much higher performance availability. The combination of both systems is frequently the most strategic solution for the facility operator. Limitations of fixed installation systems Permanent installation (fixed) systems include everything from sprinklers, foam systems, primary watermain pumps, and the plethora of piping in between. A large refinery complex will need to address various hazard mitigation and control problems that span both hardware and personnel needs. In the event standard hazard mitigation safety procedures and equipment have failed, the facility immediately initiates a hazard control operation. Passive fixed systems automatically engage the hazard through an array of sensors, mechanical triggers, and control algorithms. A properly designed system with adequate hazard coverage, preplanning, preventative maintenance, and testing will successfully terminate the hazard, while firefighting personnel respond and ensure no further hazards develop. This conceptual approach relies on hardware and personnel all operating as planned…. Combining permanent and mobile apparatus “According to plan” would never have any failures or fires, but history has a different script. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard putting the entire response on human and mobile hardware resources. This would include but is not limited to firetrucks, mobile high-flow pumping systems, large mobile monitors, foam proportioning units, and large diameter layflat hose. This type of response escalates into a larger scale operation, sometimes involving agencies beyond the facility operator itself. Although a low probability event, the risk to life and property is significantly substantial. Fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage Reducing fire-related expenditureMore typical than the worst-case scenario, facilities experience both maintenance-related system downtimes and natural phenomena damage such as extreme weather and seismic events. In this case, fixed systems may be rendered inoperable due to the loss of electrical power or actual physical damage. In any of these situations, mobile fire apparatus may fill the gap requirements of the facility as their flexible storage and deployment would protect them from everything but the worst natural disasters. Their further benefit is that a smaller set of mobile apparatus resources may be used to protect a larger amount of infrastructure, especially while in use in a mutual-aid program between facilities and communities. According to the NFPA’s report “Total Cost of Fire in the United States”, fire-related damages and expenditures from 1980 to 2014 have risen from roughly $200B (adjusted for inflation to 2014) to nearly $330B. The greatest expenditure is in fire safety costs in building construction, amounting to $57.4B. Although the overall losses per year as a ratio to protection expenditures has dropped by roughly 70% over the past 30 years, petrochemical facility losses have continued to rise over the same time. In the worst-case petrochemical scenario, fixed systems fail to extinguish a hazard Petrochemical facility challenges According to the NFPA, refineries or natural gas plants had reported an average of 228 fires or explosions per year through the 1990s. Furthering this data with Marsh’s “100 Largest Losses, 25th edition”, refinery losses have continually expanded throughout the last two decades with 11 of the top 20 largest losses of the past 40 years happening during or after the year 2000. Two primary drivers of this trend are the advanced age of petrochemical facilities and their staggering complexity. As oil margins fall, upstream operational businesses are detrimentally affected by reduced investment in everything to new equipment, maintenance and passive safety systems. There is an observable correlation between a major oil price drop followed by upstream facility fire losses. Even with reduced investment and oil throughput growth rates, US refinery utilisation at the end 2017 was at 96.7%, the highest since 2005 (Marsh, The Impact of the Price of Oil). The short story is that systems and personnel are being asked to do more with less with each passing year. Cost-effective mobile apparatus systems Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardised designs and application methodology. They can access open water sources by either drafting (when in close proximity to the water) or using floating source pumps (for variable level or difficult access water sources). Mobile fire apparatus is generally more cost-effective to procure when using standardized designs and application methodology With this open water access, they can provide significantly more water (upwards of 10,000 GPM or more per system if necessary) than any typical fixed fire pumping solution. Moreover, as their primary benefit, they are easy to move and deploy. This benefit allows them to be utilised at the point of hazard as needed while being easily accessible for service. While fixed systems are installed at “every known” hazard and must be continually maintained to operate effectively, mobile systems may be used sitewide or across facilities. This flexibility reduces overall capital expenditure requirements and establishes a valuable primary and secondary firefighting system depending on the hazard and facility resources. Combining fixed and mobile systems Permanent installation fire suppression systems are a mainstay of modern day firefighting. They provide immediate passive response with little human intervention. However, as facility utilisation is pushed to maximum capacity while fixed systems continually age out without adequate replacement or maintenance, mobile systems will need to both fill the response gap and provide a final wall to total loss incidents. The reality is that both fixed and mobile systems need to work together to provide the safest possible operation. Service and training requirements need to also be maintained to manage an adequate, or even better, exemplary response to hazard control incidents. Managing major facility uptime requires continuous oversight and to drive hazard mitigation standards throughout the organisation, including executive management. A safe, reliable and fully-functional plant is also a profitable and cost-effective plant much like a healthy worker is a better worker. Protect your people and property and you will protecting your company’s future.
Unparalleled speed, ultimate control and battery management made easy: Holmatro launches a new series of high-tech cordless rescue tools, designed to outperform all other tools on the market, regardless of whether these are battery-powered or connected to an external pump by means of a hose. The Pentheon Series offers a much higher speed than other rescue equipment. This is thanks to a new and patented mechatronic system inside these tools. Maximized oil flow This system optimizes the motor and pump settings to deliver a maximized oil flow over the full pressure range. This system continuously optimizes the motor and pump settings to deliver a maximized oil flow over the full pressure range. Where all other rescue tools show a significant decrease in speed when switching to another stage to deal with higher loads, Holmatro Pentheon tools stick to the ideal stepless speed curve. Being much faster than previous generations of rescue tools Pentheon tools are equipped with a two-mode control handle for ultimate speed control. This enables rescuers, at any time during the rescue operation, to choose between the tools’ high-speed and low-speed modes. Within these modes, the speed is still proportional to how far one turns the control handle to its left or right. On-Tool Charging For Battery Battery on the tool has priority over the one on the charger, which will resume charging when the battery on the tool is 100% With Holmatro Pentheon tools battery management is as easy as just plugging it in. Thanks to On-Tool Charging one can charge the battery while it remains on the tool. This means one doesn’t need to swap batteries all the time. Simply connect the tool to the charger and the whole charging process will regulate itself. The battery on the tool always has priority over the one on the charger, which will resume charging when the battery on the tool is 100% full. Three chargers can be connected in series to be powered from a single outlet. This allows one to charge a total of 6 batteries without any management, whether placed on a charger or on a tool connected to it. The Pentheon Series consists of the following rescue tool models: Inclined Cutter PCU50, Spreader PSP40, Telescopic Ram PTR50 and Combi Tool PCT50. Spreader Tips For Instant Grip The tips on the spreader have pointed teeth on both sides that bite into the material The tips on the spreader have pointed teeth on both sides that bite into the material. The middle row of teeth is taller and offers instant grip. The teeth on the outside alternately point in the opposite direction, which allows for a superior grip over the full spreading range. Finally, an interlocking profile results in reduced insertion dimensions. Another user-friendly feature of the Pentheon Series is the Smart Extension of the telescopic ram. As soon as one connects the optional extension pipe, the ram will automatically adapt its force to the new maximum length of 1804 mm / 71 inches that can be achieved. Thanks to this solution Holmatro can offer one compact ram for all applications, including cross ramming over a large distance. Smart Ram Extension Now one only needs a compact ram and one extension pipe for all applications, including cross ramming from one side of the car to the other. There are many more unique features & benefits of Pentheon rescue tools, such as temperature management technology (which allows one to keep working in extremely hot conditions) and underwater use.
Holmatro introduces the new powerful Door Ram 200 (DR200), designed in cooperation with the United States Military. This compact tool is suitable for breaching doors in multiple situations, both by tactical units and by fire and rescue teams. The DR200 combines a high spreading force with a long stroke and is designed for inward opening doors with multiple locks. When used in combination with a manual breaching tool it is also suitable for outward opening doors. Enhanced safety for operator With a toe height of less than 7 mm the new Door Ram is easy to insert between the door and its frame. The long stroke of 300 mm allows one to open even the most flexible doors. The toe is attached perpendicular (at a 90-degree angle) to the tool body, allowing the operator to work from a position next to the door, out of harm’s way. Ultimate power and control DR200 Door Ram has a constant high spreading force over its full stroke to provide full power whenever needed Unlike combi tool style door openers, the DR200 Door Ram has a constant high spreading force over its full stroke to provide full power whenever needed. The DR200 Door Ram is double acting and offers operators optimal control over both, the outgoing stroke and the ingoing stroke. The new Door Ram is available in two models, the CORE Technology model and an EVO 3 Battery Technology model version: CORE model DR200 (CORE Technology model) The CORE model DR200 is compact and lightweight. The DR200 can be used with all Holmatro CORE Technology pumps. When used with Holmatro’s new Backpack Pump the DR200, it can be operated by one person. Cordless model GDR200EVO3 (EVO 3 Battery Technology model) The Cordless model GDR200EVO3 is self-contained for optimal freedom of movement. It offers rapid deployment with simple press of the start button and commencement of working.
Holmatro presents its new Backpack Pump: a small, lightweight, battery-driven pump, equipped with a CORE connector. The compact GBP10EVO3 pump gives one optimum flexibility to work with Holmatro’s CORE tools. The Backpack Pump is powered by the well-known and proven EVO3 technology, using the same battery that is used for all other EVO3 tools. The pump and its battery are contained in a practical backpack that is easy to carry by one person. With the new Backpack Pump, one can quickly reach even the most inaccessible accident locations. Free of Emission The effective oil content of the pump is 425cc. This is large enough to be used in combination with all Holmatro CORE tools, except the larger (telescopic) rams. The Backpack Pump is emission-free and safe to use in confined spaces like tunnels, trains and collapsed buildings. Its IP 54 rating makes the new Backpack Pump protected against dust and all weather conditions.
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