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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.
Fireco has released its newest innovation, Germgard, a smart sanitizer combined with digital signage. Germgard has been designed to promote awareness of the importance of hand sanitization to all building users. With the outbreak of COVID-19, good hygiene practice has become more important than ever before. Fireco has already helped many customers improve their infection control with their hold-open devices, which can reduce the need to touch door handles. However, they wanted to help their customers further, by designing a system that promotes standard of hygiene. Screen prompting to sanitize Germgard is a smart sanitizing system, which monitors people passing through the chosen doorways. A sensor will detect someone approaching and a screen will show a message prompting them to use the hand sanitizer before passing through. Germgard can be combined with a range of door systems so that the use of hand sanitizer is a requirement before gaining entry. Germgard can be used as a stand-alone system or it can be integrated with electronic door locks, automatic doors, and access control systems. “We are really excited to add Germgard to our product portfolio, as we can now offer a full range of products for germ control.” Helen Elligate, Marketing Manager. Free Germgard installations “Our customers require visual, physical products as evidence in promoting their return to work strategy to their workforce. Germgard meets those requirements, ensuring best practice, encouraging occupants to self-police when moving around the building.” James Wheeler, Chief Commercial Officer. Fireco manufactures wireless fire door closers and retainers, notification systems and disability aid products that are designed to provide simple solutions to a range of needs: fire safety, compliance, access and ventilation. Fireco would like to offer all readers free Germgard installations. To claim the offer, one may call the Fireco Team and quote 'Introductory Installation'. Offer runs from 21st July until 30th September and is for UK installations only.
Through this pandemic, many technologies have leapt into our day-to-day lives of lockdown and working from home, becoming an absolute necessity, as opposed to an alternative reserved for the young and tech-savvy. Whether it’s conference call platforms, social media, multimedia mediums or internet shopping, we are now relying on these technologies for everything. They are keeping businesses moving, they’re putting food on our tables and they are helping us keep in touch with our loved ones. Technology has become our friend and, in some cases, our saviour. The Door Handle Contamination Dilemma Whether it’s conference call platforms, social media, multimedia mediums or internet shopping, we are now relying on these technologies for everything There is a lot we don’t yet know about COVID-19. What we do know is that like common respiratory viruses, including flu, COVID-19 is spread in tiny droplets released from the nose and mouth of an infected person when they cough or sneeze. The greatest risk comes from contamination from touched surfaces where the infection can be passed from one to another. A shared surface such as a door handle quickly becomes a hazard and government advice has included regular disinfection of regularly touched objects and surfaces to reduce the risk of passing on the infection. Fire Door Technology Is Combatting COVID-19 Fireco, a technology company based in Brighton, England, has been working for over twenty years to help with the issue of fire doors being wedged open. Fire doors should be kept shut to control the spread of smoke and fire in buildings, and a common, serious problem is people wedging these doors open to allow for fresh air and easy access.Fire doors should be kept shut to control the spread of smoke and fire in buildings, and a common, serious problem is people wedging these doors open to allow for fresh air and easy access Fireco’s door retainers and door closers hold fire doors open compliantly. When the fire alarm sounds, the products will release the door to close through either acoustic or radio activation. They are wire-free and can be easily installed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fireco’s customer base reached out and told us that we are helping to resolve more issues than just illegally wedged open doors. Fireco products are fitted to doors across multiple industries including NHS premises, COVID-19 test labs, critical infrastructure, schools, commercial offices and factories. These buildings' occupants are so pleased, because people are able to walk freely around them without having to touch door handles, which has helped reduce the spread of germs, providing protection to all occupants, many of whom are key workers on the front line in the fight against COVID-19. We are happy that, in this way, Fireco is helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. What Will The New Normal Look Like? Will we revert back to how things were, or will things be very different? It is natural to focus on the immediate when the crisis is all consuming and impacting our lives so dramatically, but we should not forget that in the not too distant future, the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 will be eased, and we move from survival mode into recovery mode, we need to consider what the new normal will look like. One major challenge we will face is economic recovery. Businesses will be looking for employees to return to work and play their role in the recovery process as soon as it is practical. But this raises questions around what needs to be done to make employees comfortable in coming back to work. What will they expect? What will an employer's duty of care look like in the new world? Working From Home Managers have had a chance to witness their staff work from home, self-manage, and deliver. By working at home, everyone arrives to work on time. Car use and fuel costs are reduced and parking is no longer a problem. Meetings work online. You don’t always have to be face-to-face; deals can be negotiated over the phone. Trust and relationships can be built remotely, as opposed to physically shaking someone’s hand. Managers have had a chance to witness their staff work from home, self-manage, and deliver. By working at home, everyone arrives to work on time Business and their workforces have had to adapt, but after adaption, have we now entered into acceptance? Is there an opportunity to embrace these forced changes as the new modus operandi because, quite simply, they are efficient, effective and reliable? Surely, this is just evolution with the added bonus of continuing to give the environment a break. Health And Safety A Primary Pandemic Concern Even with some businesses choosing to shift towards working remotely and using technology in place of face-to-face interactions, business premises will still be as important as they are today. However, what is important in the workplace is likely to change. We will be more interested in the quality of the hand sanitizer than the coffee. What is important in the workplace is likely to change. We will be more interested in the quality of the hand sanitizer than the coffee We will all want to be assured that businesses are taking their duty of care seriously, and that our place of work is a safe place to be. The return to work should be a positive experience, not a cause for concern. Worries over health and safety risks are likely to distract from the job in hand in helping to recover the business and make the whole process of returning to work a lot less enjoyable for all. Day-to-day life has and will continue to be impacted by social distancing. The very thought of returning to work and mixing with large crowds raises questions around trust. Will other people keep up with best practices around hygiene? This cannot be taken for granted, and I for one will be very cautious in the coming months. Getting Back To Work It is highly likely that businesses will need to make both physical and operational changes if they want ‘getting back to work’ to be a success, and technology has a key role to play in this. Recognising the importance of easing everyone back into their workplace gently and carefully is important. Never has so much attention been paid to what you touch. From the minute you walk into a building, you start touching things. By the time you get to your workspace you are likely to have opened several doors and touched several door handles. By removing the need to touch these door handles by fitting a Fireco door retainer, you are proactively managing the risk level, and it is clear for all to see. By the time you get to your workspace you are likely to have opened several doors and touched several door handles Removing the need to touch door handles is not enough on its own. When used with other measures such as enhanced hygiene practices, the provision of hand sanitizers, and the introduction of new and more flexible approaches to working life, you can clearly demonstrate that you are taking the health and safety of your employees seriously. There are unanswered questions as we travel through this journey together, but what is clear is that our behaviours and focus have shifted, and as with most changes it is the approach that determines the outcome. We were not given the opportunity to plan our approach to this crisis. However, we have just about got time to plan our approach to our recovery and how we manage ‘getting back to work’. The search for normality and stability Humanity has been tested, and you don't have to look far to see that we have responded positively with acts of kindness, respect and a common purpose. Humanity has been tested, and you don't have to look far to see that we have responded positively with acts of kindness, respect and a common purpose Even countries previously at war with one another have come together. British manufacturers have re-modelled overnight to provide our health organisations with vital medical equipment for free, to help all our loved ones survive and recover. Most importantly, through this entire crisis, we have looked after one another emotionally, developing relationships that will last forever. This crisis is not something we will ever forget, nor wish to shut the door on. It is an indelible part of our common experience and something we should continue to learn from as we move forward in the search for normality and stability.
Fireco are looking for approved distributors Fireco Ltd. are looking for approved distributors who are able to install their fire safety products.Hardwired System X The System X transmitter (TX) unit can now be wired directly into the fire alarm panel fire and fault relay or loop via an I/O unit. The hardwired System X unit utilises Wi-Fi technology to communicate with all linked devices including Dorgard X and Deafgard X within a 1000m range (subject to a site survey). Fully fail to safe and compliant with BS EN 1155 and BS 7273-4 cat A, hardwired System X is suitable for any category of fire door. The link between the transmitter and devices is completely wireless, making installation quick and easy. Freedor Freedor is a wireless solution for holding open your fire doors safely and legally. The unit is located on the fire door with an articulated arm used to link the unit to the door. Freedor will automatically close the door in the event of the fire alarm sounding using acoustic or radio technology. Availability February: Hardwired System XJuly: Freedor Approved distributors Fireco Ltd. are looking for approved distributors who are able to install these products. Sales leads will be passed to the approved distributors in order to fulfil customer demand. Approved distributor spaces will be limited and terms and conditions apply. If you are unsuccessful as an approved distributor the new products will be available at they trade prices.
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