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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.
As part of the new agreement Holmatro will work with the IMSA Safety Team to provide vehicle extrication equipment along with training to support local crews and ensure the highest standards. “Holmatro has a long history in motorsports safety, and in fact over the years Holmatro tools have played a part in the rescue of several drivers,” said Tony Barboza, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Holmatro, Inc. Motorsports safety teams “As the biggest supplier of extrication equipment to motorsports safety teams, we’re proud of our new partnership with the IMSA safety team and look forward to supporting them in their mission of proving safety for the drivers in all of their events.” We have an expert AMR Safety Team that now has an expanded toolbox" “Safety is a top IMSA priority,” said David Pettit, IMSA Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Operations. “We have an expert AMR Safety Team that now has an expanded toolbox with advanced equipment and services from Holmatro. The companies is considered a leader in its industry and we are proud to be associated with them.” High tech rescue equipment Having supplied tools for the IndyCar Safety Team since 1991, Holmatro has become a pioneer in supplying high tech rescue equipment to assist in the quick and safe extrication of race drivers following incidents on track. Holmatro’s cordless, portable and powerful tools are ideal for the on track environment, where drivers need to be extricated from carbon fiber monocoques and high-strength roll-cage structures. Over the years it has been Holmatro’s goal to translate their learning in the extreme racing environment into innovative rescue tools that raise the level of global postcrash response on the streets and highways. As of 2019, Holmatro is the official supplier of the FIA Safety and Medical departments.
New technology and strategies are urgently required if rescue services are to meet the enormous challenges they encounter in the modern world. Demographic change, the need for well-trained specialist personnel and responding to major incidents and disasters are just some of the keynote themes that demand answers. At INTERSCHUTZ 2020 manufacturers, suppliers, rescue services and training institutes will present their solutions and ideas for future-fit rescue services. At the same time, INTERSCHUTZ also serves as a platform for a professional exchange of know-how within this sector. Consequently, the visiting public includes emergency physicians, emergency paramedics, paramedics, medical technicians and first responders from every kind of rescue/emergency service, as well as decision-makers in local government, medical insurance companies and providers of funds and services. INTERSCHUTZ 2020 INTERSCHUTZ is a hub which addresses all the topical issues affecting the entire spectrum of rescue services" "INTERSCHUTZ is a hub which addresses all the topical issues affecting the entire spectrum of rescue services, both for domestic deployment and internationally", declares Martin Folkerts, Project Director of INTERSCHUTZ at Deutsche Messe. "One of the big bonus points of INTERSCHUTZ is that every sector in the field of security, safety and rescue services is represented at one convenient time and place. It is impossible to overstate just how important networking and communication between fire and civil protection services are to the development of rescue services that are future-proof and fit for purpose. In the final analysis, the players responding in day-to-day operations and those responding to major incidents and disasters all have to work closely together." Hall 26 will provide a central hub for the presentation of the rescue services at INTERSCHUTZ 2020. Offering a display space of more than 21,000 square meters, this venue provides visitors with a clear overview of manufacturers, suppliers and special themes. The hall is a magnet for any professional seeking information on rescue aids, transport, data management, equipment, disinfection equipment, medical equipment, tools/equipment for rescuing accident victims or information on training courses for the rescue services. The key topics of water rescue and high-angle and high rescue operations form the focus of displays in halls 17 and 16. Connectivity And Digitization Connectivity and digitization are issues that have long occupied emergency and rescue services" "Connectivity and digitization are issues that have long occupied emergency and rescue services", says Andreas Ploeger, director of the ambulance and rescue vehicle manufacturer Wietmarscher Ambulanz- und Sonderfahrzeug GmbH (WAS). "Although many countries are ahead of Germany in this respect, INTERSCHUTZ should get things moving. As far as WAS is concerned, this trade fair is something of an international benchmark." This is a view shared by Binz Ambulance- und Umwelttechnik GmbH, whose spokesperson, Matthias Quickert, deputy head of distribution and head of the special vehicles and series production segment of Binz operations, reported: "INTERSCHUTZ 2020 is an important national and international showcase, where our company presents its key products. One focal point is weight optimization in vehicle interiors for ambulances and rescue vehicles, as well as in other BOS emergency vehicles for which weight is a key factor, but naturally we also focus on the intelligent networking of voltage and power supply systems in vehicle modifications and data acquisition and presentation for diverse vehicles and vehicle modifications." C.Miesen, Gruau And GSF Ltd Among Exhibitors In addition to WAS and Binz, several other exhibitors have already announced their intention to exhibit in 2020, including C. Miesen, GSF Sonderfahrzeugbau, Groupe Gruau, Ferno-Washington, Weinmann Emergency, X-Cen-Tek, Holmatro, Lukas, Weber Hydraulik, Dönges and Andreas Stihl Ltd. While exhibitors from industry are clearly important to INTERSCHUTZ, great value is also placed on the participation of professional service providers, i.e. those organizations whose teams of professionals and volunteers deliver the emergency and rescue services. Their ranks include the German Red Cross (DRK), the national branch of the International Red Cross which operates in Germany and in voluntary operations assisting the German authorities in humanitarian missions. "For us it is self-evident that we should take part in INTERSCHUTZ as an exhibitor in 2020, but it is also very exciting," explains Dr. Ralf Selbach, chairman of the board of the DRK Association in Lower Saxony. Communication In Disaster Response The lead theme of connectivity and digitization is a very topical aspect of the work of the Red Cross" In the federal state of Lower Saxony, alone, the DRK employs around 3,500 in the rescue services, with a further 7,000 or more volunteers on standby. "The lead theme of connectivity and digitization is a very topical aspect of the work of the Red Cross – for instance, it is vital in communication in disasters and major incidents, or in the training of rescue service personnel," says Dr. Selbach. "This is something that we want to convey to the visitors to our trade fair stand in a tangible and practical fashion. We also want to inform them about the opportunities for working on a professional or voluntary basis in health-related services such as rescue and emergency, civil protection and disaster protection and relief." Likewise, INTERSCHUTZ is an important event in the calendar of the Johanniter Unfall Hilfe (German Order of St John) as Hannes Wendler, the Director of the organization in Lower Saxony and Bremen, is keen to explain: "INTERSCHUTZ not only affords an excellent overview of this sector, including all the latest developments – as a nationwide provider of rescue services and an established partner in general public services it also provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate our consistent efforts to upgrade and improve our services in line with current trends and standards." Johanniter Unfall Hilfe The Johanniter Unfall Hilfe at INTERSCHUTZ will not only place the focus on connectivity between teams and technology – it also aims to reach younger visitors and address personnel recruitment. The Akkon University in Berlin and the Johanniter Academy are two training facilities at which the Johanniter staff educate and train highly qualified personnel for the rescue and emergency services. Our training measures hinge on modern technology and innovative methods in order to prepare the participants" "Our training measures hinge on modern technology and innovative methods in order to prepare the participants as well as possible for the kind of challenges that rescue teams meet today," adds Wendler. "At INTERSCHUTZ we want to show visitors, especially young visitors, that we are a competent, modern and progressive employer – whether as a provider of terrestrial rescue services or in air rescue services and offshore rescue operations." Holmatro Extrication Challenge The exhibits and information offered at the individual stands at INTERSCHUTZ are complemented by an impressive supporting program rich in opportunities for discussion, knowledge transfer, learning and for making valuable new contacts. Demonstrations, activities and examples of practical applications are staged throughout the whole trade fair on the open-air site. Another daily highlight will be the Holmatro Extrication Challenge with rescue teams from all over the world competing against one another in exciting simulated scenarios in which they demonstrate their skills in extricating road-traffic accident victims from vehicles. No doubt, the scene will be less intense, but equally interesting, at the meeting of the rescue services, which is being organized mainly by the German Fire Protection Association (vfdb). This event will feature talks and panel discussions on current issues and challenges. One of many interesting topics will be the comparison of European emergency and rescue services. Directly adjacent to this event various rescue services' training schools will stage diverse activities simulating the kind of operations that rescue teams have to face today and showing ways of tackling future scenarios and challenges. 22nd Hannover Emergency Medicine Symposium Another key element of the supporting program is the 22nd Hannover Emergency Medicine Symposium from 19-20 June Another key element of the supporting program is the 22nd Hannover Emergency Medicine Symposium from 19-20 June, organized by the Johanniter Academy of Lower Saxony/Bremen in collaboration with the Medical University of Hannover. The symposium is held over two days, thus giving participants the opportunity to benefit from both the high-caliber theoretical content of this event and the experience of the leading world fair INTERSCHUTZ. The Johanniter Unfall Hilfe also organizes the Hans-Dietrich Genscher Prize and the Johanniter Junior Prize. Both awards are traditionally presented in Hannover to mark the achievements of courageous helpers. In 2020, the award ceremony will take place on the Wednesday of INTERSCHUTZ. The Hans-Dietrich Genscher Prize is awarded to adults – for example, an emergency physician or some other rescue or emergency worker – for their exceptional achievements in a rescue situation. The winner could be a professional or a volunteer layperson. The Johanniter Juniors' Prize is awarded to young people up to the age of 18 who have shown an exceptional level of commitment by providing first aid and/or other services in emergency situations. Hannover is, of course, also the place where German politicians and administrators responsible for the rescue services meet. Thus, on 16 and 17 June the German Federal States' Committee for the Emergency and Rescue Services will convene at INTERSCHUTZ. The participants will include the representatives responsible for the emergency and rescue services in the various German states, as well as representatives from the German Federal Ministries of Internal Affairs, Health and Defense, representatives of the German police air units, the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BAST) and the major local authority associations from across Germany.
As officially announced at the FIA Conference 2019 in South Africa, Holmatro has become a FIA Official Supplier and will provide its latest hydraulic cutting and spreading equipment to FIA sanctioned circuits worldwide. As part of the new agreement Holmatro will work with the FIA Safety and Medical departments to provide equipment along with training to support local crews and ensure the highest standards. In addition, FIA National Sporting Authorities will have direct access to FIA approved and standardized Holmatro rescue equipment for their racing series. Manufacturing rescue equipment Having supplied tools for the IndyCar safety team since 1991, Holmatro has become a pioneer in manufacturing rescue equipment to assist in the quick and safe extrication of race drivers following incidents on track. Holmatro’s cordless portable and powerful tools are ideal for the motor sport environment Holmatro’s cordless portable and powerful tools are ideal for the motor sport environment, where drivers need to be extricated from carbon fiber monocoques and high-strength roll-cage structures. Over the years it has been Holmatro’s goal to translate their learnings in racing into innovative rescue tools that raise the level of global post-crash response. Latest rescue tools Adam Baker, FIA Safety Director, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide Holmatro’s state-of-the-art equipment to our circuits worldwide. It is crucial that rescue teams have access to the latest rescue tools which meet the rigorous standards we set and to training programs that further enhance safety.” Harm Hermans, Holmatro CEO, said: “Holmatro is proud to be chosen as an official supplier to the FIA and bring our rescue equipment to circuits worldwide. We believe in constant improvement and innovation when it comes to safety, and this is a further demonstration of the quality of our world-class tools and extrication training & consultancy.”
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