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Archive for the ‘Fire Alarms’ Category

3 Terrible Reasons to Forgo a Fire Sprinkler Crescent City, CA

Posted on: June 16th, 2014 by Rick Miller 39 Comments

House on fire1. Smoke detectors are all we need to protect us.Smoke detectors can reduce loss of life by 50%. Fire sprinklers can reduce it by 97-100%. And that doesn’t even touch the subject of property loss. A fire detector has no power to stop a fire in its tracks, while a sprinkler system does exactly that.

2. It costs too much.
A new system in a brand new home, installed during construction, costs around 1% of the home’s value, in most markets. A retrofitted system usually runs between 1.5% and 3%. Usually it amounts to much less than a refinished kitchen, or a hot tub, or a new back deck. And it has the potential to save your home and your family, which is worth much, much more than the cost of a new fire sprinkler system.

3. It could cause water damage to my house.
Fire sprinklers cause much less water damage than a firefighter’s high-pressure hose. Contrary to popular belief, the system only activates one sprinkler at a time, in the place it’s needed most. The sensors are set to go off only at high temperatures, much higher than a home can get without the presence of a fire. Smoke will not set off a sprinkler system. The only water damage a fire sprinkler system will cause to your home is in the small vicinity of the fire, where it starts. That’s the best you can do when it comes to preventing fire-related water damage.

5 Ways to Get Better Performance from Your
Fire Alarm Sub-Contractor

Posted on: November 17th, 2013 by 0jifdnguu No Comments

fire-systemMost every GC or EC has horror stories about fire alarm systems contractors. And behind the horror stories is an underlying reality: fire alarm contractors can cause delay penalties and litigation to prime or second tier contractors more so than most other vendors working on a jobsite.

With that in mind, here are five things you can do to get better performance from your fire alarm contractor:

1.       Align expectations. Make sure your project start up meeting includes a clear discussion about project goals, objectives, schedules, performance expectations, communication expectations and other procedural and performance standards. Make sure you and the fire alarm system contractor are on the same page.

2.       Protect the schedule. The fire alarm contractor is usually one of the last contractors on the jobsite and yet they have to be one of the first ones to finish. A job may be in progress for months before it is ready for the fire alarm contractor. Unless you want to pay the fire alarm contractor to have people onsite the entire duration of the job, even when their crews aren’t working, you need to protect the job schedule. Don’t allow schedule changes or schedule compressions to occur without involving your contractor. No exceptions.

3.       Communicate changes. As we just discussed, your fire alarm contractor may not be on the jobsite when project changes are happening. Communicate all changes promptly.

4.       Insist on regular written progress reports. Good project documentation is a best practice all are wise to emulate. Make sure all third tier contractors, including the fire alarm contractor, provide daily or weekly written progress reports.

5.       Get to know people. Practice good human relations. Get to know the people the fire alarm contractor has assigned to the project. Show an interest in them, treat them like you’d like to be treated and them see you regularly on the site. A little common courtesy causes people to dig a little deeper, to give a little more.

Those are some of our observations about getting better performance our of a fire alarm sub-contractor. What’s yours?

How to Choose the Right Fire Sprinkler
System Contractor

Posted on: October 25th, 2013 by 0jifdnguu 1 Comment

sprinkler systemMost new commercial buildings and offices in California and Oregon require installation of an automatic fire sprinkler system.

To make the most of the investment and to comply with most community codes and insurance requirements, it’s important to make sure the system is designed, installed, monitored, tested and maintained properly.

Choosing the right automatic fire sprinkler alarm contractor is a critical decision. The contractor will design and install the system. They will ensure it is code complaint and completed in time to receive building occupancy authorizations.

Now most of you know to make sure any prospective contractor is licensed to do fire sprinkler system work. You know to make sure the license is current and you even know to investigate the qualifications of the contractor.

Many of you even read our previous blog post about why most automatic fire alarm sprinkler system contractors stink.

So, we’re going to skip what you already know and dive into 3 advanced tips to help you select the right automatic sprinkler system contractor:

  1. Check out the NICET certifications for all people the fire sprinkler contractor will assign to your project. These certifications are designations of professional competency and you want NICET certified people working on all aspects of your sprinkler system, including design, installation, commissioning, testing and maintenance.
  2. Pick a contractor that can support all the project phases, both during construction and after. Many sprinkler contractors simply install automatic fire sprinkler systems. They do not monitor them, test them or maintain them. That can create real problems for a contractor with the building owner during the warranty phase of the project. Don’t let it happen to you.
  3. Investigate their experience working on new construction jobsites. Many sprinkler companies operate strictly in the retrofit or replacement markets. When times get tough, they try to branch out into the bid or design/build markets for more work. You’ve seen contractors step outside their areas of expertise. Building life safety systems are not a playground. Make sure your contractor has experience working in project environments like new construction job sites.

We’re interested in knowing what you do to select the right fire sprinkler system contractor. Please share your tips by commenting below.

Common Causes of Business Fires

Posted on: August 14th, 2013 by 0jifdnguu No Comments

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more than 90,000 fires in non-residential structures every single year. Many of these are business-related fires.

If you want to better protect your business, it’s important to understand the causes of many business fires. Below, we outline some of the top ones.

  • Your Employees – Your employees can cause accidental office fires. Whether it’s not paying attention to what they’re cooking at lunch, lighting candles or smoking in the office, your employees can be a threat to your business. To protect against this, create policies that prevent them from smoking or lighting candles in the office.
  • Smoking – This is a common cause of business fires, especially for restaurants and bars. At the end of the day make sure all ashtrays are cleaned and emptied. Business owners in retail and office related work should consider establishing and enforcing no smoking policies to protect against this threat.
  • Small Appliances and Office Equipment – Coffee makers and toaster ovens and other small appliances can spark a fire at your business. Make sure all small appliances are unplugged at the end of the day. Also be sure to clean toaster ovens and coffee makers to reduce the threat of a fire.
  • Office Equipment – Frayed wires and overloaded electrical outlets are common causes of business fires. Make sure office equipment is regularly serviced and repaired. Also don’t overload electrical outlets. If wires are frayed, take it in for repair or replace it.
  • Arson – A good number of business fires are intentional. To protect against arsons, be sure your business is properly secured. Consider perimeter security cameras as well as a good business security system to defend against criminals trying to destroy your business.

These are some of the top causes of business fires. To better protect your business, have your fire detection and sprinkler systems regularly tested and inspected.

At Hue & Cry, Inc., we test and inspect fire and sprinkler systems in California and Oregon. You can find out more information by visiting our website at or calling us at 1-800-763-3196.

How to Reduce Home Kitchen Fires

Posted on: August 2nd, 2013 by 0jifdnguu No Comments

Your kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in your home. That’s because two of every five home fires start in the kitchen.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 150,000 cooking-related fires happen every year. Between 2007 and 2011, kitchen fires resulted in 400 deaths, 5,080 injuries and $853 million in direct damage.

To better protect your home, here are some of the top ways to reduce home kitchen fires.

  • Put a Smoke Detector Near the Kitchen – Having a smoke detector near the kitchen can help alert you of potential cooking fires. You don’t want to put it directly in the kitchen because it may get triggered too easily.
  • Get a Fire Extinguisher – Having a fire extinguisher in your kitchen can help extinguish a fire before it gets out of control. Regularly inspect it to ensure it’s in good working order.
  • Clean Appliances – Crumbs and grease in stoves, toasters and coffee makers can spark a fire. Regularly clean all appliances. If an appliance is acting strangely, call in professional help for maintenance or replace it with a new one.
  • Unplug Small Appliances – Keep small appliances like toasters and coffee makers unplugged when not in use. That’s because some can remain powered even when you turn them off. It’s better to play it safe and keep them unplugged.
  • Watch Your Cooking – The No. 1 cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Don’t leave the kitchen or your home when cooking. Pay close attention to what you’re doing to reduce the risk of a fire.
  • Avoid Using Metal in the Microwave – Cooking with metal in the microwave can cause sparks, which leads to fires. Read the instructions that came with your microwave before using.
  • Keep Flammables Away From the Stove – Keep towels, papers and other flammables away from your stove. It will help to reduce the risk of a kitchen fire.
  • Supervise Children – Some kids love to cook. If you have a young one that wants to make food, supervise them, especially when using any appliances such as the stove or the microwave.

Following these tips will help reduce the chances of kitchen fires in your home. To better protect your family, reach out to a home security expert like Hue & Cry, Inc.

At Hue & Cry, Inc., we specialize in fire detection and suppression systems that can help reduce the threat of fires. We offer affordable systems in California and Oregon. To find out more, call us at 1-800-762-3196.

Why a Fire Emergency Plan Is Important for Your Business

Posted on: April 24th, 2013 by 0jifdnguu No Comments

Having an emergency plan in place for fires is important for your business. Every single year, there are nearly 100,000 non-residential structure fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.

With an emergency plan, you can better protect your employees as well as your business in the event of a fire.

Too often, businesses ignore emergency planning. They say there isn’t enough time or it will cost too much money. Don’t fall into this trap. Take the time to create a fire emergency plan for your business. They’re not hard to develop or implement.

To help you get started, here are the most important steps.


1. Develop a fire and evacuation plan

Work to create protocols that employees should take when the fire alarm sounds or there is evidence of a fire. This should include:

  • Identifying evacuation routes
  • Designating an assembly area outside of your business
  • Compiling a list of all emergency service numbers
  • Identifying individuals that are trained to fight small fires

Additionally, you’ll want to develop a plan for what to do when a fire alarm sounds, but there is no fire. In these instances, you’ll still want to evacuate the building. However, you’ll want to notify fire services and your fire alarm company of the situation.


2. Plan implementation

At this point, you’ll want to put your plan to work. Educate employees at your business about the fire emergency plan. Take the time to let them know what they should do in the event of a fire as well as a false alarm. Have them read “What to Do if a Fire Alarm Goes Off at Your Business.”

Create maps that show emergency exit routes as well as where employees should gather after the incident. You might even want to post the locations of fire extinguishers on the map.

Make it a point to educate new employees about the fire emergency plan during the orientation period at your business.


3. Look for improvements

Try to look for ways to improve your safety plan as well as ways to prevent potential fires. This might include developing company rules that forbid certain things such as candles and smoking indoors. For more information about fire prevention in offices, please read “Tips to Prevent Business Fires.”

You might also want to look at finding another company to test, monitor and maintain your fire alarm system.

In the end, it’s important to be prepared for fires at your business. For even more business fire prevention and security tips, Like the Hue & Cry, Inc. Facebook Page.

What to Do if a Fire Alarm Goes Off at Your Business

Posted on: April 10th, 2013 by 0jifdnguu No Comments

Picture this situation… you’re working hard at your job and all of a sudden the fire alarm goes off. What do you do?

The decision you make can be the difference between life and death. At a garment factory in India, a sounding fire alarm was waved off by managers. Because of this negligence, more than 100 people perished in a fire.

While this incident may have been on the other size of the world, there’s an important lesson… DON’T IGNORE FIRE ALARMS.

When the fire alarm sounds at your business, here’s what you should do.

1. Stop working – Immediately stop working. Don’t think of it as a possible false alarm. Every second counts. Get out of the building.

2. Leave your belongings behind – Don’t obsess over gathering all of your personal belongings as you leave. You can always replace them.

3. Find the nearest exit – Locate the nearest exit and leave as quickly as possible. If the exit is blocked, quickly find another one.

4. Avoid elevators – If you work on upper floors, take the stairs in the event of a fire alarm going off at your business.

5. Contact authorities – The fire alarm should alert authorities. To be certain, contact authorities and let them know the situation once outside.

It’s important to treat fire alarms seriously. Every single year there are nearly 100,000 non-residential structure fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.

If it happens to be a false alarm, get it checked out as soon as possible by a company that specializes in fire alarm and suppression services.

At Hue & Cry, Inc., we specialize in inspecting, testing, monitoring and maintaining fire alarm systems. To find out how we can help you, visit our page on fire alarm inspecting and testing.

Why Is Fire Safety Much More Important for Elderly?

Posted on: March 27th, 2013 by 0jifdnguu No Comments

Aging adults are at increased risk for fire death and injuries for a number of reasons:

  • Loss of physical mobility and dexterity may prevent them from being able to take the  quick action necessary in a fire emergency.
  • Visual or hearing impairments may delay their detection of a fire.
  • Medications may affect their ability to respond and make decisions quickly.
  • A lot of elderly people suffer from Emphysema which reduces the amount of oxygen that is brought in through the lungs into the blood stream.  People that suffer with this will be 10 times more susceptible to Carbon dioxide poising from smoke inhalation.
  • Many older individuals live alone. When accidents occur, others may not be around to help.
  • Often seniors reside in older houses, which many times may have damaged or improperly installed wiring and too few or overloaded outlets.
  • Aging seniors may suffer from memory loss putting them at risk for such things as leaving on a stove burner or forgetting to turn off electrical appliances before going to sleep.
  • The kitchen is one of the most potentially dangerous rooms in the home, with cooking accidents
  • being the leading cause of fire-related injuries for older Americans.
  • Alternate sources of heat, such as wood stoves and electric space heaters are responsible for a large percentage of fires in seniors’ homes each Winter.


Fire Safety Tips

The following Fire Safety Tips are good advice for all, but some are also related specifically to the needs of seniors and those caring for their Elderly Parents.

Oxygen tanks and compressors – Make sure there are signs in place to inform people that there are oxygen tanks and compressors present. This is valuable information for fire departments as they can be dangerous in a fire.

Alternative Heat Sources – If they’re using space heaters, make sure it’s one approved by Underwriter’s Laboratory. If it is, there will be a prominent UL mark or tag on the heater, almost always at the end of the cord.

Check their smoke detectors – If you have an elderly relative who lives alone, you should consider checking their smoke detectors for them. They may be placed too high for them safely reach or the batteries may be too difficult for them to remove and replace. Change their smoke detector batteries at least once a year.

An easy way to remember to do that is to change them in the Fall when switching back to Standard Time or in the Spring with returning to Daylight Savings Time.

Dryers – When visiting their home, take the time to check whether or not they’ve    been properly emptying the dryer lint trap, as this can be a fire hazard.

Develop a Fire Emergency Plan – This can literally save your their life. Ensure they know what to do in an emergency and that they have the physical ability and speed needed to get out in time. If they have difficulty with their mobility, ensure they have an escape route that doesn’t involve stairs or having to walk a long distance. Review that escape plan with them regularly and continually adapt it as necessary to fit their changing needs.

Fire extinguishers – Make sure there are fire extinguishers in any places where there’s a potential hazard, such as the kitchen. And that the size, weight and operation of those extinguishers is manageable for that person.

Smoke detectors – If they suffer from significant hearing loss, make sure all smoke detectors are loud enough for them to hear or replace them with ones that also have an accompanying light that will flash when the detector is activated.

Electric cords – Make sure all cords are in good condition and are being used properly. They should never be under carpets or overloaded.

Clutter-free – Ensure their home is clutter free so that they can quickly and easily get out in case of emergency. This is also a good idea in general, as items kept on the floor and or in pathways seriously increase the risk of falling and injury.

Fire Sprinkler Systems Save Businesses and Property From a Total Loss

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by 0jifdnguu 1 Comment

In an Oregon apartment complex, a resident bumped into the knobs of a kitchen stove. Little did they know that they had accidentally turned on one of the stovetop heating elements.

As time passed, nearby combustibles on the stove caught fire causing a two-alarm blaze. Thankfully no one was injured and the building was saved thanks to the apartment complex’s sprinkler system.

A fire department spokesperson who talked with the local newspaper, The Oregonian, said that the sprinkler system prevented the blaze from spreading to other units in the apartment complex, saving the building and possibly lives.

This is a valuable lesson for property and business owners. A good fire suppression system can help suppress and contain a fire, reducing the risk of a total loss.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), sprinkler systems are one of the most effective and reliable tools for fire protection. In an analysis of large structure fires, the NFPA found that sprinkler systems were effective 96 percent of the time.

As you can see from the graph below, your business is much better off with a sprinkler system.

It’s important to note that sprinkler systems are only effective if they work. This might seem like common sense. However, you would be amazed at how many systems falter because of improper inspections and maintenance.

The key is to hire a company that specializes in fire alarm and suppression services.

At Hue & Cry, Inc., we are experts at doing monitoring, inspections, testing and maintenance for fire detection and suppression systems. We test and inspect commercial and industrial fire sprinkler systems as well as apartment buildings and private residences in California and Oregon.

We offer fast, affordable services that will meet your needs. To find out more, visit our page on Fire Detection and Suppression Services. You can also call us at 1-800-762-3196.

Here’s Your Home Fire Safety Plan

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by 0jifdnguu No Comments

Do you know what to do when there’s a fire in your home? Having a home fire safety plan can be the difference between life and death.

Follow the steps below to develop a fire safety plan for you and your family.

  • Step #1 – Have a family meeting: Communication is key to developing a fire safety plan. Have a sit-down meeting without any distractions. If you have children, discuss the importance of NOT playing with fire.
  • Step #2 – Review safety equipment: You’ll want to make sure that you have smoke detectors on every level of your home. You’ll also want to invest in a fire extinguisher as well as a collapsible escape ladder for the higher floor levels in your home.
  • Step #3 – Create an escape plan: During the family meeting, have a floor plan of your home ready. Make sure the floor plan includes all floor levels as well as all doors and windows. You’ll want to identify at least two ways to exit each room.
  • Step #4 – Select a meeting point: Once you have marked the different escape routes, you’ll want to pinpoint a meeting location outside of your home. Make sure it’s a safe distance away from your home at least 15 to 20 yards. 
  • Step #5 – Discuss the proper way to move during a fire: It’s essential to stress the importance of crawling low to the ground to avoid smoke inhalation during a fire. You’ll also want to demonstrate the stop, drop and roll method if their clothes catch fire.
  • Step #6: – Practice your fire escape plan: This is very important, especially for small children and the elderly. Practice your escape plan a few times a year. Make sure your children run-through escaping from their rooms alone so they have the experience.

Following these tips will help you create a home fire safety plan. As you’re discussing your fire safety plan with your family, you’ll want to chat about home security systems. A home security system can help speed up emergency response times during a fire.

You can find out more by reading our post, “Discount Stores vs. Security Company Smoke Detectors.”

If you’re thinking about a home security system, call us today at 1-800-762-3196.

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