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Archive for the ‘Fire Alarms’ Category

Hawaii Townhome Fire Could Have Been Stopped

Posted on: June 26th, 2014 by Rick Miller No Comments

Hawaii TownhomeOfficials are now saying that a fire that left eight families homeless could have been contained to a single room, if the building had been properly equipped with fire sprinklers. One pet dog died, and another was killed, but no human lives were lost in the townhome fire that started on the night of June 5th, 2014.

Four of the units were a total loss, and nineteen people were displaced. Residents tried to fight the fire with an extinguisher, but were quickly overwhelmed and had to flee. Hawaii Fire Department Captain Terry Seelig said, “Without a doubt, this fire today in Ewa Beach would not have gotten much beyond the room of origin in that unit, and certainly not beyond the unit to the next, if a fire sprinkler system had been installed, as the department recommended.”

Hawaii is not on the list of states that have chosen to mandate fire sprinklers in apartment buildings. Fire fighters continue to work with local officials and businesses to encourage installation.

New Structures More at Risk of Fire than Old Structures

Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 by Rick Miller No Comments

Fire SprinklerA new home is the answer to so many of the fears involved in purchasing a house. It has brand new plumbing, perfectly up-to-date wiring, energy efficiency, no chance of wood rot, termites, roof leaks, and other headaches for years to come…

But many new homeowners are unaware that their newly built house puts them at higher risk of fire damage than if they lived in an older home. That makes a fire sprinkler system so much more important than ever.

Old homes do have more electrical problems, which puts them at higher risk of catching fire in the first place. However, new homes burn faster and bigger than most old homes ever would. First of all, the lighter, synthetic materials used in new homes are much more flammable than the materials used in the past. Also, the structure of new homes, with open floor plans, high ceilings, and lofts, gives a fire plenty of air, and easy access to the entirety of the house.

A new home without a sprinkler system faces much higher risk of being completely engulfed in the first few minutes. In contrast, older homes tend to take ten to fifteen minutes to get an all-encompassing blaze started. That gives firefighters the time to arrive and start to put out the flames.

The good news is that, thanks to legislation passed over the last few decades, new homes are almost always built with comprehensive sprinkler systems, ready to go. That means every small blaze is met with a concentrated dose of water, before it has the chance to spread anywhere else. That alone makes you safer in that new, flammable home, than you would ever be in a house without a fire sprinkler system.

If you have an open floor plan and would like us to evaluate and give recommendation on your specific threats and protection needs, please call us at: 1-800-800-ALARM or email us at: CustomerService@HueandCry.com.

Please comment and share your fire sprinkler thoughts and ideas.

June 2014 Fire Sprinkler Newsletter

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by Rick Miller 1 Comment

Dear Fire Sprinkler Clients,

Fire sprinklers continue to get smarter and less conspicuous each year. This month we’ll take a look at a few of the reasons fire sprinklers are the best line of defense. We’ll also talk about the role of fire sprinkler designers in the building process, and catch up on West Coast fire sprinkler news.

Thanks for trusting us with your business.

Fire SprinklersWhat Makes Fire Sprinklers the Best Defense?

1. They save many more lives than other fire prevention/detection devices, like fire alarms and extinguishers. A good set of interconnected fire detectors can reduce loss of life by 50%, but a fire sprinkler system can reduce it by nearly 100%. When you’re talking about people’s lives, that’s a big difference.

2. They can save you money on your property insurance. Insurers know a safe bet when they see one. They stand to lose less money on a building fire that has fire sprinklers, because the damage will be contained to a very small area.

3. The cost of a sprinkler system installation is about the same as a security system, and much less than extras like a pool or a fully-outfitted media room.

4. They compensate for the extra fire risks new homes pose. The most recent materials used in furniture and building materials are much more flammable than the materials used in older homes. But with a good sprinkler system, the chances of losing property or life to a house fire is extremely low.

Sprinkler DesignerWhat Does a Fire Sprinkler Designer Do?

A fire sprinkler designer is an expert who has been trained in fire sprinkler regulations and installation procedures. If you are having your new sprinkler system installed during the building process, the fire sprinkler designer can work with the builders to plan ahead for the placement of pipes and sprinkler heads.

You can discuss options with the designer, such as:
● Covered, recessed ceiling heads that are barely noticeable
● Covered sprinkler heads in the walls, which can help to avoid pipe installation in the attic
● Special sprinkler head installations in the basement ceiling, designed to allow for finishing in the future

The fire sprinkler designer can help you find the most efficient, least risky way to structure your system, and can even help you find ways to set up third-party monitoring with your security company. If you plan to retrofit a system in an existing structure, the designer can look over the building plans with you, and find ways to do the installation with a minimum of renovation.

Carlton Winery FireCarlton, OR, Winery Loses Big to Fire

A large winery in the town of Carlton, Oregon caught fire on May 11th, starting in the fermentation room. Firefighters were so overwhelmed by the blaze, they had to call in reinforcements from five other fire departments.

Even with all the extra hands on deck, one firefighter was injured, and the business sustained between $300,000 and $400,000 in loss and damages. Fire officials noted that the building lacked a fire sprinkler system, which could have prevented the vast majority of the owners’ losses, and prevented the injury of one of their own.

Trivia Challenge

 
 
 
 
 
Starbucks CardAnswer our trivia question and get a chance to win coffee & pastry on us! Simply fill out the trivia answer in the comment section below, be sure to include your name in the Name field and your email in the Mail field. We’ll put all responses in the proverbial fishbowl and pick 5 names to win a $10 Starbucks Gift Card!

Question: How many structure fires occurred in the US in 2012?

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 www.HueAndCry.com 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.

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