en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

How Fire Safety Code Violations and Obstructed Life Safety Equipment Impacts the Handicapped

Posted by John McSheffrey on 10/16/13 12:14 PM

Last month I was at the California Hospital Association for Disaster Preparedness Conference (actually, a great event), and had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman in a wheelchair about enGauge and introduce our products.  I didn’t put any particular emphasis on the discussion until he came back to our booth at the end of the show and said, “Thank you for your products.  I can’t tell you how important they are to me”. 

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Topics: Codes and Standards, Blocked Fire Extinguishers, Compliance, Electronic Monitoring of Fire Extinguishers, Inaccessible Fire Extinguisher, Blocked Fire Extinguisher, Smart Sensor

Even The White House struggles with blocked fire extinguishers

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 10/16/12 2:24 PM

White_House_0Following the fire code is a challenge for the best of us;  it is even a challenge for The White House.  Recently The White House released a video "Catching Up With The Curator, The White House Fire of 1814".  Terrific history video that shows the fire damage to the north portico that is still visible.  Right next to the visible fire damage is a blockd fire extinguisher, ironic.

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Topics: A Fire Extinguisher, Codes and Standards, Blocked Fire Extinguishers, Compliance, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Blocked Fire Extinguisher

False Alarms and Missing Fire Extinguishers - A Bad Combination

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 5/12/12 2:12 PM

blog_post_Missing-Fire-Extinguisher-Empty-CabinetThis is the type of story that we run across all too often at en-Gauge.  Some pranksters at Western Washington University have taken to pulling fire alarms in the middle of the night.  And to make things worse, there have been several instances where fire extinguishers have gone missing or have been discharged during the same time period.  These types of actions when found in combination can increase the likelihood of a tragedy occuring in the event of an actual emergency.

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Vandalism, Compliance, Vandalism, Campus Fire and Security, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, Inaccessible Fire Extinguisher, Inaccessible Fire Extinguishers

Toddler Dies in Fire, Fire Codes Violated, Electronic Fire Extinguisher Monitoring and Annual Inspections Could have helped

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 9/28/11 12:49 PM

A very sad story.  In Albuquerque, NM a 1 year old toddler was killed in a fire that was started when her 4 year old sister was playing with a lighter.  Unfortunately, it is possible that this tragedy did not need to happen.

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Topics: Fire Safety, Fire Suppression, Home Fire, Fire Extinguisher, Codes and Standards, Compliance, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers, Non-functional Fire Extinguisher, NFPA 10 Code Compliance, Apartment

School fire extinguishers hit by vandals, 30 day fire extinguisher inspections can't stop this problem.

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 8/31/11 12:21 PM

How sad is this? Just days before school is supposed to start vandals strike the same school twice in two days. This follows vandalism at another school in the district that resulted in $50,000 in damage.

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Topics: Compliance, Vandalism, Campus Fire and Security

10 FIRE EXTINGUISHER VANDALISM INCIDENTS, THREATENING STUDENT AND DORM SAFETY

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 7/12/11 10:54 AM

We run across these stories ALL the time.  Fire extinguishers are the first response against indoor fires. Properly functioning fire extinguishers can put out the majority of early stage fires. In order to protect the lives of those who you are responsible for it is important to ensure that your fire extinguishers are working properly. Here are 10 recent incidents in which fire extinguishers were stolen or vandalized leaving a building at risk in the case of Dickenson High or and in extreme cases like the motel fire in Hoover Alabama, resulted in loss of life.

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Topics: Education, Fire Safety, Fire Extinguisher Vandalism, Fire Extinguisher, Compliance, Hotel and Hospitality

Empty, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers in Police Cars Prompts Texas Legislation

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 1/25/11 10:17 AM

As in most localities, police cars in Midland, Texas are equipped with Fire Extinguishers in case the officers come across a traffic fire emergency.  Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to realize that many of those extinguishers went years without an inspection and may have been non-functional for extended periods of time.  This discovery had prompted new legislation in Texas to ensure the exinguishers are inspected and maintained properly.

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Inspections, Codes and Standards, Annual Inspection, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Compliance, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Non-functional Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, NFPA 10 Code Compliance, NFPA 10, Empty Fire Extinguisher, Fire Fatality, Electronic Monitoring

Fire Extinguisher Inspections Not Enough for National Hotel Chain

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 1/4/11 9:45 AM

This past week I stayed in Miami in a boutique size, big chain hotel.  My stay at the hotel was terrific.  Helpful and friendly staff, clean rooms and well kept facilities made my stay very pleasant,  I would gladly stay there again.   Even in this well run hotel, however,  the fire extinguisher outside my room was empty.

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Inspections, OSHA 1910, Fire Extinguisher, Codes and Standards, Annual Inspection, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Compliance, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Hotel and Hospitality, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, NFPA 10 Code Compliance, NFPA 10, ABC Fire Extinguisher, Empty Fire Extinguisher, Depressurized Fire Extinguisher

Texas Companies Learn That Fire Extinguisher Violations Are Serious Business

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/20/10 9:10 AM

Two Texas companies learned the hard way this week that failure to provide a safe workplace - and in particular accessible and functioning fire extinguishers - is very bad for business.  OSHA, the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, cited the companies on multiple willful and serious violations and 
osha-Logolevied fines that equal almost $400,000.


According to Reliable Plant Magazine:



The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Texas Linen Company Ltd. five serious and 15 repeat citations following a safety and health inspection at the company's facility in Austin, Texas. Proposed penalties total $126,400.

...Repeat citations were issued alleging a failure to keep flooring dry; cover floor holes; provide machine guards for rotating parts, points of operation, and sprockets and chains; provide illuminated exit signs and clear exit access; provide properly identified locks for machine servicing; and provide working and easily accessible portable fire extinguishers.


 


In a separate incident, OSHA has cited U.S. Minerals Inc. with three alleged willful and 35 alleged serious violations for exposing workers to multiple safety and health hazards at the company's facility in Galveston. Proposed penalties total $273,000.   According to the Houston Examiner:



Serious violations include failing to provide covers on chute floors, failing to remove damaged portable metal ladders from service, failing to ensure compressed gas cylinders were properly secured, failing to provide fire extinguishers where combustible and flammable materials were stored and failing to develop and document machine specific lockout/tag out procedures for equipment. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.


...Speaking on this issue, Mark Briggs, OSHA's area director for the Houston South Area Office said, “Employers' disregard for worker safety will not be tolerated. This company jeopardized the safety of its employees


 



blog_post_Missing-Fire-Extinguisher-Empty-CabinetAs a company that has a history of over 40 years in fire protection and life safety, we understand how vital the work is that OSHA does in ensuring workplace safety.  Unfortunately, there are large spans of time in between inspections.  That is why it the en-Gauge fire extinguisher monitoring solution is so important to workplace safety.  The en-Gauge system monitors fire extinguishers 24 X 7 X 365 and ensures that these critical life safety devices are available, accessible and ready for use when needed.  Protect your company, lower your risk and make sure your employees are safe.



 


en-Gauge.  We Make The Places People Go, Safer.

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Inspections, OSHA 1910, Codes and Standards, Annual Inspection, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Compliance, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Inaccessible Fire Extinguisher, Inaccessible Fire Extinguishers, NFPA 10, Missing Fire Extinguisher, Electronic Monitoring

Depressurized Fire Extinguishers - Reason #3 30-day Fire Extinguisher Inspections Are Not Sufficient

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/10/10 7:56 AM

A third major concern that businesses must be aware of is empty or depressurized extinguishers.  This is especially concerning, because the extinguisher is available and accessible, but when the user tries to fight the fire, the fire extinguisher does not function properly.  A non-pressurized fire extinguisher is a code violation and an example of the type of concern the 30-day fire extinguisher inspection is meant to address.  Unfortunately, it is a concern that is all to common as the 30-day fire extinguisher inspection leaves large windows of vulnerability (if they are performed at all).


As with missing and blocked fire extinguishers, it is easy to find depressurized (either through previous discharge or a slow leak) fire extinguishers in buildings.  Here are some examples of depressurized or empty fire extinguishers I"ve found in the last few months:


Depressurized or Empty Fire Extinguishers


Sorry about the focus on this one, I was just getting used to my new iPhone


blog_post_Depressurized-Fire-Extinguisher


 


blog_post_Empty-Fire-Extinguisher


 


blog_post_Empty-Fire-Extinguishers


 


Empty or depressurized fire extinguishers are a serious life safety risk.  They are meant to be identified and addressed during the monthy, 30-day fire extinguisher inspections. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of these inspections are actually performed and that puts lives at risk.  The 30 day window between inspections also is a substantial concern.  A much more effective method for complying with NFPA 10 is electronic monitoring of extinguishers which keeps track of the pressure in your extinguishers 24 X 7 X 365. 

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Inspections, Fire Extinguisher, Codes and Standards, Annual Inspection, Equipment, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Compliance, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Non-functional Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, NFPA 10 Code Compliance, NFPA 10, Empty Fire Extinguisher, Pressure Gauge, Electronic Monitoring, Depressurized Fire Extinguisher