en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

The Importance of Fire Extinguishers

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 1/13/11 9:55 AM

Just how important to society are fire extinguishers?  It turns out VERY IMPORTANT!  Often ignored,  even by the fire community, these overlooked life safety devices play a vital role in keeping us safe.  It is time for fire extinguishers to get the respect they deserve.
 
For most people fire extinguishers are invisible red cans on walls,  never looked at,  rarely considered.
fire_extinguisher_training-1 To some they are the joke in a funny story about cooling beer in college or the laugh from the time they shot one off that drunken night.  But in more than 600 businesses and non-residential structures every day in America they are the difference between a minor fire problem and a conflagration.

 
Yes, you read that right, 600 time a day fire extinguishers put out fires in non-residential structures in the United States and many more around the globe.
 

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Inspections, OSHA 1910, Fire Extinguisher, Codes and Standards, Annual Inspection, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Missing Fire Extinguishers, Environmental Protection, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Hotel and Hospitality, Campus Fire and Security, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, NFPA 10 Code Compliance, NFPA 10, Missing Fire Extinguisher, 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


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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

Blocked Fire Extinguishers - Reason #2 30-day Fire Extinguisher Inspections Are Not Sufficient

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/9/10 5:41 PM

Blocked Fire Extinguishers are another serious code violation that are easy to find when you are out running errands or going to meetings.  When access to a fire extinguisher is impeded by an object, it can mean the difference between life and death.  This is another concern the 30-day fire extinguisher inspection is meant to address, but since such a small percentage of these inspections are actually performed, an extinguisher can remained blocked for months - or even years - at a time. 


Here are some pictures of blocked fire extinguishers I have found in just that past few months.


Blocked Fire Extinguishers

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This is a picture of a blocked fire extinguisher location with the extinguisher missing as well.

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Blocked fire extinguishers are commonplace.  Unfortunately, they are also a serious life safety risk for the occupants of any buildings in which they reside.  The 30-day manual inspection as mandated by NFPA 10, is not sufficient to ensure fire extinguishers are accessible and available every day.  The en-Gauge electronic fire extinguisher monitoring system ensures that your extinguishers are where they are supposed to be, free of obstruction and ready to fight fires 24 X 7 X 365.

en-Gauge.  We make the places people go safer.

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Topics: Fire Suppression, Fire Extinguisher Inspections, Fire Extinguisher, Codes and Standards, Annual Inspection, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Missing Fire Extinguishers, Blocked Fire Extinguishers, Compliance, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, Inaccessible Fire Extinguisher, Blocked Fire Extinguisher, Inaccessible Fire Extinguishers, NFPA 10 Code Compliance, NFPA 10, Missing Fire Extinguisher

Joint Commission: en-Gauge equivalent means to monthly physical inspections

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/9/10 5:34 PM
A 2009 survey by the Joint Commission an independent, non-profit organization that accredits health care organizations found that the number one challenge indicated in maintaining the environment of care was fire safety equipment maintenance.

Among the Joint Commission's requirements is the monthly physical maintenance and inspection of fire equipment. Monthly physical inspections can be costly, especially in time and labor required. 

The good news is that like the NFPA and the ICC, the Joint Commission now recognizes en-Gauge's technology as an equivalent to the manual 30-day fire extinguisher inspections. Health care facilities that adopt en-Gauge can reduce risk, stay code compliant and potentially reduce the cost of extinguisher ownership by some 60% over 12 years.

Read the full release for details.
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Topics: Healthcare, Fire Extinguisher Inspections, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Compliance, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, NFPA 10 Code Compliance

Missing Fire Extinguishers - Reason #1 30-day Fire Extinguisher Inspections are not sufficient

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/8/10 5:24 PM

My family has been in the fire protection industry for over 40years,  This breeds a healthy repect for fire and its ability to wreak havoc on lives and property. It also encourages me to keep my eyes open for life safety concerns when I'm out and about. 


One of the most obvious and serious concerns is missing fire extinguishers.  In order to fight fire effectiveley and meet code, fire extinguishers must be easily accessible, so when it is not where it's supposed to be in an emergency, the results can be disastrous.  The locations for fire extinguishers must be clearly marked, so it is veryapparent when one is missing or moved. 


Here are some pictures of missing extinguishers I've taken in the past few weeks.


Missing Fire Extinguishers

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The ease and frequency with which I find missing fire extinguishers is representative of a serious concern.  The 30-day manual inspection as mandated by NFPA 10, is not sufficient to ensure fire extinguishers are where they are supposed to be every day.  The en-Gauge electronic fire extinguisher monitoring system ensures that your extinguishers are where they are supposed to be and ready to fight fires 24X7X365.

en-Gauge.  We make the places people go safer.

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Topics: Fire Suppression, Fire Extinguisher Inspections, Fire Extinguisher, Annual Inspection, Missing Fire Extinguishers, Compliance, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Missing Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher Training - A Critical Component of Your Life Safety Program

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/6/10 4:46 PM

Fire Extinguishers are your organization's first line of defense against fire and a critical part of your life safety plan.  They are designed to put out or control small fires, but it is vital that building occupants understand and get trained on the basics of fire safety and fire extinguisher use. 


Why is fire extinguisher training important? 


According to the University of Norhtern Iowa:

A fire is the most common type of emergency for which all businesses must plan. A critical decision when planning is whether or not employees should fight a small fire with a portable fire extinguisher or simply evacuate. Small fires can often be put out quickly with a portable fire extinguisher. However, to do this safely, the employee must understand the use and limitation of a portable fire extinguisher and the hazards associated with fighting fires.


What does fire extinguisher training consist of?


For an individual to properly assess and react in a fire situation, Fire Extinguisher Training generally consists of several components.


Fire Basics.


The components of fire, how fires start and spread.fire_extinguisher_training


Fuel Classifications. 


Understanding the four types of fuel sources for fires.  A. General Combustibles like wood, cloth, paper, rubber; B. Flamable liquids, gases, greases, Petroleum products; C. Energized electrical equipment, and; D. Combustible metals like sodium, potassium, magnesium


Types of Extinguishers. 


What are they types of extinguisher and which types of fires they can be used on.


How Fire Extinguishers Work. 


Components of a fire extinguisher, how they suppress various types of fires, pressure systems, etc.


Rules for Fighting a Fire. 


What to do before fighting a fire, understanding what is burning, understanding how to approach a fire, identifying your evacuation path, assessing a fire's progress, etc.


How to Use a Fire Extinguisher Properly. 


How the P.A.S.S. (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep) technique works, why it is important and how it is put into practice..



Fire Extinguisher Training is more than just pulling a pin and squeezing.  Implementing a fire extinguisher safety program, informing occupants of the specific building's fire safety procedures, understanding the different classes of fires and different types of fire extinguishers, and receiving training on how to fight a fire CAN save lives.  There are many professional organizations that can provide detailed fire extinguisher training for your organization.  We encourage all businesses to consider this important life safety step.



Electronically monitoring extinguishers with the en-Gauge system ensures these vital life safety tools are available, accessible and in working order 24/7/365.


Subscribe to our blog for more details on fire extinguisher training.

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Topics: Fire Suppression, A Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher, Type D Fire Extinguisher, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, D Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher Training, Campus Fire and Security, B Fire Extinguisher, C Fire Extinguisher, Type A Fire Extinguisher, Type C Fire Extinguisher, Type ABC Fire Extinguisher, ABC Fire Extinguisher

Fire Extinguisher Inspection Defined

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/2/10 4:09 PM

Fire extinguisher inspection is act of ensuring that a fire extinguisher is available, accessible and functioning properly.  Fire extinguisher inspection is required for all fire extinguisher types in the United States.  
medium_fire-extinguisher-inspection-gaugeFire extinguisher inspection is required by state and local fire codes driven by the international fire codes and the National Fire Protection Association(NFPA).  The NFPA fire code that covers fire extinguisher inspection is NFPA 10.  

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Inspections, A Fire Extinguisher, OSHA 1910, Codes and Standards, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Compliance, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, B Fire Extinguisher, C Fire Extinguisher, NFPA 10 Code Compliance, NFPA 10, ABC Fire Extinguisher