en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

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 Exinguisher Vandalism Roundup

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 1/25/11 10:12 AM

Vandals continue to do thousands of dollars of damage and interrupt business and community activities by carelessly using fire extinguishers in acts of vandalism.  We continue to be amazed a how many articles come across our desk describing the damage and disruption caused by these acts of fire extinguisher vandalism.  Here are just a handful of the examples from the last few weeks.


Michigan Church Close For Over A Week Due to Fire Extinguisher Vandalism


The Eureka Christian Church in Clinton County Michigan was extensively vandalized by intruders that took delight in having a fire extinguisher fight with multiple dry chemical fire extinguishers.  According toWILX.com:



Volunteers showed up at Eureka Christian Church to help clean up, but were shocked to find more damage than they could handle. Some people snuck into the church gym and had a ball blasting three fire extinguishers.


"It's everywhere. It's on the tables, on the chairs, on the lights, and on the floor. It's just filth," said Eureka Christian Church member Karry Shears of the extinguisher residue.


"When I walked in and saw the damage my heart fell to the ground," said 43-year church member Todd Colley.


...Their insurance company estimates the job will take at least two weeks to clean, but has not determined how much the damage will cost.


The residue for the fire extinguishers is still thick in the air 3 days after the incident and has covered nearly every surface.


A long term concern the church may need to address is that the dry chemicals from extinguishers is corrosive to electronics and extremely difficult to remove from the delicate instrumentation.  The best way to discourage fire extinguisher vandalism is to know when it is taking place by using a fire extinguisher monitoring solution like that provided by en-Gauge.


 


Vandals Coat Spokane, WA School Gyms with Fire Extinguisherslarge_fire-extinguisher-vandalism-crews-clean-floor


In an all to familiar story, vandals broke into a school overnight and the staff came in to find a huge mess and a major disruption to business as ususal.



This photo from KREM.com gives an indication of just how much area a vandal can impact by discharging just a single fire extinguisher.


 



Former Hewlett-Packard Building Vandalized with Fire Extinguishers


In Greeley, Colorado police arrested 3 teenaged boys involved in a truly expensive act of vandalism.  According to The Greeley Tribune:



Three 16-year-old boys were arrested by Greeley police after they were found inside the old Hewlett-Packard building in west Greeley, where they were accused of causing up to $100,000 in damage.


Greeley police spokesman Sgt. Joe Tymkowych said police received a call from a watchman at the plant, in the 900 block of 71st Avenue, at about 11 a.m. Thursday. The caller said he saw three boys setting off fire extinguishers inside the building.


Police arrived minutes later and found the three boys hiding on the roof of the building.


Based on the feedback from the community regarding this story on the Tribune website, passions are running high about the amount of damage and the need to make an example of these vandals.



$10,000 of damage to Eureka, MO High School Pool due to Fire Exinguisher Vandalism


Why is it that schools get hit so hard by vandals that think it is funny to discharge these vital life safety devices as a prank.  With the vandals caught in this situation and a $10K price tag plus criminal charges pending, they probably no longer think it was a very clever idea.  According to the Eureka-Wildwood Patch:



Damage to the school's pool was deemed "extensive," and estimated to cost  more than $10,000.


Wiegand said the police report filed by Eureka police and school resource officer Michael Smith indicated the incident was reported by Eureka's athletic director Jason Green.


"(Green's) statements outlined that he found chemicals floating in the pool from fire extinguishers being sprayed there, and on the equipment of the school's aquatic sports department, which rendered the pool and items unoperable," Wiegand said.


....Monday night, Eureka High School physical education teacher and swim coach Sharon Wasson said the pool underwent extensive cleaning, but that the swimmers were happy to have it return to operational. St. Louis-based catastrophe and restoration company CATCO, handled the cleaning project.  She said they did a phenomenal job with the situation.


 


Don't be taken by surprise by vandals.  Start monitoring your fire extinguisher 24/7/365 with the en-Gauge electronic fire extinguisher monitoring system and be sure that your first line of defense against fires is where is needs to be, accessible and ready for proper use. 

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Topics: Education, Fire Extinguisher Vandalism, Fire Extinguisher, Vandalism, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Campus Fire and Security, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, ABC Fire Extinguisher

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


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

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

blocked-extinguisher

blog_post_Blocked-Fire-Extinguishers

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

blog_post_Missing-Fire-Extinguisher-FileRoom_1_(3)

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

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

Success Story Roundup, Proving Fire Extinguisher Safety and Fire Codes Work

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 11/19/10 3:18 PM



FireExtinguisher(1)_0Fire Extinguishers are the first line of defense when a fire incident occurs.  For the extinuisher to do its job, it must be available, accessible and function properly - all things the en-Gauge electronic fire extinuisher monitoring solution insures. 

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Topics: Fire Suppression, Fire Extinguisher Inspections, Fire Extinguisher, Codes and Standards, Annual Inspection, Fire Extinguisher Success Stories, Compliance, Campus Fire and Security, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Apartment