en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

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

Fire Extinguisher Types - Type A Fire Extinguishers

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 1/3/11 9:30 AM

Class A Fire Extinguisher - also called Type A Fire Extinguishers

A Class A fire extinguisher consists of a hand  held cylindrical pressure vessel and an agent that can be used to extinguish an ordinary fire.  For a Class A extinguisher, that agent is water, and a Class A Extinguisher is effective against  ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics.water_fire_extinguisher


All fire extinguishers fight fire by utilizing an agent to act
 upon the chemistry of the fire by removing one or more of the three elements necessary to maintain fire—commonly referred to as the fire triangle. The three sides of the fire triangle are fuel, heat, and oxygen. The agent acts to remove the heat by cooling the fuel or to produce a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen supply in the surrounding air. Once the fire triangle is broken, the fire goes out.  In the case of a Class A extinguisher, the agent cools the fuel and breaks the triangle.

    

The numerical rating on Class A extinguishers indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.  Information on the numerical rating can be found on the label on the device

There are many types of fires, and there is no single type of fire extinguisher that can suppress all types of fires.  While  water has proven effective in extinguishers used against wood, paper and plastic fires (Class A), a Type A fire extinguisher should never be used on an electrical fire as it is an electrical conductor.  For this reason, it is not safe as an agent to fight electrical fires where live circuits are present (Class C). In addition, Class A extinguishers should also not to be used to fight flammable liquid fires (Class B), especially in tanks or vessels. In this instance, water can cause an explosion due to flammable liquids floating on the water and continuing to burn. In addition, a powerful stream of water can splatter the burning liquid to other combustibles.Furthermore, Class A extinguishers should not be used to fight metal fires (Class D) where flaming metals such as magnesium and titanium.

 

In Class A or water fire extinguishers, the water can freeze inside the extinguisher at lower temperatures.  If you plan on keeping your Type A fire extinguisher in areas subject to below freezing temperatures, anti-freeze water extinguisher are available, which uses a non-flamable anti-freeze to prevent the liquid in the extinguisher from freezing. 


Type A fire extinguishers are produced by most major fire extinguisher manufacturers, includingAmerexAnsulBadgerBuckeye and Kidde.

All Class A fire extinguishers must be monitored an maintained according to local, state and federal codes.  Electronic monitoring of extinguishers, like that provided by the en-Gauge electronic monitoring system, is available for all Class A fire extinguishers

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Inspections, A Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher, Equipment, Type A Fire Extinguisher, Badger Fire Extinguishers, Kidde Fire Extinguishers, Amerex Fire Extinguishers

Electronic Monitoring Works With All Types of Fire Extinguishers

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/15/10 8:57 AM

All too often we are asked if the en-Gauge technology will work with “X” brand of fire extinguisher 
Amerex-fire-extinguisher-logoand over and over we give the same reply, yes.


medium_buckeye-fire-extinguisher-logoYes to Amerex. Yes to Ansul. Yes to Badger. Yes to Buckeye. Yes to Kidde. Yes, Yes Yes. (Note the alphabetical response).

Any fire extinguisher that requires a pressure gauge can be retrofitted with en-Gauge technology
ansul-fire-extinguisher-logo. A standard pressure gauge has a component UL listing and so does an en-Gauge enabled pressure gauge. So if your building has Buckeye fire extinguishers and you want to retrofit them, you may. Your new project specifies Amerex extinguishers? No problem.

CO2 extinguishers or cartridge operated units, also not a problem. There’s an en-Gauge collar that can be 
badger-fire-extinguisher-logo_(1)utilized with these
kidde-fire-extinguisher-logotypes of units and will monitor for location, position, obstruction and immediate removal.

So as you are looking at the Kidde or Ansul extinguishers in your facility and you want to get them en-Gauge enabled – go right ahead.

 

 

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher, Type D Fire Extinguisher, D Fire Extinguisher, B Fire Extinguisher, C Fire Extinguisher, Type A Fire Extinguisher, Type B Fire Extinguisher, Type C Fire Extinguisher, Type ABC Fire Extinguisher, ABC Fire Extinguisher, Badger Fire Extinguishers, Kidde Fire Extinguishers, Buckeye Fire Extinguishers, Ansul Fire Extinguishers, Amerex Fire Extinguishers

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

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

blog_post_Missing-Fire-Extinguisher

Missing-Fire-Extinguisher-Empty-Cabinet

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Missing-Fire-Extinguisher-Under-Sign_(1)

blog_post_Missing-Fire-Extinguisher-FileRoom_1

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 - Bullex Digital Solutions for Improved Live Training

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 12/7/10 4:58 PM

en-Gauge is great proponent of Fire Extinguisher Training and believes it is a vital aspect of every organization's life safety program.  With that said, we love how Bullex Digital Safety is using innovative technology to improve fire extinguisher training for thousands of people (major bonus, they do so while lowering live training's cost and impact on the environment).


Their Interactive Training System (I.T.S) uses a portable fire system that runs on propane to simulate a fire in its early stages.  The program takes advantage of a Type A water extinguisher for the exercises (cutting down on expense and environmental impact, while allowing for quick and easy refills), even though the fire unit can simulate a class A, B or C fire.  The system reacts to the technique that the student utilizes when trying to put out the fire and ensures that the student fight the fire effectively.  With multiple levels of difficulty, the system can provide a challenge for all students going through fire extinguisher training.


Check out this video for details on how it works:



They also offer a purely digital fire solution (called HotShot) in which students utilize real extinguishers to put out 'digital' fires, while still using real extinguishers.  This provides a great solution for situations in which live fire is not an option.

 



Understanding fire and how to effectively fight it requires fire extinguisher training. With companies like BullEx leading the way, ensuring building occupants are ready in an emergency just got easier.

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Topics: Fire Suppression, A Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher, Type D Fire Extinguisher, Environmental Protection, D Fire Extinguisher, Fire Extinguisher Training, B Fire Extinguisher, C Fire Extinguisher, Type A Fire Extinguisher, Type B Fire Extinguisher, Type C Fire Extinguisher, Type ABC Fire Extinguisher, Environment, ABC 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.


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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