en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

Uninspected Fire Extinguishers Can Be a Matter of Life or Death

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 5/24/11 11:29 AM

en-Gauge is dedicated to improving life safety, and for years we have been discussing the dangers related to uninspected and empty, missing and blocked fire extinguishers.  Still, it never fails to distress us when we learn about a situation where uninspected fire extinguishers are a contributing factor to the loss of life.  

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Topics: Fire Extinguisher Inspections, Fire Extinguisher, Annual Inspection, Fire Extinguisher Inspection, Uninspected Fire Extinguishers, Fire Extinguisher Monitoring, 30 Day Fire Extinguisher Inspection, NFPA 10 Code Compliance, Apartment, NFPA 10, Empty Fire Extinguisher, Fire Fatality, Depressurized Fire Extinguisher

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

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

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