5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Fire Safe Office

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A new year brings always brings about motivation for new improvements in our personal lives. But what about improvements in our workplace? Everyone can take measures to help promote a safe work environment, and making sure your office is as fire safe as possible is of utmost importance.

There are many potential fire-starting situations that can be avoided in the workplace by making sure a few guidelines are implemented and that everyone in the office is on the same page. Let’s make our office a fire safe environment in 2015 by incorporating the following guidelines into our New Year’s resolutions.

1.

Practice office-wide fire drills

Practice office-wide fire drills

Holding regular fire drills will ensure that employees know the proper evacuation routes and that they exit the building in a proper and timely fashion. Knowing where the exits are located and what to do in case of an emergency will give you and your employees peace of mind and will help them to keep calm in the event that a threatening situation were to occur. To properly conduct a fire drill, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: First create a safety committee with different team leaders from each department. Each team leader is responsible for making sure their team exits the building.

Step 2: Provide all employees with the evacuation routes and information. Different departments may have different evacuation paths, and it is important that everyone knows where to go in case of an emergency.

Step 3: Next, develop several fire drill scenarios to ensure everyone is prepared for different situations.

Step 4: For initial training, hold drills every two weeks, and then conduct them every three months is sufficient.

2.

Make sure all employees know where fire alarm pull stations and extinguishers are located

Make sure all employees know where fire alarm pull stations and extinguishers are located

When returning from the holiday vacation, hold a meeting for all employees or have each safety committee team leader make sure that each employee knows where the fire alarms and extinguishers are located. Also, have a demonstration of how both are used. Make sure all extinguishers are in their place and are up-to-date.

3.

Test the alarm system twice a year

Test the alarm system twice a year

Just like all other electronics and safety components, alarm systems can wear out, have glitches, or be compromised because of dust, dirt, or other contaminants. To ensure that your alarm system still operates and functions correctly, test it at least twice year. EC&M has summed up testing your alarm system in these five steps:

Step 1: Test and calibrate alarm sensors (flame and smoke detectors) per manufacturer specifications. This requires knowing about the different sensors and their testing requirements, failure modes, and re-installation requirements.

Step 2: Simulate inputs and test the annunciators. This requires specific knowledge of the system under test.

Step 3: Set sensitivity. This requires an understanding of the particular system, the specific application, and fire detection theory.

Step 4: Coordinate with fire department to test the input to their system.

Step 5: Check the battery for corrosion and expiration date, then take appropriate action, if necessary.

4.

Inspect fire sprinkler systems regularly

Inspect fire sprinkler systems regularly

The leading cause of substantial fire damage in buildings with a fire sprinkler system is from the sprinkler control valves being turned off. Sprinkler control valves should be examined every so often to ensure that they are locked in the wide open position. Sometimes, a sprinkler control valve is shut off to conduct repairs or maintenance. After the repairs are done, be sure to turn the valve back on. The NFPA suggests that a weekly visual inspection be done on unsupervised valves and monthly visual inspections of locked or supervised valves. Also, look for any leaks or anything else that looks out of the ordinary.

5.

Keep the office area clean and don’t allow trash and litter to accumulate unnecessarily.

Keep the office area clean and don’t allow trash and litter to accumulate unnecessarily.

A clean office isn’t just visually appealing and comfortable, but it also decreases the chances of fire. It has been proven that places that are unclean and have unnecessary clutter and litter are more of a fire hazard. Clean out old papers periodically, and make sure everyone is doing their job in keeping the office space clean, neat, and tidy.

If you have a dangerous situation that you are unsure how to correct, call S&S to help keep everyone safe. S&S is skilled in correcting dangerous work atmospheres, and making sure that businesses are as safe as possible right from the start.

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RESOURCES////////////////////////////////////////////////////

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/conduct-fire-drill-work-10444.html

http://ecmweb.com/content/fire-alarm-system-testing-inspection-and-maintenance

https://www.disastersafety.org/commercial_maintenance/fire-sprinkler-maintenance-and-operation-a-guide-for-small-business/

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The 12 Work Days of a Safe Christmas

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Christmas is a time to put work aside and to spend quality moments with your loved ones. The last thing you want to do this holiday season is to worry about your office building’s safety when you’re celebrating the holiday. To keep you focused on the things that matter most and to give you peace of mind during Christmas, try putting into practice these twelve security and fire safety tips.

DAY 1

Avoid using candles in the workplace.

Avoid using candles in the workplace.

While the warm light and holiday scents of a candle can brighten the atmosphere of your office space, they are a hazard when it comes to fire safety. Today, there are several new products on the market that smell, feel, and look like real candles, yet they are battery operated and flameless. If using a candle is a must, keep it at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn easily, make sure it is in a stable holder where it cannot be knocked down, and never leave a burning candle unattended.

DAY 2

Be safe and smart when decorating with Christmas lights.

Decorating with Christmas lights adds holiday cheer to your work environment. Before doing so, inspect all stringed lights for broken cords, loose bulb connections, cracked sockets, and frayed or loose wires. Be careful with hanging lights not to damage the insulation on the wire. According to the NFPA, you should connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Always use a correctly sized and grounded cord that has been tested by UL or another independent testing lab. Avoid using extension cords when possible, and be sure to only use indoor lights when indoors and outdoor lights when needed outdoors.

DAY 3

Use caution while using space heaters in the office.

Use caution while using space heaters in the office.

You may need a personal heater to keep yourself warm at work during the holiday season, but make sure you are taking the proper precautions. Heaters should have a minimum of 18 inches of clearance on all sides and should be equipped with an automatic tip-over switch to shut the unit off if it is knocked over. For a more thorough list of space heater safety in the office, check out our office heater blog post here.

DAY 4

Turn off holiday lighting before leaving the office.

Turn off holiday lighting before leaving the office.

While you may want to display your lighted holiday decorations through the night, over the weekend, or through the holiday break, it is best not to leave these lights on unattended for an extended period of time.

DAY 5

Be aware that your fire sprinkler system pipes are at risk of freezing.

Be aware that your fire sprinkler system pipes are at risk of freezing.

Your wet pipe sprinkler systems are at risk of freezing during low temps, which could call for major business disruption and expensive and time-consuming repairs. Make sure your building maintains enough heat during extremely cold periods during the holiday season, especially when staff is out of the office for long periods of holiday and vacation time. Inspect your fire sprinkler system for any leaks or damages. To learn more about avoiding frozen fire sprinkler pipes, click here.

DAY 6

Make sure your building is well-lit when closed for the holidays.

Make sure your building is well-lit when closed for the holidays.

While your business is closed for the holidays, be sure to keep your building well lit— both inside and outside. Burglars are looking to invade seemingly vacant areas, so keeping some lights on at your place of business will reduce this risk.

DAY 7

Always arm your security system before you leave.

Always arm your security system before you leave.

If you have an alarm system at your place of business, be sure to arm it before you or any employees leave each night and especially before leaving for an extended period for the holidays. This will give you peace of mind which will help you focus on what really matters during the holidays.

DAY 8

Make sure your live Christmas tree does not dry out.

If you opt to buy a real Christmas tree for your office, check to see that it has fresh green needles and that the needles are difficult to pull out. This is an indication of a fresh, healthy tree. Dried-out Christmas trees are highly flammable, so make sure you water your tree at least once a day. This also keeps the tree from getting needles everywhere.

DAY 9

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Display alarm service decals on the outside of you building.

You may be worried about the protection of your building when you’re closed for a prolonged period of time over the holidays. To let potential criminals know that your business is protected, make sure you have decals of your alarm service visibly displayed on the outside of your building. A prominently displayed warning such as this can often stop a burglary before it starts.

DAY 10

Make sure your Christmas tree is not too close to a heating source.

Make sure your Christmas tree is not too close to a heating source.

According to a study by the NFPA, 20% of Christmas tree fires were caused by trees being too close to a heating source. Make sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles, heat vents, or lights. Doing so will prevent your tree from drying up quicker which would make it more likely to catch fire

DAY 11

Check the battery in your smoke alarm.

Check the battery in your smoke alarm.

Because of decorations and live trees, your building may be at a higher risk of fire during the holiday season. To ensure you and your employees are at their safest, check the battery in your smoke alarm weekly and make sure it is working properly.

DAY 12

Turn off all appliances when leaving for the holidays.

Turn off all appliances when leaving for the holidays.

Unless they’re made to stay on, make sure you switch off all electrical appliances at your workplace before you leave for the holidays. Always turn off and unplug Christmas lights before leaving the building overnight or over the holiday break.

At S&S Sprinkler, we believe that prevention is better than the cure. We want to make sure your automatic fire sprinkler system, facility, and business are sustained through this holiday season. Contact S&S Sprinkler to talk office fire safety at sssprinkler.com, or call 251.473.6000 for any fire sprinkler, alarm & office security questions.

The S&S family wants you and your employees to have a wonderful, happy, and safe holiday!

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RESOURCES ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

https://www.northeast-security.com/blog/post/holiday-fire-safety-tips-for-homeowners

http://kralarmlink.com/christmas-home-security-tips/

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/christmas-tree-fires/christmas-tree-safety-tips

http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments/Holiday-Safety-Tips.pdf

Avoid Frozen Fire Sprinkler Pipes This Winter

With the entire country sinking into a below-freezing polar plunge, there is at least one concern that is on everyone’s minds this winter— frozen pipes, one of the biggest risks of property damage during the cold winter months. But have you ever stopped to think about your fire sprinkler system being affected by these biting cold temps? Your wet pipe sprinkler systems could become the cause of considerable water damage to your building, which would call for major business disruption plus expensive and time-consuming repairs. To help you keep your fire protection system and your building in tip-top shape, here are five preventative measures to consider this winter season.

1.

Maintain enough heat during periods of extreme cold to keep the fire sprinkler pipes from freezing. 

Maintain enough heat during periods of extreme cold to keep the fire sprinkler pipes from freezing.

The number one cause of freezing wet pipe fire sprinkler systems is due to a lack of adequate heat in your facility. This can occur by the shutting down of your heating system, heat escaping from cracks or holes in your building, or any other cause of insufficient heat in your facility. To make sure your place is nice and warm, check your heating system to make sure that it is delivering heat to all areas of the facility, and check room temps frequently, especially if they get near 40 degrees.

2.

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Inspect your fire sprinkler system and look for any leaks or damage.

Just like anything in life, your automatic fire sprinkler system can run into problems and become run-down over time. Examine your system to ensure that its integrity isn’t compromised, especially in these low winter temps. Repair, replace, or refasten broken, missing, or loose sprinkler pipe hangers. This will ensure proper pitch of the sprinkler piping and will assure good drainage. To determine if above or underground piping may have frozen water, contact your fire protection professional at S&S.

3.

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Physically inspect all buildings and any area protected by automatic sprinkler protection before the cold weather season arrives.

This is to ensure that there are no areas with inadequate heat and that everything is in place so that the elements of your fire protection system are not exposed to the chilly weather. Keep your eye out for places where cold air could be coming through, such as broken windows, cracks in the structure, unsealed or open doors, loose sidings, etc. Make sure you check for drafts or air leaks in seldom visited areas where there are fire sprinkler pipes. After your inspection, be sure to repair anything in your facility that could promote frozen sprinkler pipes.

4.

Freeze-ups in wet sprinkler systems occur most frequently during weekend or other shut down periods when a sudden cold snap.

Freeze-ups in wet sprinkler systems occur most frequently during weekend or other shut down periods when a sudden cold snap.

We know that the weekends and holidays are times reserved for you to spend with your family and friends— not for worrying about building maintenance. But, it’s smart to keep in mind that these are the times when most fire sprinkler freeze-ups occur. Make sure you follow the proper steps of assuring your system is safe from the chill before your establishment will be closed for an extended period of time. For added security, temperature-signaling devices monitored by alarm services can be installed to alert you when your system is in danger of a freeze.

At S&S Sprinkler, we believe that prevention is better than the cure. We want to make sure your automatic fire sprinkler system, facility, and business are sustained through these frigid months. Contact S&S Sprinkler to talk office fire safety at at sssprinkler.com, or call 1-800-443-5897 for any fire sprinkler, alarm, & office security questions.

Stay warm. Stay safe!

S&S does more than just design and install fire sprinkler systems. We can also inspect, maintain, and repair when necessary.

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RESOURCES ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2838901/Second-polar-plunge-bring-record-November-chills-South.html

http://www.gowrie.com/pdfs/PreventingSprinklerSystemFreeze-Ups.pdf

http://www.bollingerinsurance.com/newver/golf/pdf/2007/106%20-%20Preventing%20Fire%20Sprinkler%20Freeze-ups.pdf

Tis The Season To Deck the Office Halls – Office Safety Tips For Christmas

S&S_christmas_office_saferThe holidays are upon us which means many offices decorate their workspace: stringing the lights, finding the perfect Christmas tree, and hanging the decorations. Did you know that from December 15 to December 31 – the height of the holiday season – the number of fires, deaths, injuries, and property losses are significantly higher than the rest of the year? Experts say that, on average, Christmas-time incidents increase by the following amounts:

•       Fires increase by 18%
•       Fire-related deaths increase by 25%
•       Fire-related injuries increase by 24%
•       Property losses increase by 7%

Many home and office fire incidents during this time of year can be the result of holiday activities like cooking, decorating, social gatherings, burning candles, and consuming alcohol and cigarettes (maybe at holiday parties). When these increased activities are coupled with our daily busy schedules, visitors, and the many other distractions that occur in most offices, we pay less attention to fire hazards and, as a result, increase the risk of fire. To make your holiday season a little safer, here are a few safety precautions. Following these safety tips will help ensure a happy and safe holiday season for you and your co-workers:

Christmastime Safety tips

The careful decoration and maintenance of your Christmas tree can go a long way in making your holiday season safe and enjoyable.

• Before purchasing your tree check for freshness, do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles. Few needles should fall when the tree is tapped on the ground. Needles should not bend or break and the trunk should be sticky to the touch with resin.

• Families should cut 2 to 4 centimeters off the bottom of the trunk on the diagonal placing the tree in water as soon as possible once getting it home. Place your tree in a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.

• Many trees have been dormant for a couple months, it’s typical for them to absorb most of their water within six to eight hours after being brought into a warm home. Trees that are kept fresh during the holiday season are much more difficult to ignite, which is why it is critical for consumers to commit to the care of their Christmas tree. If the water level falls below the cut surface for more than four to six hours, the tree’s ability to keep absorbing moisture is inhibited. Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily.

• Make sure the tree is at least three feet (one meter) away from any heat source, such as fireplaces and radiators. Try to position the tree near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place the tree where it may block exits.

• When decorating your tree, always use lights listed by a testing laboratory. Some lights are designed only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both. Larger tree lights should also have some type of reflector rather than a bare bulb.

• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use tree lights. Any string of lights with worn, frayed, or broken cords or loose bulb connections should not be used. Connect no more than three strands of push‐in bulbs and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw‐in bulbs.

• Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

• Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and make sure any lit candles in the room are placed well away from tree branches.

• Regularly check your tree for fresh, green needles. Trees that have dried out over several weeks burn faster than fresh, well‐watered trees. Remember to keep your tree watered at all times.

• Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried‐out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage, or placed against the house.

• Children are fascinated with Christmas trees. Keep a watchful eye on them when around the tree and do not let them play with the wiring or lights. Store matches and lighters up high, out of reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

• Always keep candles, as well as matches and lighters, out of the reach of children, and don’t leave children unattended in a room with lit candles.

• If you purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire‐retardant.

• Look for the holographic UL Mark on light strings and electrical decorations. The UL Mark means that UL engineers have tested samples of the product for safety hazards.

Green holographic UL Mark = Indoor‐only use

Red holographic UL Mark = Indoor and outdoor use

• Carefully inspect each electrical decoration ‐ new or old ‐ before plugging it in.  Cracked sockets, frayed, bare or loose wires can cause a serious electric shock or start a fire. Replace damaged items with new, UL‐Listed decorations.

• Take down holiday lights after 90 days of use to prevent damage from weather conditions and neighborhood animals and to extend their life.

Have a safe and wonderful Merry Christmas.

Contact S&S Sprinkler to talk safety for your company at sssprinkler.com, or call 251.473.6000 for any commercial fire sprinkler, alarm, notification, or security questions.

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Scary Simple Fire Safety Halloween Tips

S&S_hallo_header_blogHalloween is a time for scary fun, not a nightmare. Halloween is a busy time for fire system experts and firemen. According to the NFPA:
During the five-year-period of 2006-2010, NFPA estimates that decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 1,000 reported home structure fires per year. These fires caused an estimated average of six civilian deaths, 53 civilian injuries and $16 million in direct property damage per year.

Below are some simple fire safety and fire protection tips to keep you, your co-workers, and your little goblins safe during the trick or treat season.

Fire Safety Halloween Tips:

1. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily catch fire.
S&S_hallo_costume_blog2. Use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a jack-o-lantern instead of a flame.

3. Supervise children at all times when open flames are used in Jack-O-Laterns or any other hallloween decorations.

4. Use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter when lighting a Jack-O-Latern.

5. Keep lit traditional pumpkins away from anything that can catch on fire like drapes and linens.
S&S_hallo_pumpkins_blog6. Keep lit traditional pumpkins well away from trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.

7. Remember to keep doors and fire exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
S&S_hallo_decorations_blog8. Remind children to stay away from open flames.

9. Make sure children know how to stop, drop and roll if their costume catches fire.

10. Use flashlights or led lights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards.

From our S&S family to your – HAVE A FUN, SAFE and SPOOKY HALLOWEEN.

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For more information, a consultation, or an estimate request by phone call 1-800-443-5897.

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RESOURCES //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

www.good4utah.com

www.nfpa.org

Extinquishing Factory Fire Risks

S&S_manufacturing_fire_risk_headerWhile doing some research we found this great article (on manufacturing.net by the Zurich Insurance Group) on the importance in creating a pre-fire plan in manufacturing plants and warehouses. According to Cindy Slubowski, vice president and head of manufacturing at Zurich, a commercial property and casualty insurance provider. “Most fires are preventable, and the risks can be reduced dramatically.”
S&S_manufacturing_fire_quoteZurich North American goes on to write and recommend (S&S couldn’t agree more) that factory owners and plant managers take these five important steps to help prevent and decrease future fire risk:

1) Gather information – Accumulate property and tenant data. Note any unoccupied floors, alarm system details, hydrant availability, information on fire protection equipment and heating and cooling systems, and quantities and locations of hazardous materials. List all tenant locations and their contact information, descriptions of their businesses, hours of operation, when they are on site, and if they have employees with specific rescue needs.

2) Document and publish information – Develop written plans that are easy to understand, accessible and regularly updated. Include property and tenant data, as well as maps and diagrams that reflect the building’s construction (size, height and fire-rated walls) and the surrounding property’s configuration. Include blueprints, floor plans and aerial photographs. Publish the information in binders, on your server and in the cloud for electronic access.

3) Host building walk-throughs – Periodically invite the fire department to visit. Direct knowledge of a building may help save lives and minimize damage. Inspections and walk-throughs are especially important in complex buildings and neighborhoods predominantly served by volunteer firefighters because officers frequently change.

4) Practice, practice, practice – Conduct regular drills to teach employees exit strategies in the event of a fire. Everyone should know how to safely reach the exits during an evacuation. Employees should meet outside at a pre-determined location so a head count can be taken.

5) Assign tasks – Owners and occupants are just as vital to a pre-fire plan as fire departments. Appoint fire wardens who will evacuate building occupants during a fire. Also appoint people likely to be in the building at all hours to notify the fire department in an emergency.

Click here to read full article on manufacturing.net

The NFPA estimates that it costs U.S. Plants 1 billion dollars a year in fire loss. At S&S we agree with Zurich that consulting with your insurance provider (and your fire protection company), installing the proper fire sprinkler / suppression system and committing to implementing a comprehensive fire prevention and safety plan is smart for employee safety, property protection, and your financial bottom line.

RESOURCES////////////////////////////
http://www.manufacturing.net/articles/2014/10/5-tips-to-extinguish-factory-fire-risks////////////////////////////////////////////

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