Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fire Protection: Christmas Tree Safety

We all know it's Christmas time and you're excited about having your tree set up and decorated. We can't fault you for that because that time of the year brings out the kid in us but that doesn't mean we should forget about fire protection. With Christmas trees both artificial and real you must be careful in how you decorate and set them up. By properly adorning your tree you will make the Yule tide season a much safer one. Now we don't want to discourage you from having the brightest, nicest tree on the block but we want you to be careful in doing so. Fair enough?

Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer. It's imperative to realize that the fires associated with Christmas trees spread really fast. Therefore you have to be very careful. Here are some facts related to Christmas tree fires to let you know how dangerous an occurrence this can be.

Some important facts related to Christmas Tree related fires:
It's been noted that 59% of fires happen in December, and 24% occurred the following month in January. From the time frame of 2003-2006, fire departments came to the aid of 240 home fires that were Christmas Tree related. Amongst the fires deaths at averaged at 16 people, injuries were at a number of 25 and property damage neared $13.1 million. Thankfully these fires are not an epidemic however when one happens they can cause grand damage. Out of every fifteen tree related fires that happen a death has occurred.

Some tips to ensure fire protection with Christmas Trees

Artificial trees must be marked, established and certified by its maker as fire retardant. If you're selecting a real tree make sure its needles are fresh and that they don't fall off when touched. Trees before they are placed in their stands must have 1-2" cut from the trunk's base. Your tree should be a minimum of three feet away from any sort of heat making source. This includes vents, candles, fire places, radiators and lights. Avoid having a tree getting in the way of an exit.

Tree lighting guidance

Lights that have a certification to prove they've been tested are the ones you should use. You'll find both indoor and outdoor lights but you'll never find types that are used for both. If any of your lights are damaged or broken you should replace them. You'll want to make sure your connections do not exceed more than three strands in its light sets. Screw in bulbs should not go over 50 bulbs. When lighting a tree never use candles as your light source either, that could be pretty dangerous! When tree is not in use make sure you turn the lights off.

When it's time to take your tree down here's what you should know. When needles start to drop get rid of the tree. Trees that are dried out will pose a great threat for a potential in fires. Therefore your attempt to institute fire protection will be in danger if you don't properly dispose of the tree. Also make sure to bring back your outdoor light fixtures if you have any and store them away once the season is over. In closing enjoy the Christmas season dear reader but never forget the importance of fire protection, you'll be grateful for it in the long run.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fire Protection | Electrical Hazards

For as grateful as we are for the benefits of electrical power we must also learn to be respectful of what it can do. Fire protection is vital in the way of electrical hazards because fires can potentially occur from an electrical faux pas. So here are some quick ideas we can throw your way to ensure fire safety with electrical appliances:

Overloading your electrical sockets is a don’t! Octopus outlets are a prime example of what you shouldn’t use in the way of electrical plugs. Never use a light bulb which has wattage that exceeds its receptacle. Look inside your receptacle to find out its allocation for watts.
Weakened wires, lighting fixtures and receptacles should be checked for don’t let it get to the point where sparks fly, literally! For appliance like televisions, stereos and computers allow for enough to space to get proper air flow. Blown fuses and circuit breaker issues should indicate that any associated devices get terminated. See what we mean by how important fire protection is with electrical items?

All your electrical accessories should have the Underwriters Laboratories seal of approval or UL as it’s more commonly known as. With more aged houses a lot of wiring setups are not on the same level as newer setups. However in any setup new or old look out for these warning signs to ensure proper fire protection in the way of electrical hazards. Dimming lights when you turn on equipment and your TV screen minimizing. Your heating equipment doesn’t run at its usual level or constant blown fuses.

When this happens be sure to get a qualified technician into survey the problem. This could make all the difference in the world of a house fire or a simple repair job. We definitely want you to go with the former. The latter could result in a lot of problems and that is something we want to prevent from you going through.

That doesn’t mean you should become an electric-phobe though. Electrical appliances are a miracle. After all who doesn’t like having a Blu-Ray Player or an XBOX 360 running in high-def?! But nevertheless it’s a good idea to follow the rules and make sure that nothing is going to be starting a spark in your household. If that happens then your items get rendered rather useless after that.

That’s not really something that we have in mind when we think of having electrical equipment. However responsibility is key in running these setups properly so it’s worth the time to remember how to properly ensure fire safety with your appliances. Just remember to consult the pros at this one if there are any further questions you have in this matter. It never hurts to ask questions even if you may feel self-conscious about it. It’s definitely better than the alternative of what could happen.

In closing though we can’t stress enough the importance of fire protection when it comes to electrical hazards. It’s paramount to ensure that frayed wires and loose connections are kept to a minimum.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fire Protection | Some Things To Be Aware Of With Heat Sources

Fire protection is a necessary practice to ensure that your home is safe and sound from the ravages that a fire can enact upon your living space. Heat sources are notorious for this. Devices such as fire places and furnaces must be properly monitored. Therefore we bundled up some tips for you to go by to help ensure that your house does not become a statistics in a home disaster. Let's begin now shall we?


The following is some common sense stuff but nevertheless we should still tell you because it's our duty to keep you educated on every method of fire protection out there. With smoking here are some of the things to make sure that you take care of when in the privacy of your own home. First thing never smoke in your bed one little ash can create a whole nightmare if it lands on your sheet. If you're totally fatigued you should probably wait until the next morning to have a cigarette. Your ashtray should be big and have a large capacity but still be sure to throw out the ashes constantly. Always make sure when disposing ashes that you wet them and the butts as well.


For space heaters never leave one running when you are not in the room. You'll definitely want to make sure that they stay at a minimum distance of three feet from anything that could catch fire. This includes things like curtains and so on. With both the furnace and space heater never put anything like flammable materials, papers and fabrics. Your furnace installation should be handled by a professional and looked before every season that it'll be in use. Extension cords with space heaters are also a no-no, this is due to their high level of power that they put out which can potentially lead to a fire. After all this article is about fire protection right? Therefore we want to let you know what'll help make that less of a likelihood.


Be careful with a fireplace, that should go without saying but sometimes people may forget that they're intentionally bringing a fire into their house so therefore it has to be handled with responsibility and care. The first thing you want to make sure is that you don't put anything that can catch fire near the fireplace. This is stuff like paper materials, or kindling wood. Your chimney should be inspected thoroughly so no build up exists. With gas fireplaces make sure you light the match before gas is turned on.


This is definitely an essential appliance in your household but it too is subject to fire protection. Here's some things to do combat against it. Dryers must have their venting system run to the outside and not stay inside your dwelling. Proper maintenance of the airway in your dryer must be kept up by cleaning it out. Never put any heat retaining materials in your dryer. This include rubber, plastic, foam and synthetic made fabrics.

In all, it's important to be aware of fire protection when dealing with what some people think are merely simple things but always be aware and have a healthy respect for what's around you. In the end it could save your life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fire Protection | Sprinkler Systems

The technology that has created the fire protection solution known as sprinkler systems dates back to 1874 in New Haven, CT. Since that time the technology remains very basic but yet stays very important as a means to help protect people and structures from the ravages of flame. We can’t be grateful enough for this invention due to its accurate and necessary role in fire safety.

Sprinkler systems have come in more than one form over the years and we’ll explain a bit about them. For starters you have automatic sprinklers. These types work at a temperature that is already set to activate once that temperature is reached. This is achieved when a device such as a bulb or other catalyst is melted and releases a substance which enables the flow of water to start. From there a deflector is activated in the system and the water flow continues.

Today’s sprinkler’s typically go in a down direction. Most of these sprinkler systems operate one by one in a few. This is in contrast to what most people may think however there are setups that do allow for an entire sprinkler system to activate but that is only if it’s necessary to do so. The open orifice sprinklers are used a little differently and you only see them occur in a water spray setup or deluge sprinkler. There is no temperature detection on these so therefore the level of degrees is not a factor.

Another thing to make note of with the automatic fire sprinklers that use a bulb is that there is a color code that goes into how their temperature of operation works. The temperatures are set to work with what kind of hazard is particularly going on. The system gauges the severity of the situation and its acts from there.

Therefore the actual number of sprinklers that are going to work at the same time depends on how many are near the fire that is occurring at the time. It’s definitely a technology that has been well thought out and has gotten only better with time without getting too fancy. It does its job that much we can definitely say.

Today’s world definitely still relies on them as a means of fire protection and the device never ceases to do its job and do it well. Many residential areas such as apartment buildings also utilize the use of sprinkler systems. Other public buildings definitely make sure to have sprinklers installed as well.

This coupled with fire extinguishers make for a very formidable setup in the event a fire wants to rage its way through. Now while we won’t argue with you that getting blasted with sprinklers may not be something you want but we’re sure it’s something you’d rather have happen than the alternative.

Hey, sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. In this case we’ll gladly go that route with sprinkler systems since they are an invaluable means of fire safety. No doubt about it. In the end, it’s one of the most reliable methods of fire protection out there.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fire Protection | Some Precautions and Plans

Whether you know everything there is to know about fire protection or your base of knowledge isn’t that expansive reading this article still won’t hurt. Since it’s our duty to inform you our dear readers of various topics, we feel obligated like always to make sure we’re doing our jobs properly. There are not many topics out there that are important as this one so here are some things you’ll want to know both in the way of precaution and reaction to a fire safety situation.

The following is some information from the National Fire Protection Association:

The year 2003 saw 80% of United States fires taking place in a home. This unfortunate occurrence led to 3,925 deaths in total. Statistics also show that every 134 minutes a home fire claims the life of an individual. In Canada fatal injuries happen almost every 31 hours. Almost fifty percent of fire related deaths in the home in the United States result from fires that are reported between 10am and 6pm. By and large smoking is one the top cause of home fire deaths but from December-February heating equipment wasn’t too far behind in this statistic. Another frightening statistic uncovered by the NFPA is in regards to fire responses. Every 20 seconds a fire department responds to a fire at some point in the United States.

Keeping this in mind here are some tips we can give you to make a safe exit plan in the event that fire protection doesn’t work out and your house is victim to flame. Here’s what we can tell you to do in the event that you must flee your home:
  • It’s essential you create a floor plan of your house, this plan must detail at minimum of two exits in each of the rooms.
  • Make sure that when you sleep your bedroom door remains closed. If a fire occurs it will help keep excess heat and smoke away. Do not use the door as a means of escape if it’s hot find a way out through your window if possible.
  • Escape ladders are available through many different vendors and retail areas. You can buy these items at prices starting at around the $90 range.
  • Set up a meeting point outside of your home where fellow occupants will meet for accountability purposes.
  • Always be sure that you stay with your group and as far away from the fire as possible. Dial 911 from another place and ensure that no one acts brave and rushes back into the building.
  • Look through hallways and stair cases to prevent any trip hazards from being in the area. This could prove to be fatal if corrective action is not taken.
Always make sure that areas such as basements, attics, garages and closets don’t have items that can cause a fire. This is probably one of the most basic and vital means for fire protection.
In closing, we can’t stress the point enough that fire protection is essential but it’s also important to know how to protect you in the event that a fire actually does occur. With these guidelines we’re sure that the cooler head will prevail even in the hottest of situations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

When it comes to fire protection the maintenance of fire extinguishers is essential. For this life saving devices to properly work a qualified individual or set of individuals is tasked with this responsibility. If not done on a regular basis really unnecessary things may happen such as a lack of functionality of rupturing of the extinguisher. This has resulted in death and severe injury in the past. There is not a universal fire code in the United States. Most places require monthly inspection to guarantee that proper pressure is present and not obstructed. Yearly inspections also occur on the equipment by a qualified individual. For water and CO2 based models a hydrostatic pressure test is performed every five years. This same test is done every twelve years for dry chemical models.

Not too long ago the National Fire Protection Association and the ICC voted to get rid of the monthly inspection in favor of electronic monitoring. From the NFPA’s point of view this setup keeps an electronic log at its computer systems. This requires constant supervision and attention. This will look for all the same things that the monthly tests had. When and if problems are found the system will notify officials to quickly remedy the occurrence. This monitoring is available in both wired and wireless modes. Below are the United States’ standards on maintenance:

Internal Maintenance - For internal maintenance the following extinguishers are monitored by these time tables: Water – Annually, Foam- Every three years, Wet Chemical/CO2 – Every Five years and Dry Powder, Halon and Clean Agents – Every 6 years

From this point the extinguisher is purged of all chemicals to check for accuracy. After it passes all its tests the extinguisher is then replenished and ready to be sent out for use once again. Cartridge operated extinguishers should be looked at but they don’t require any verification of service label.

Maintenance Inspection: This is done every year. Every variety of extinguisher except for water based which must be recharged every year will have a full on fine toothed comb inspection. The fire protection based device is looked at to make sure its pressure is normal. That it’s extinguishing agent is at its proper volume it’ll be weighed by the technician during inspection. It must also fall within the guidelines of its hydrotest and meet the internal maintenance criteria too. Proper working condition and parts are looked for on the extinguisher. Dry chemical/powder varieties are tested via the hit of a rubber mallet. This is to test the flow of the powder in the extinguisher this process is called “fluffing”.

In all the process of fire extinguishers are important because it is a first line of defense in the event of a fire. A properly working and maintained extinguisher can save the day in most cases and without it working right you could be in serious trouble. Therefore it’s always a serious matter to make sure that you are well aware of this vital means of fire protection because you can never be too careful.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fire Protection | Installing A Smoke Detector

When it comes to using smoke detectors as a means of fire protection there are some things to be aware of. Local and state laws for example here in the United States stipulate that the particular installation and quantity of smoke detectors must meet codes according to the National Fire Protection Agency’s standards.

The rules regarding the set-up of smoke detectors will differ depending on where they’re being installed. For those with concerns about how this will affect you should definitely discuss matters with officials such as fire departments and building inspectors. A lot of other areas of the developed world share these same philosophies too. Nations such as Australia and Canada mandate the installation of a smoke detector on every floor of a building. For the United States smoke detectors must be placed on every story of a building that’s used and within a close distance to every bedroom. Attics are counted as an occupied floor if it’s can be easily accessed.

More recent buildings have tougher minimum requirements to meet. Every detector must be installed to electrical wiring be connected to other detectors in the same area and have a battery backup. On top of that smoke detectors must exist either in or out of every single bedroom in the building. This is subject to local law though.

Buildings that are wired with a third connect can allow for an interconnection of 12 or more smoke detectors. Can’t go wrong with that philosophy of fire protection, right? This allows for situations in bigger buildings where if one alarm goes off the rest will follow. That is definitely an invaluable means of altering every occupant. This happens even if they are not directly near the emergency that’s occurring. A wired interconnection seems to be best for more recent buildings. As recent as a few years ago wireless development has already begun and this cuts down on costly measures such as rewiring new detection systems. Some of these systems run on Wi-Safe tech. In the event that these devices need to be moved to a new building it’s a very simple and hassle free process due to the obvious absence of wires.

In the United Kingdom, detector installation isn’t too different with the exception of installations in new builds. According to the country’s building codes a new-build piece of real state that is no higher than three levels should be set up with a Grade D, LD2 system. This applies to England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland this rule also applies. These countries are in addition very strict in that escape routes and a heat alarm in the kitchen are setup. Another important rule is that all detectors must have a battery backup in their installation. This form of fire protection is definitely an essential one and with the advancing of wireless technology it’s only gotten better. These days many buildings do not have to be torn apart to build a new and safer smoke detector system therefore proving that there’s more than one way to deliver accurate fire protection.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Passive Fire Protection

The intended implementation of passive fire protection is to show how materials can be protected at temperatures at or below either 140°C for stuff like floors, circuits and walls that need a fire resistance rating or 550°C, which is known as a vital temperature for structural which could lead to damage.

To make this happen several different materials are used in making these systems. Endothermic materials for example are made with gypsum and concrete based wallboard. When the testing for passive fire protection is underway with concrete floor slabs hotter temperatures typically boil out of the structure. When a fire occurs, gypsum based materials usually crumble. Therefore proper measures must be taken in the way of creating protective materials to combat against such potential destruction. Many building codes are aware of this and do their best to ensure industry standards are met.

PFP measures that are made with the intention of holding in a fire and their intention are to limit the spread of fire and smoke for a limited period of time. Building and fire codes usually dictate how these measures will be enacted. The safety ratings and their limitations are stated on the certification listing.

Like the title states passive fire protection is able to be very clandestine until an actual fire states. There are two primary classifications of PFP, one known as Intumescent Fire Protection and Vermiculite Fire Protection. In the latter steel made materials are protected with vermiculite based materials in an often thick layer. Compared to the Intumescent protection this is a less expensive option. However their appearance is not very pleasing in the visual department. Intumsecent Fire Protection is a special coat of paint which is spread onto the structure.

Other thing to be aware of with this type of protection is the dry film thickness this is figured out by dividing the heated perimeter by the cross sectional area. Because of Intumscent coatings only go at about 350-700 microns and it doesn’t corrode this is a typically preferred means of protection. Its level of performance is a very reliable one and it’s not an eyesore on a building structure. This makes PFP based structures a widely chosen option amongst those who want to get the most out of their building protection.

The idea of passive fire protection basically is that it’s a bunch of structures inside of structures. Take for instance something like a firestop it is a setup that is integrated with a product certification listing. It then works with other structures within the building such as walls or floors and they form one major fire defense system within your structure.
In essence this makes your PFP based structure one giant entity.

In fact a properly maintained and designed structure that utilizes proper passive fire protection is a force to be reckoned with. If we were betting men we would say that what you would have is such a formidable building that it could even withstand an assault from the Darth Vader’s Death Star! Forgive our attempt at humor but nevertheless the use of PFP will definitely ensure a structure as sound as a pound!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Maintaining Your Fire Protection

Fire protection is essential in all environments. Whether it’s a house or a public building you must be aware of how to properly maintain your fire protection to ensure your infrastructures stay safe from fires. When it comes to maintaining your fire protection system it’s important to know building codes. This is you can stay within the boundaries of safety. People that own or manage a building are tasked with this important responsibility since they are in charge of what goes into making these structures safe and sound from fires. In addition to fire protection the construction, design and building ideas are also the responsibility of these people since these aspects can’t compromise fire safety. These people must have a hand in the process to maximize building security.

Be very careful with building modifications as these processes could compromise your building and leave it open to potential fires. This can include adding a communications setup or changes to your plumbing and wiring. Therefore the quality of work should be heavily supervised and looked over once completed. You’ll want to make sure none of the building is damaged. Another important thing to look over is building structures that are over ten years old. Most of these structures do not have any high end fire protection set up. As a result there are a lot of vulnerable areas that can result in this. Because of this you want to make sure only qualified professionals are making any modifications to your building and act responsibly in modifying a building.

Should proper fire protection measures still make you weary and you’re not sure what to do, waste no time in talking to a professional. No matter how big or small the modification you plan to make to your building is never worry about asking an expert in the field. You’ll want to be positive that any changes to your building will not be impacted negatively in the way of your fire safety.

Constant checks on your protection system’s strength as well as continued supervision are key steps in ensuring proper working and function. Things to look at in a properly protected building for instance are fire doors. You’ll want to make sure the fire-rating label is never obstructed or painted over. The door must also swing properly and is able to shut with no problems. Also be aware of what a fire resistance rated wall is made whether it’s dry wall or concrete block then make sure the piece is completely intact.

Now here are some general things to be aware of to in knowing how to sum up your safety from any fires in your building:

Does the quality of any fixes in the system correspond with the way your protection system is set up? The location of any rated walls and rated floors. Are there any holes or crevices properly filled in and if so how were these fixes made? In short you’re going to want to make sure that you know how to keep your building one that is well prepared in the way of fire protection. Follow these basic guidelines and we feel you’ll have no problem! Thanks for reading!