By nancy

VFS Provides NFPA Required Generator Testing

One of the requirements of NFPA is the regular testing of emergency generators.  This testing helps to ensure that generator powered backup lighting will operate as expected and that proper signage will be in place to illuminate egress paths if backup lighting should fail.  There are two types of tests that must be performed:

  • It is required that a monthly test be performed on Level 1 and Level 2 generators. A Level 1 generator is one whose failure could result in death or serious injury. A level 2 generator is one whose failure would not result in life-threatening injury. During testing, a generator should operate under available load for a minimum of thirty minutes.
  • If a generator fails the monthly test, it should be operated under a load supplied by a load bank (i.e. load bank testing) for two continuous hours each year.

Monthly and annual generator tests are important measures for preparing generators for power outages, but they should not be the only measures. It is also important for building owners to make sure that their generators receive scheduled maintenance, annual infrared scanning, and modernization and retrofitting, as necessary. Testing is designed to test a generator’s efficiency, but maintaining or improving that efficiency requires a diverse approach that includes the measures above.

VFS is pleased to announce that we can provide this service for our building owner clients.  We offer both the monthly testing and the annual testing as required by NFPA.  If you are a building owner, contact VFS today to learn more about out services and how we can help you to stay in compliance.


By nancy

VFS Embraces Mesh Alarm Transmission as Telephone Landlines Disappear

Due to technological advances, changes in consumer preferences and market forces, both Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) and Public Switch Telephone Service (PTSN) are on the road to becoming obsolete.  So why is this happening and what does it mean to a business for their fire alarm monitoring?

There are several main reasons that landlines are disappearing:

  1. Large landline companies don’t want to maintain expensive copper networks. This old infrastructure served its purpose but has quickly become outdated.
  2. For businesses, landlines are expensive. The newer IP phone systems offer a wider range of phone options (including conferencing, long distance and international calling) at a much lower cost.
  3. Internet Protocol telephone systems offer increased flexibility. Setup is inexpensive and offices do not have to be hard wired.
  4. Internet Protocol systems also offer lower overall costs for day to day usage.

So now that we know that traditional landline phone systems are going away, what does this mean for fire alarm monitoring systems that have traditionally relied on this technology?   The answer is Mesh Radio.  This type of communication network is made up of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology. Wireless mesh networks often consist of mesh clients, mesh routers and gateways. The mesh clients are often laptops, cell phones and other wireless devices while the mesh routers forward traffic to and from the gateways which may, but need not, be connected to the Internet. A mesh network is reliable and offers redundancy.  When one node can no longer operate, the rest of the nodes can still communicate with each other, directly or through one or more intermediate nodes.

With all these changes, VFS has implemented LiNCnet monitoring that uses mesh radio for reliable, fast and secure delivery of critical event signals.  We know that your alarm system is only as reliable as its ability to transmit signals to the central monitoring station.  Because traditional phone systems are disappearing, VFS is using mesh technology to offer high reliability and significantly faster signal transmission speed which gives you quickest response time.  Mesh Technology provides:

  • High reliability
  • Fast transmission speed
  • NFPA complaint and UL listed solutions
  • Multiple Path Smart Routing
  • Easy installation and maintenance

Contact VFS today and protect your people, property, and business with our secure wireless alarm communication network dedicated to alarm monitoring.

By nancy

VFS Supports Santa Cop Program

The employees of VFS Fire & Security Services have made a big commitment to a local program that provides toys to low income families during the holidays to help them celebrate the holiday season.  This program was developed 19 years ago by the South Gate Police Department — in partnership with the Police Officers’ Association and Police Explorers.  “Our officers donate their time and money every year to this program as it is a special one to our hearts,” stated Officer Christian Perez.  The program started out with helping four families and today helps more than 100 families.

The Santa Cop program is funded entirely through local donations and it is organized and implemented by South Gate Police Officers and their families and community volunteers. Every year the program receives donations from city and police employees as well as the local community.

The South Gate Police Department does a great job of identifying those families that have the greatest need in the community.  Each family must submit an application in order to be accepted by this program.  VFS selected this program because of this application process and because they wanted to help as many families as possible.

The City of South Gate Police Department sent this note to VFS: “We want to send a very special thank you to Mr. Rudy Garcia and VFS Fire & Security Services who generously donated toys for our South Gate Police Department Santa Cop program.  It’s because of businesses like VFS that we are able to reach as many families as we can during this time of year.  Partnerships truly work”

By nancy

Steel Price Increases in 2016

According to, the website for General Steel Buildings, steel has seen its value decrease over the past few years. This has been because supply has been higher than demand. This has been a good thing for consumers as the cost of steel buildings as been lower than in the past. The steel industry has been in decline, but many experts are predicting that 2015 was the low point of pricing and that 2016 will see a rebound in pricing. Both and predict steel demand rising 1.4% in 2016 with forecasts showing strong upward pricing pressures through 2019 in global steel commodity prices.

Steel prices are rising in 2016. US Mill capacity is tightening, while iron ore, scrap, and other raw material costs are also increasing. Suppliers are talking about increases continuing through the second quarter and perhaps even into third quarter of 2016. This will cause manufacturers, including sprinkler pipe manufacturers to increase pricing.

So what does this mean to you? If you are a property manager, building owner or end-use that has outgrown your storage capacity and now in the process of budgeting to expand your existing building, VFS can help you maximize your current square footage by storing higher rather than going wider. VFS design experts will upgrade your existing fire sprinkler system to increase your storage height and store higher commodities, without costly construction buildouts.

The main thing to know is that partnering with VFS for your fire and life safety needs will help mitigate the effects of these price increases on your business. At VFS, our expert design team will design the right system to minimize pipe size while maximizing your fire sprinkler system for your unique needs. With a highly efficient fire protection system with minimized pipe size, your costs will stay low – even with steel prices increasing.

The bottom line is that VFS has the expertise to help you keep your costs low – even when steel pricing is on the rise. Contact VFS today to find out more about how we can help!



By nancy

5 Things to Know about Emergency Eyewash Stations

In January 2009, new revisions to ANSI standard Z358.1-2009 for emergency eyewash took effect. The most important thing is to make sure that emergency eyewash stations are installed and maintained correctly.   There are some basic requirements of ANSI which include:

  • A means of flushing injured eyes must be available at the site of any hazardous materials.
  • Eyewash must be within a 10-second walk of the hazard
  • An injured person must be able to flush their eyes for a full 15 minutes.
  • ANSI also calls out the rate of flow, fluid angle, temperature, user’s position, and station location, installation and maintenance.

With that said, there are five steps that your business can take to ensure that you are in compliance with the ANSI emergency eyewash standards.

  1.  Assess your facility to determine if your site requires emergency eyewash.

Most businesses are required to have eyewash stations if any of the following hazards are at the site: paint, solvents, battery charging stations, hazardous chemical storage, tool parts washers, or chemical pumping/mixing areas. Also,If employees use chemical-resistant gloves, cartridge or air-supplied respirators, chemical-resistant goggles or flammable storage containers, emergency eyewash is also required.

  1. Choose the right eyewash system for your facility

There are several questions that you can ask to determine your needs:

  • What are the most common hazards?
  • Does the workspace layout change as new jobs commence?
  • Is plumbing readily available at the site of every eye hazard?

There are two types of primary emergency eyewash delivery stations to consider: plumbed and portable. Plumbed eyewash units deliver plumbed tap water to the eyes in plentiful amounts. The downside of plumbed stations is that they are expensive to install, impractical to move and require weekly maintenance. Another problem with the plumbed systems is that they use tap water. Because its temperature is not easily regulated, plumbed tap water is often too hot or too cold to flush with for the required 15 minutes. Also, since It does not match the eye’s natural pH, so flushing with it can cause irritation.

The alternative is portable stations, which come in many varieties to meet a wide variety of needs.   These systems contain water, saline solution or 100 percent sterile saline, each of which is maintained at room temperature inside the unit. Stations that deliver sterile flushing fluid offer the best possible safety and because they are devoid of harmful impurities, sterile saline reduces employers’ risk of liability if further injury results.

  1. Emergency Eyewash must be Readily Accessible

It is important to remember that an injured worker may have limited or no vision if an emergency occurs, so it is important to select a location for the unit that is quickly and easily accessible during an emergency. ANSI specifies that stations be located within a 10-second walk from the hazard and on a travel path from the hazard that is free of obstructions. It must also be on the same level as the hazard (no stairs) and in an area that is well lit and clearly marked with a sign.

  1. It is critical to train employees on proper emergency response

It is the your responsibility to ensure that every employee is trained in using emergency eyewash units. Employees must know how to get to the eyewash station and must know how to activate the system in order to properly rinse contaminants from their eyes. The proper flushing technique calls for the worker to hold both eyes open with their forefingers and thumbs and let the fluid rinse across the eyes from the inside corner out for 15 minutes.

  1. Develop a safety plan that encompasses eyewash safety

The best way to ensure eyewash compliance in the workplace is by building it into the company’s safety plan. Employ a safety manager, assign safety stewards or use a third-party vendor to be responsible for employee training and station maintenance. The appointed safety leader should train staff regularly as a group and new associates as they join.

It is also important for your company to maintain eyewash units as required according to ANSI and/or the manufacturer.   Plumbed stations require the most maintenance – they must be activated weekly to get rid of particle buildup in the pipes. According to OSHA, a weekly activation “long enough to verify operation and ensure that flushing fluid is available,” is required. Portable units require less frequent maintenance but still need to be cleaned and disinfected every 3-6 months.

VFS Fire & Security Services has extensive experience in working with eyewash systems. Our team of experts can help with system design, plumbing, compliance and system maintenance. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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