Ships in Supply Chain being delayed due to issues

Current supply chain issues affect many industries and goods. These impacts range from limited toilet paper on shelves, expensive loaves of bread, and cars taking months at a shop. In addition to these effects, supply chain issues also significantly affect the fire and security industry. 

Let’s discuss what supply chains are and how these issues came to be before we hand the reins over to IFSEC Global.

What is a Supply Chain?

According to Fire Apparatus Magazine, a supply chain is defined as “the entire process of making and selling commercial goods including every stage from the supply of materials and the manufacture of the goods to their distribution site.” Supply chains include many elements and moving parts, such as warehouses, production sites, various modes of transportation, fulfillment centers, and inventory storage. 

What Caused the Supply Chain Issues?

 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed inefficient areas by creating a series of issues that trickled down the chain.

First, any lockdowns, regulations, or ordinances kept workers out of the workplace. Additionally, workers missed work due to COVID-19-related illness, exposure, or other issues. This led to a labor shortage and soon a deficit in materials. The pandemic caused freight costs to spike, shipments to delay and the costs of goods to increase. 

Read on for the full article from FSEC Global to learn how these issues affected the fire and security industry. 

What are the current supply chain issues affecting the fire and security industry?

Supply chains provide companies with the certainty that raw materials and components will be continually available to ensure the smooth production goods. In this article, Euralarm looks at current issues within the supply chain, and the repercussions those problems are having on the fire and security industry.

The various lockdowns due to the pandemic, paired with high demand due to digitization and economic recovery, meant that the certainty surrounding supply chains was, and is still being, challenged. When manufacturers are looking for alternative material and components they can face re-certification of their products, or newly developed products cannot be released.

As a result, existing products must stay available for longer. The fire safety and security markets are highly dependent on electronics and are largely affected by the supply chain crisis.

Supply chains are formed by complex connections between companies. It starts with the raw materials and ends with finished goods for industry and end user; one chain can include thousands of companies.

Thanks to proven forecasting methods, the activities of the companies in the supply chain are precisely coordinated. This considers demand, supply, seasonal influences or specific characteristics of regions.

What is not considered – and what is not possible – are unknown factors. These can lead to the forecasts no longer being correct. The well-oiled machine of the supply chain then quickly starts to creak and squeak.

COVID-19

One unknown factor the world faced in 2019 was COVID-19, making it clear that society is not prepared for events that are not likely to happen but can have a major impact on society.

Unfortunately, the start of pandemic happened in a country where a large part of the world’s production takes place.

Several industries had problems even before COVID-19. Producers of chips, computer parts and other components needed for the digitalisation of our society were already under great pressure. The production capacity of these goods is limited worldwide and the slightest change in demand can cause supply problems.

This was already the case with smartphones, (game) computers or televisions. Chips had already entered the automotive industry on a large scale, and with the electrification of this industry, the demand for chips soared. We are seeing a similar development in industries and parts of society where the (Industrial) Internet of Things is becoming commonplace.

Risky dependencies

The consequences of the COVID-19 crisis have led many governments to recognise that the high dependence on producers out of one region poses a great a risk to certain sectors. For example, the fact that many European countries have no production capacity for facemasks which were needed during the pandemic.

For electronic chips and components, we face the same challenge; to reduce the risks there is simply a need for more distribution facilities. In the pursuit of lean manufacturing, production has been outsourced to Asia which means that a shutdown of factories in one country can have a global impact. The EU also recognised this even before the pandemic. Accelerated by the corona crisis, the EU is focusing its policy, among other things, on increasing domestic capacity and diversifying the number of suppliers.

Following the rapid spread of the coronavirus in China, European companies were affected. The lockdowns introduced in China led to a virtual standstill in production and restricted the freedom of movement of residents, which also brought logistics providers to a standstill. As quickly as companies were caught off guard by these lockdowns, the recovery in demand was also swift.

For many companies that were caught off guard by global lockdowns, the speed of recovery is almost as insidious and led to another supply chain crisis during the pandemic. Increased consumer spending and thus demand for products, combined with delayed transportation by sea and air, caused major shortages and record backlogs.  The tightness on container capacity is expected to continue for some time. This will not help to clear shortages of electronic components, which is expected to continue for some time.

Fire and security

Manufacturers of electronic fire safety and security equipment are affected by the disruption in transport and shortages on natural resources and core materials. COVID-19 has shown that unexpected events can shatter the basic premise that materials will be easily accessible, disrupting supply chain performance. The chain reaction initially caused by the shutdown of factories in countries effected not only the supply chains but also the workflows within and between companies.

Product compliance

Paul van der Zanden, General Director of Euralarm adds: “Another relevant topic that affects our industry is the compliance of the products that the industry delivers. With electronic components not being available due to the supply chain problems, manufacturers need to reconsider replacement of parts that aren’t available. However, with the replacement of certain components, the conformity of the final product may also be at stake.”

This could make it necessary to have the product retested and recertified, resulting in high costs.

When service and maintenance companies were faced with problems in reaching the customers during the pandemic, these organisations learned other flexible ways to stay in contact with their customers.

Many industries and businesses have started modifying their operational methods, now operating online. The fire safety and security industries are doing the same, forming virtual offices and using remote service and diagnostic tools to support their customers.

Customers are moving to hybrid working models which are applied throughout society and could lead to downsizing or repurposing of buildings.

The Green Deal

Securing a sustainable supply of metals and minerals used for components in fire safety and security equipment is also key to meet the energy and climate targets for 2030 and beyond. The European Green Deal aims to make the EU’s economy sustainable. That creates many opportunities for the European society and industry in the current context of both the climate crisis and the COVID-19-outbreak.

However, the transition towards green technologies, like renewable energy, e-mobility and stationary energy storage relies heavily on critical raw materials, such as cobalt, neodymium, tungsten, etc. and on new products and services.

Both globally and in Europe it is expected that the demand for these materials will continue to increase, creating challenges for the Green Deal.

The impact of extracting and processing these resources is high while the supply chains are often not transparent and may lack traceability. Another challenge is the recycling of the materials. For most critical raw materials, the recycling efficiencies are low while the dependency on non-EU countries is high and still increasing.

The green ambitions of the EU could therefore also lead to certain activities being brought back to the West, either to reduce the dependency of non-EU countries, or to avoid CO2 emission as result of transporting goods from other parts of the world to Europe. This could lead to shorter logistics chains and more sustainability in several sectors. In that sense the current crisis in the high-tech supply chains contributes to a greener world and a stronger Europe.

Fire Extinguisher on Wall

In the event of a fire, knowing the five classes can help you to use the most effective fire extinguishing agents and techniques to safely suppress the flames. 

In this article, we’ll cover each fire class, how each type of fire can happen, the varying materials that can serve as fuel, and how you can safely extinguish the flames. (Hint: don’t always use water to put out fires– it can make it worse!) 

Please note these fire classifications follow the U.S. standard system for classifying fires. 

What is a Fire Class?

Fire classes are a system of categorizing fires by factors such as the type of material and fuel for combustion as well as the best methods to extinguish or suppress them. The fire classes are Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class K.

Class A Fires: Ordinary Combustibles

Class A fires are the most common of the classes of fires. Class A fires occur when common combustibles–such as wood, paper, trash cloth, and some plastics– serve as fuel for the fire.  Some of these materials may include:

  • Cloth and fabric: clothing, home furnishings, curtains
  • Wood: furniture, building, crafting or construction supplies, logs in fireplaces
  • Paper: books, office supplies, magazines, newspapers, trash 
  • Plastics: plastic containers, toys, disposable bags
  • Rubber: such as the rubber in shoes

How Do Class A Fires Start?

Class A fires are the most common because ordinary combustibles are often found in everyday life. An ordinary combustibles fire can start through scenarios such as a candle falling over or a hot match being tossed into the trash.

How to Extinguish Class A Fires

According to the Fire Equipment Manufacturer’s Association, the best methods to extinguish Class A fires is either with a foam fire extinguisher or with water.   

Class B Fires: Flammable Liquids and Gases

Class B fires involve flammable liquids and gases, especially petroleum or petroleum-based products. Some examples include:

  • Gasoline
  • Paint
  • Kerosine
  • Propane
  • Butane

However, Class B does not typically include fires involving cooking oils or grease. These materials are in their own class, Class K.

How Do Class B Fires Start?

Class B fires occur when flammable liquids ignite. For example, lighter fluid may catch fire on a charcoal grill or gasoline, grease or paint may ignite while a mechanic is working on a car. 

How to Extinguish Class B Fires

The best method of extinguishing Class B fires is by smothering them or cutting the oxygen supply using foam, powder, or carbon dioxide fire suppression equipment, such as extinguishers. 

It is important not to use a water extinguisher on a Class B fire as water may spread the flammable material and cause the fire.

Class C Fires: Electrical Fires

Class C fires involve an electricity source and/or electric equipment. They may begin from:

  • A short circuit
  • Faulty wiring
  • Electrical/power cord damage 
  • Faulty Breaker boxes
  • Damaged appliances
  • Overloaded electrical outlets

How Do Class C Fires Start?

Class C fires can occur in many situations. An example would be an overloaded outlet causing the plug and/or cord of the device to spark and set on fire.

How to Extinguish Class C Fires

Since suppressing Class C fires can be complicated, we’ve broken down the process into a few short steps:

  1. If it is safe, disconnect the item from its power source. 
  2. Extinguish the fire using a carbon dioxide or dry powder fire extinguisher. These are non-conductive extinguishing agents that will help protect you from electrical shock and cut off the fire’s oxygen supply.
  3. Do not use water or a foam extinguisher, as you would with Class A fires. Water and foam conduct electricity and could make the situation more dangerous.

Class D Fires: Combustible Metal Fires

Class D fires involve metals catching on fire. Flammable metals include, but are not limited to:

  • Titanium
  • Aluminum
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

How Do Class D Fires Start?

Metallic fires require extreme heat to ignite and start most often when the materials are in the form of fines, such as metal dust. This may occur, for example, at manufacturing plants, laboratories or warehouses that cut, drill or mill metal materials.

How to Extinguish Class D Fires

Class D fires should not be put out with water because water can make the fire more dangerous. Instead, use a dry powder fire extinguisher or other dry powder agents to smother the fire. 

Class K Fires: Cooking Fires

Class K fires, similar to Class B fires, occur as a result of the combustion of flammable liquids. Class K fires are categorized separately because of their unique setting and are instead associated with cooking liquids in the food service and restaurant industry. These liquid cooking materials include:

  • Grease
  • Oils
  • Animal fats
  • Vegetable fats 

How Do Class K Fires Start?

Cooking fires can happen by leaving cooking food unattended–remember when your mom told you not to do that? This is why!– or forgetting to turn off the stove. 

Commercial kitchens have a high risk of a Class K fire occurring and can contain an array of safety risks and hazards. Learn more about kitchen fire safety management, here. 

How to Extinguish Class K Fires

It may be your instinct in the kitchen to toss a glass of water on the fire, but that could make it worse. Cooking fires can spread quickly and are often worsened by water.  Instead, smother the fire-like putting a large metal lid over a small fire in a pan- to cut off the oxygen supply or use a wet agent fire extinguisher.  

Still have some questions on how to best protect your property from the five classes of fire? Contact us at VFS Fire and Security Services and we’ll find a solution that fits your needs, property, and budget.

Fire Alarm in Building

The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that fires in commercial buildings cost owners over $2.4 billion per year. Wowza! This considered, monitored fire alarm systems are essential in the prevention of fires in commercial buildings.

Moreover, fire alarm systems can help to:

  • Reduce damage to property
  • Protect valuable assets
  • And, save lives

But today, we have to ask: Is a regular fire alarm system enough?

OK, OK… Before you roll your eyes, hear us out. Fire alarm systems are an excellent and crucial first step in protecting your property. However, as a property owner, you may be able to do more!

A monitored fire alarm system can help to further prevent or reduce costly damage to your property while also better protecting its residents.

Read on to learn what a monitored fire alarm system is and how it can better protect your property.

What is a Monitored Fire Alarm System?

A monitored fire alarm system is an alarm system that has been programmed to transmit signals to a central station or fire control center. In simple terms, when the alarm goes off, the system will immediately alert an operator who will dispatch the appropriate fire protection team to your building.

A monitored fire alarm system ensures that the fire department is alerted to the fire as quickly as possible, without someone having to make the call. The seconds or minutes that a monitored fire alarm system might save you could make the difference between life and death (as dramatic as it sounds, it’s true!)

Monitored fire alarm systems are most commonly used in commercial facilities—and for good reason.

What is the Difference Between a Fire Alarm System and Fire Alarm Monitoring?

A fire alarm system sets off an alarm—usually a series of local, audible devices—to alert people in the building that a fire has been detected and to evacuate immediately. A fire alarm system does not notify the fire department of the detected fire. The fire department will not be dispatched unless someone calls 911.

On the other hand, a monitored fire alarm system will transmit a signal to a central station or fire control center where an operator will dispatch the appropriate fire department to your building—without anyone in the building calling 911.

How Does a Monitored Fire Alarm System Work?

A monitored fire alarm system has an installed control panel that will detect a fire and immediately transmit a signal to a monitoring station. The operator at the station will notify the fire department when they receive the signal. 

 

Signals can be transmitted via:

  • Cell phones
  • Phone lines
  • Radios
  • The internet

Why Does My Building Need a Monitored Fire Alarm System?

The answer to this is simple: Monitored fire alarms buy you, at the very least, a few extra minutes. In the case of a fire, a few extra minutes can be the difference in both saving buildings and saving lives.

In as little as thirty seconds, a fire can double in size, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Additionally, a fire will spread even quicker if its surroundings are flammable, such as products that may be found in a warehouse or particular furniture.

If your building is equipped with a fire alarm system that isn’t monitored, the fire department will only be dispatched when someone manages to call 911 after sounding alarms, a fire suppression system or sprinklers, and a quick evacuation of all residents.

Considering these stressful protocols, how quickly do you trust your residents to call 911?

When Will the Monitored Fire Alarm System Protect My Building?

Monitored fire alarm systems provide 24-hour protection, seven days a week. 

For instance, even if a fire occurs at nighttime or while your building is unoccupied, a monitored alarm system will ensure there is no delay in notifying the fire department.

How Do I Know If My Fire Alarm is Monitored?

A common error amongst commercial building owners is incorrectly assuming their fire alarm systems are monitored. Consequently, when a fire occurs, the call to 911 is severely delayed. This error leads to the destruction of the buildings that might have been saved if the proper precautions had taken place.

At VFS Fire & Security Services, we urge you not to wait until a catastrophic loss to have your system inspected.

The default option for many fire alarm systems is the installation of a single-station fire alarm, which doesn’t include the feature of sending a signal to the fire department.

If you’re not sure if your fire alarm system is monitored, you can have a fire and security service quickly inspect your system to let you know. At VFS, our system upgrades team can review your existing plans and make scalable proposals to meet your building, code, safety needs, and budget. 

Not sure if your building is due for an inspection? Read our complete guide to fire and safety inspections for your facilities.

The Bottom Line

Fires happen often—every 63 seconds, in fact. This considered, commercial property owners should be adequately prepared to avoid the costly damages to their valuable assets and protect their residents.

Monitored fire alarm systems are a strong method of improving the protection of your property and its residents by ensuring the fire department is dispatched as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start a conversation with us today and let’s figure out how to best protect your building.

Commercial Fire Protection Systems

We’ll Answer Your Burning Question… 

Your commercial property is just as flammable as any other building. In fact, the National Fire Protection Agency reports that between 2015 and 2019 fire departments across the nation reported 19,156 fires in business properties alone. Property loss totaled over $800 million. These statistics don’t include fires in other types of commercial buildings. 

With fire season emerging, stay ahead of the catastrophic damage a wildfire can do to your commercial building by protecting it ahead of time. Are you prepared? We answer your burning question below. 

What is a Commercial Property?

A commercial property is any real estate that is used for business purposes or activities. Typically, they are buildings- not residential dwellings. Think malls, industrial real estate, and grocery stores … you get the picture.  

These buildings contain important materials, documents, and people inside which means it’s even more important to protect your building from the potential damage of a fire. 

High-Risk Fire Zones

A high-risk fire zone is “a designated zone that considers wildfire hazards such as fire history, topography, vegetation, blowing embers, and weather” according to Spectrum News

These zones are broken down into three sections: moderate risk, high risk, and very high risk. Determining which category a zone falls in depends on the likelihood of it catching fire based on history and fire patterns. 

Check your commercial property’s zone to determine your risk of being impacted by a wildfire.  

Commercial Fire Insurance Policies

Having a commercial fire insurance policy, especially for commercial properties in high-risk zones is an added layer of protection. This policy type mitigates risk by reimbursing you for fire damage to the property for losses. 

Fire insurance is defined as “a form of property insurance that covers damage and losses caused by fire.”

This policy often covers building damage, building contents (i.e. furniture, tools, and equipment), and the belongings of others. 

Depending on your policy, it may also cover damage from smoke, charring, or loss of income due to business closure from the fire. 

Ways to Protect Your Property From Wildfires  

Wildfires can cause catastrophic damage, especially to properties without property protection and prevention plans in place. The National Interagency Fire Center reported that 2021 faced 58,985 wildfires which damaged 7.1 million acres.  

Protect your building by implementing the following steps.

Create a “Buffer Zone” 

Wildfire Property Protection

A buffer zone divides the surrounding area of your building into three sections to keep an active fire from moving quickly to your building. Learn more about how to implement a buffer zone here

Ensure Working Fire Hydrants Nearby

Have access to a fire hydrant no more than 250 feet away from main buildings. They should be connected to reliable water sources. 

Use Noncombustible Materials

Any signage, exterior cladding, siding, etc. should be made out of noncombustible material. This keeps a hungry fire from finding more materials to damage because they will not burn when exposed to fire. 

Choose Dual-Paned Windows 

Dual-paned windows made with tempered glass will help keep a fire at bay. 

Cover Vents

All vents should be covered with non-combustible ⅛ inch mesh screenings to fight against embers that may fall through. 

Keep Gutters and Roofs Clean 

The building’s roof and gutters should be kept clear of debris that can be easily ignited by embers. 

Flame Resistant Upholstery 

Use flame-resistant or flame-retardant chemicals on curtains, furniture, and drapes. 

Perform Regular Fire Protection System Servicing 

Stay in touch with your fire marshal or authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to make sure your fire protection system is up-to-date. Ensure your fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems and other fire protection systems are inspected and maintained on a regular basis.

Have an Emergency Plan

Prepare an evacuation plan should a wildfire break out nearby. Make sure all staff inside the building understand what to do in a fire emergency. Clearly post emergency evacuation signs inside the building. 

Read our next why high-risk high reward does not apply to fire safety, and other ways to keep your building safe. 

fire protection systems service and maintenance

… Yeah That’s Something You Have To Do

Just because your building has the proper safety equipment doesn’t mean your work is done. Believe it or not, you have to actively maintain each of the devices throughout the year. After all, you have to change the oil in your car – your building’sfire protection system service and maintenance fire protection systems are no different.

How often you service or inspect your fire protection services depends on the device. Some require weekly, monthly, semi-annual, or annual inspections. Hot tip- all fire and life safety systems require at least an annual inspection. Let’s discuss how often different fire protection systems need servicing.

Fire Protection Maintenance and Inspection Schedules

Fire protection maintenance schedules are set in place to make sure your fire protection is up to par in the event of a fire. A fully functioning system reduces the risk of damage or injury.

Typically, a fire marshall or other authority holding jurisdiction (AHJ) will review your fire protection system to review if the system is up to code. Local regulations determine how the frequency of service for your different systems. There are, however,  overarching trends as to when each needs a look.

Fire Sprinkler Systems

The best practice for a fire sprinkler system is to perform quarterly and annual sprinkler inspections. Particularly in colder areas, regular maintenance and inspections are essential.

For example, a wet pipe sprinkler system needs to be kept at above freezing temperature during the colder months in order to prevent costly damage to the system.

Fire Suppression Systems

Fire suppression systems include extinguishing fires through gaseous chemical or foam agents instead of water. Examples of fire suppression systems include:

  • Clean agent
  • CO2 Systems
  • Wet chemicals

They must be inspected on a semi-annual basis according to NFPA guidelines.

Fire Alarm & Detection

Fire alarms or smoke alarms should be inspected by a professional on an annual basis- at a minimum.

Inspect these systems for leaks, cracks, warning lights or obstructions weekly. Local rules and regulations determine the service timeline.

For example, school buildings typically require periodic testing of fire alarm systems and regular fire drills.

Fire Extinguishers

A fire extinguisher, also known as the first line of defense is a piece of fire safety equipment you want operable at any given moment. Inspections must take place once a month.

Devices prone to rust, impact, or tampering require the most frequent inspections.

Their external maintenance examination occurs annually during the hydrostatic test, or when specified. Internal fire extinguisher tests occur every 1 – 6 years depending on the extinguisher.

A Final Word

Keeping a well-maintained fire protection system can be the difference between minor and major structural damage. It can also save lives. Proactively maintain your system to have the peace of mind that if the time comes, your building is fully prepared.

Most building owners find that waiting on the fire inspection report is often the most painstaking part of the process. Why do these reports take so long? Take a look at one of our recent articles explaining why the fire inspection report takes so long.

you need an eyewash station to keep your employees safe

Why You Should Have an Eyewash Station in Working Order

 

You heard it here first—an eyewash station isn’t a fancy drinking fountain. If you need a drink of water, we recommend finding another source… like maybe an actual water fountain.

 

In all seriousness, eyewash stations are important pieces of equipment that reduce the major risks associated with chemical exposure (think: chemical-related eye injuries). Let’s discuss why you might need a properly functioning eyewash station.

Who Needs an Eyewash Station? 

Based on the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an eyewash station is required if a person may be exposed to “injurious corrosive materials” (aka chemical materials in laboratories).

 

The Material and Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), included with the chemical, indicates if the chemical is injurious corrosive.

 

Eye-related chemical injuries can lead to:

You heard it here first—an eyewash station isn’t a fancy drinking fountain. If you need a drink of water, we recommend finding another source… like maybe an actual water fountain.

 

  • Corneal perforation
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal damage
  • Eye loss
  • And more

What Are Eyewash Station Requirements? 

 

In 2009, the ANSI updated the standard for emergency eyewash stations. According to the new updates, if you or employees are working with hazardous chemicals, the station should be:

 

  • Installed and maintained correctly (i.e. the injured person should be able to flush their eyes for at least 15 full minutes)
  • At sites with any hazardous materials 
  • No more than 100 feet from where the material is being handled
  • Within a 10-second walk of the hazardous material 
  • Unobstructed by other machinery or equipment
  • Up to ANSI standard with respect to location, rate of water flow, fluid angle, water temperature, user position, and station location 

 

All of these regulations are set in place so that if an emergency situation arises, the exposed person can quickly seek treatment to avoid severe damage.

Why Do You Need an Eyewash Station?

Eyewash stations are an important piece of keeping you and your employees safe. If someone is exposed to a hazardous substance, especially a corrosive chemical, immediate treatment is critical to reduce injury. 

 

Proactively treating a hazardous chemical exposure in the first 10 to 15 seconds after exposure can reduce damage and injury because it flushes away the substance by providing quick decontamination.

 

We get it, accidents happen. A chemical exposure can occur even with all of the right safety precautions in place or when a person isn’t donning personal protective equipment. Having an emergency eyewash station provides an additional layer of safety to reduce the damage chemicals cause.

How to Use an Eyewash Station

First, anyone working with or near hazardous chemicals should be wearing personal protective equipment (i.e. goggles, face shields, gloves). This will reduce the chances of chemical exposure.

 

If an eye emergency does occur, it’s imperative to act quickly. You have 10 to 15 seconds from the time of initial exposure to flush out the chemical before the substance causes serious injury. Understand how to use your eyewash station before an emergency situation arises; it’s a race against the clock when you’re dealing with hazardous chemicals.

 

If chemical eye exposure occurs, walk to the eyewash station immediately as a peer notifies emergency services. Once at the station, push the foot pedal or hand lever to activate the flow of water. Then, lean over and hold your eyelids open and allow the water to flow over the eyeballs for at least 15 minutes, or until emergency responders arrive with further instructions. 

 

While flushing your eyes for 15 minutes, roll your eyes around so the water can flush the entire surface of the eyes, and remove contact lenses. Even if only one eye was contaminated, wash both eyes.

 

If you need a visual guide, watch our pal, Andy Bernard, demonstrate below. 

 

via GIPHY

 

For more information on what else businesses need to know about eyewash stations, click here.

use the warm summer months while students are on vacation to fire proof campus buildings

(While the kids are away, you should probably fire-proof the Sigma Chi house)

 

You survived another semester! Congratulations! While college students return home for the summer, best practice is to go through and fireproof your buildings… especially the Sigma Chi house (they love lighting up… candles, of course).

 

After all, in just a few short months, students will be back in full force. They may get a break for the warm summer months, but your fire safety procedures never take a vacation. 

Campus Fire Safety

Based on research from the National Fire Protection Association, campus fires peak between September and October– especially between 5-9 pm. 

 

“U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 3,840 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and other related properties. These fires caused annual averages of 29 civilian injuries and $11 million in direct property damage.”

 

In order to protect your building and your students from these worrisome statistics, you must ensure your fire safety systems are up-to-date and you should regularly conduct proper fire safety training for both students and faculty. 

Fire Proofing Campus Buildings

So, how does one fireproof an education facility? Most education facilities abide by NFPA Code 101 which “addresses minimum building design, construction, operation, and maintenance requirements necessary to protect building occupants from danger caused by fire, smoke, and toxic fumes.”

 

A few ways you can fireproof your campus buildings are:

 

  • Determining space requirements and maximum occupancy for each room. Hint- to remain compliant with NFPA 101, each person requires at least 20 square feet of space
  • Prepare and update fire evacuation plans
  • Plan fire drills
  • Establish communication with your local jurisdiction and fire authority, and implement their guidelines 
  • Ensure exit areas, stairwells, etc are unobstructed and clear
  • Inspect fire safety equipment to make sure it’s working and updated (i.e. fire alarms, fire sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers)

What are the Main Causes of Campus Fires?

Fires can break out in multiple ways, however, here are the top five causes of campus-related fires according to data gathered by the U.S. Fire Administration: 

 

  1. Cooking on hot plates, microwaves, portables grills, etc. 
  2. Careless smoking 
  3. Unattended candles 
  4. Overloaded extension cords and outlets

More on how to communicate fire safety with students below. 

Communicating Fire Safety 

Keeping students and faculty educated on fire safety on campus is essential to protecting your people in the event of a fire. Before they step on campus for the semester, send them a pamphlet with fire safety information. This can include:

  • Fire evacuation plans 
  • How to prevent fires
  • How to properly notify the fire department if a fire breaks out 

 

Once students arrive on campus:

  • Review evacuation procedures
  • Show them where the nearest fire extinguishers are located
  • Conduct fire drills
  • Deter tampering with smoke alarms or sprinklers
  • Ensure your RAs are regularly inspecting rooms for fire hazards

 

Remind students that the most common fire causes of campus fires are 

 

  • Check for cigarette buts after parties in chairs, sofas, couches, etc.
  • Use deep, wide ashtrays 
  • Don’t smoke indoors

cooking, candles, smoking, and

fire prep your campus's buildings this summer

 overused power strips. 

Cooking Reminders

  • Keep kitchens clean and clear of flammable materials
  • If cooking– don’t leave the kitchen unattended
  • Only cook in designated areas

Candle Reminders 

  • Do not leave lit candles unattended 
  • Keep candles away from flammable materials

Smoking Reminders

Electrical Safety 

  • Keep light fixtures away from flammable materials
  • Do not plug large appliances into an extension cord 
  • Do not overload outlets or power strips

A Final Word

The perfect time to review your campus facility’s fire safety is during the summer, when fewer students are on campus. For more tips on how to use summer vacation to get your fire safety up to par, read our article here.

 

Tragic marine fires caused by cargo ships, while rare, have caused environmental damage, supply damage, and death to crew members.

There’s a reason why you don’t hear about fires in the middle of the ocean–it’s because they’re rare. We mean, marine and fire aren’t two words that are normally used in the same sentence. But here we are.

 

Marine fires on ships, when they do happen, are typically sparked by:

 

  • Oily rags
  • Electrical fault
  • Human error
  • Engine room leaks

 

Even though over 6,000 container ships sail the ocean every day, marine fire accidents aren’t very common. When they do occur, however, the results can be disastrous.

 

This week, we’re diving into the most infamous marine fires caused by containerships, plus how you can use boater safety tips to help keep your boat afloat. (*Wink* See what we did there?)

 

1. Hanjin Pennsylvania – Indian Ocean, 2002

 

On November 11, 2002, a cargo container on a cargo ship‚ The Hanjin Pennsylvania, exploded off of the coast of Sri Lanka. The ship was transporting goods from Singapore to Germany.

 

The source of the explosion? Misdeclared containers aboard the vessels which stored fireworks. Four days after the initial blast, a second explosion rocked the over 200,000-ton boat.

The ship stayed afloat, but was declared a total loss until it was rebuilt and returned to working condition, then renamed the Norasia Bellatrix.

 

Tragically, two crew members were killed in the accident.

Hanjin Pennsylvania – Indian Ocean, 2002

 

 

2. Hyundai Fortune – Gulf of Aden, 2006

The Hyundai Fortune was carrying over 3,000 shipping containers when it was rocked by an explosion as it headed west in the Gulf of Aden. On March 21, 2006, an explosion launched containers overboard, sent debris five miles past the ship, and damaged ⅓ of the containers aboard.

 

To this day, the cause of the explosion is unknown. The damage to the ship was repaired and later returned to working condition.

 

Only one of the 27 crew members suffered non-life threatening injuries.

 

Hyundai Fortune – Gulf of Aden, 2006

3. MSC Flaminia – North Atlantic, 2012

On a sunny day in July 2012, the German-flagged container ship the MSC was sailing across the North Atlantic when tragedy struck. This 12-year-old vessel  experienced a series of explosions and a major fire aboard during its journey from the U.S. to Belgium. 

 

Tragically, four crew members lost their lives.

 

The 300-meter vessel burned for several weeks and severely damaged the vessel while also spouting toxic smoke into the air. The ship was not allowed refuge for months because it was deemed an environmental hazard.

 

Following the explosion, there was an uproar in the international maritime sector for a call to more action regarding maritime safety as well as new European Union guidelines for ships in distress.

 

Despite the immense damage the ship underwent, it was eventually repaired and returned to service the next year.

The Worst Marine Fires... In Water…

4. Maersk Honam – Arabian Sea, 2018

A few short years ago, the Maersk Honam was headed west of the Arabian Sea carrying over 7,000 containers to Egypt. This vessel, one of the largest of its kind, was deemed an Ultra Large Container Ship (ULCS).

 

When it caught fire on March 6, 2018, the flames were so fierce that after a week, the entire ship from bow to superstructure was ablaze. In fact, the flames were so large that they could be seen from outer space.

 

Five crew members died in the incident and the source of the fire is still unknown due to the heavy damage.

 

Maersk Honam – Arabian Sea, 2018

Marine Fire Safety Tips

When it comes to fire protection, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Don’t let the tragic incidents of the cargo ships happen to you and your crew! Here are a few tips to stay safe while at sea.

 

  1. Have the proper documents and certifications up to code
  2. Test and check all fire safety equipment
  3. Perform routine engine room maintenance 
  4. Perform routine deck maintenance 
  5. Prepare your crew for emergency situations
  6. Routinely check emergency equipment 

 

For more marine fire safety tips, read our article on boater safety: tips that will float your boat.

 

marine fires cause serious damage

 

All photos courtesy of gCaptain.com.

ajh keeps your buildings safe

As Paul Blart says, “Safety never takes a holiday.” And your facility’s Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) abides by that same standard.  This organization is designed to enforce the NFPA standards and codes on your building. Their mission is to keep both you and your building safe from harm and ensure all of your systems are up to code in case an emergency occurs. 

 

via GIPHY

Let’s dive into what the AHJ is, and why they’re important. 

What is AHJ?

 

AHJ stands for authority having jurisdiction. It’s not a singular entity, rather, it is the authority having jurisdiction for whoever visits the premises to inspect your fire, life and electrical safety programs to meet code standards. 

 

This could be:

 

  • A fire marshal
  • Fire Chief 
  • Labor department 
  • Building official 
  • And more

 

According to the NFPA, AHJ includes, “an organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, and installation or a procedure.” 

 

Members of AHJ can come from various places, including federal or state government or private sectors. They are a collective force rather than a specific person. Among this group, you’ll see:

 

  • Fire chief
  • Fire marshal
  • Chief of a fire prevention bureau
  • Labor department member
  • Health department member
  • Building official
  • Electrical inspector
  • Insurance company representative
  • Others having statutory authority

Why Should you Proactively Work With AHJ?

Proactivity is always beneficial when thwarting fire damage. By working with your AHJ before a fire occurs, you increase the odds of protecting your building and, more importantly, your people during an emergency. 

 

If you’re in the beginning stages of building or renovating your commercial property, consulting an AHJ can help ensure all your systems are meeting strict code regulations. This prevents potential fines and issues with compliance that might arise if you are found not up to code.

 

These fire safety codes and standards are strict because you are dealing with people’s lives. The members of AHJ strive to ensure your building is meeting code requirements during the design, construction, and functioning phases. 

 

It’s important to remember that each district has different codes and regulations. 

While following OSHA’s fire safety codes are important, you may find that your local code has additional standards that you must meet in order to remain in compliance. 

 

When was your last fire inspection and maintenance? Our team at VFS supports our clients with regular inspection and testing on their fire protection systems. How much do you know about your fire inspection? Take our quiz to see if you’re smarter than a fire inspector here. 

 

AJH helps keep your building safe

Why Are Insurance Costs Going Up?

One thing’s certain about 2022—insurance costs are going up and they are unpredictable.

At VFS Fire & Security Services, we’ve seen our clients directly feel the impact of a rise in premiums. Over the next year, you can expect 15 to 40% rate increases on certain lines.

Let’s look into more details about why insurance costs are going up.

Fire Insurance Premiums

With the rise of wildfires in California, insurance costs have increased in various zones. ABC News reports that some business owners were even dropped from their coverage unexpectedly, writing that “in 2019, insurers did not renew 235,000 policies across the state.”

The premium increases forced businesses and homeowners to have a quick mindset shift and turnaround for new coverage. With the increase of high-risk areas, VFS Fire & Safety Security Services has personally watched clients caught off guard with the increase of fire insurance. So, how does this impact your fire safety? 

Factors that Impact Your Fire Insurance Costs

Your commercial building or home will have different insurance premiums based on various factors, as listed by Resinger Insurance:

  • Proximity to the fire department
  • Community awareness
  • High-risk area
  • Building size
  • Current fire safety equipment installed
  • And more

Mark Sektan from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association sheds light on the perspective of insurance companies. “Premiums are going up because the risk is going up significantly,” says Sektan. “One of the challenges insurance companies face is that because of the highly prescriptive regulatory system, [it’s almost like] we’re driving the car by looking through the rearview mirror,” said Sektan.

“…We base premiums on losses, not what we know, not what we see coming… we’re not allowed to use that type of modeling yet.”

With this perspective in mind, it’s important to make sure your commercial property is updated with the current fire safety guidelines. Learn more from our blog about prepping your commercial property for fire season.

Where Can You Manage Your Risk? 

Risk mitigation begins with what fire safety equipment and inspections your commercial building uses, and if your building is up to NFPA code. 

For some insurance providers, if you have a certain level of protection from sprinklers and monitors, it can potentially lower the cost of your premium.

The NFPA Code 5000, also known as the Building Construction and Safety Code, is a great start for checking to see if your commercial building is up-to-date on inspections and equipment.

The equipment that VFS Fire & Security Services specializes in, and that should be inspected to match NFPA codes includes but is not limited to: 

  • Fire Sprinkler Systems
  • Fire Suppression Systems
  • Sound and Communication Systems (ERRCS and DAS) 
  • Integrated Security
  • Fire Alarm and Detection Systems
  • Fire Extinguishers

As mentioned above, the constant upkeep and inspections of your fire safety equipment can improve your insurance premium. 

Haven’t You Heard? We’re Fire Safety Inspections Experts

At VFS Fire & Security Services, we believe your fire safety equipment is only as effective as the inspections performed on them

The frequency of these inspections ensures the most effective operating conditions for your building year-round and is critical to keep current with industry and insurance codes.

At VFS, we have a diverse team of experienced fire protection professionals, all of who are capable of inspecting and servicing even the most complex fire protection systems.

Our advanced platforms and highly trained dispatch team allow us to manage inspections and testing from inception to execution.

We tell you what’s due, when it’s due and why it’s due—which means constantly communicating with your team to keep you up-to-date on the latest information within your facilities.

Aside from potentially lowering your insurance premium, keeping up with inspections benefits your commercial building for long-term safety. Learn why regular inspections lead to safer buildings on our blog.

How to Prepare Your Business for Cold Weather

(ERRCS ERRCS BABY… too cold too cold)

Cold winter weather doesn’t mean your fire safety can take the back burner (not actually burning, please) 

Fire Evacuation

Did you know that your fire evacuation plan will need to alter based on seasonal change? In the winter, there are more factors to consider when creating an evacuation plan. 

Maintenance for your building (inside and outside) is crucial during all seasons, but especially during the winter. While it depends on what climate you’re in, snowy conditions bring on a whole new level of hazards when creating a fire evacuation plan. 

In the summer, we recommend you keep brush clear around the building to avoid fires. In contrast, during the winter we suggest keeping snow-free pathways and doorways. If there is snow and ice in the walkway, then this creates a hazard for people who are running out of a building. All pathways should be gridded and cleared of snow at all times. 

An additional step to take with a commercial building is making sure that all employees are updated with the changes in a fire evacuation plan during the winter. For example, making sure all employees have warm coats in the case of a fire. However impactful the fire, they will likely be standing outside for a long period of time. Additionally, it’s important that employees are not smoking in non-smoking designated areas in the commercial building to prevent more fire risks. 

Portable Space Heaters

Electrical fires are a common occurrence during winter. The NFPA reports that there are 45,000 electrical fires a year, with one of the main culprits being portable space heaters. While there are some sources that recommend banning space heaters altogether and just increasing the overall temperature in your building, that might not be a realistic option. 

When using a portable space heater, it’s important to keep the heater on a flat surface at all times. So, the preferred spaces to keep your heater are floors and counters (please don’t keep your space heater balanced on your bedstand). The U.S. Fire Administration suggests only having one appliance plugged into an outlet at one time, and avoiding using extension cords at all costs. 

Another tip from the U.S. Fire Administration that’s crucial to implement in your commercial building is having space heaters that have an automatic shut-off. This means that if a space heater tips over, it will shut off. This is especially true for commercial buildings or warehouses that have multiple space heaters. 

Power Outages and Generators

Generators are another culprit for starting winter fires. Most commercial buildings and warehouses have generators in case of a power outage. In California, the power companies implement routine “brownouts” to avoid fires with windy conditions, making generators the new norm. 

With the influx of generators being used, there has been an increase in electrical fires during both the summer and winter months. A good rule of thumb to follow when using a generator is not to keep it on if nobody is in the building to monitor its use. Aside from making sure a generator is in a ventilated area with working carbon monoxide alarms, the NFPA also gives instructions for fueling a generator. 

“Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is hot. Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such.” 

Winter Storms 

Lighting McQueen isn’t the only one leaving scorch-marks in his wake.

While an animated car from a Pixar movie is not going to start a fire during a winter storm, lighting is a real concern for fire safety. With winter storms the high chance of lightning causes increased concern for fires. Oftentimes if the storm is really bad, a county will perform a ‘brown out’ as mentioned above. If this isn’t the case, then the NFPA has steps to take to prevent lightning-induced winter fires as much as possible from lightning. 

High winds can cause downed power lines increasing the risk of electrocution and fire. In addition to having an evacuation that is clearly communicated to all employees, the NFPA states, “Always assume fallen power lines are energized. Stay away from the area and report any downed lines to authorities immediately.” This is especially true for commercial buildings that are surrounded by power lines. 

Fireplace Use

There’s nothing as cozy as cuddling up in front of a big fireplace, especially during one of those “brownouts” we’ve referred to.  But fireplaces offer their own set of risks. 

When using a fireplace, maintenance is key. The NFPA recommends that you perform an annual inspection of your vents and chimney by a professional. They also suggest storing cooled ashes from your fireplace in a metal container that is sealed tight outside, with at least 10 feet of distance from any buildings. 

In addition to keeping up with maintenance with your fireplace, it’s important to keep track of sparks that could ignite. Keeping a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace is one simple way to keep sparks at bay. 

Safety Inspections in the winter

In addition to getting your chimney and vents inspected, VFS Fire & Security Services recommends regular inspections on your commercial buildings. 

Fire safety inspections are pre-arranged preventive measures to keep your buildings, assets, and the people you care about safe. They help building owners and managers to identify potential fire hazards and to make the necessary changes before a catastrophe. Compliance with fire safety inspections and guidelines is mandatory and failure to stay on top of scheduled maintenance can have consequences from a regulatory standpoint as well as added risk to your business and staff. 

Worried about not meeting all the NFPA guidelines for winter storms and fire protection for your commercial building? Learn what fire safety inspections you need for your commercial building here on our blog.

What is ERRCS/DAS and how does it work?

ERRCS don’t have to irk you! VFS Fire & Security Service’s Director of Fire Alarm Operations, Kevin Gregory, joins us to explain the importance of updating your alarm and communication systems.

 

What Are ERRCS and DAS? 

ERRCS stands for Emergency Responder Radio Communication Systems, also known as Bi-Directional Antenna Systems, or DAS. 

The ERRCS and DAS are very similar; both systems are used within commercial and residential buildings to allow emergency responders to communicate with each other via two-way radio in areas that they may not have been able to in the past.

As an amplification system, ERRCS amplifies the radio signals between first responders’ radios during an emergency. 

Why Did ERRCS Systems Become So Important?

During the September 11th attacks in New York City, emergency responders experienced difficulty communicating with each other in rescue and recovery efforts. These difficulties included full radio communication failures, which made the first responders inside buildings lose contact with dispatch and fire crews outside, risking the lives of the first responders and hindering their rescue efforts.

The communication failures on 9/11 spiked awareness for high-functioning ERRCS/DAS, highlighting the need for tools that would allow responders to communicate without interruption or signal loss in the event of an emergency. Since 9/11, ERRCS and DAS have become a critical priority for commercial building owners. 

What Are the Requirements of an ERRCS System?

While the requirements for ERRCS used to apply only to buildings within the specific guidelines–any building over three stories or with underground parking–requirements can now apply to most new buildings or projects.

The building department and/or fire department can enter a new building project, regardless of its size, and review the ERRCS. In this review, the building department may test for signal strength and require that an additional amplifier be installed. 

How Many Systems Are Required in Commercial Buildings?

Typically, buildings require one system. However, several factors can affect the number of systems required in a space, such as the building’s size and layout. These factors may suggest additional amplifiers or other components need to be installed. For more information, learn the five things CRE owners should know about installing ERRCS, here.

To determine the number of antennas required in your building, an inspection team may utilize heat maps and sweep tests. 

What is a Heat Map?

A heat map is generated through a sweep test or a 20 grid test. In a sweep test, an inspection team will divide the building into 20 sections and test each section with a spectrum analyzer and either a fireman’s radio handset or a signal generator. 

The team will then run the results through software to create a report and a heatmap. This report will display the areas of the building which need better coverage as well as the locations in which the signal is strong. 

Do ERRCS Need Testing and Inspection?

ERRC systems need to be tested regularly. The fire department requires that these systems are inspected and tested on an annual basis. 

How is an ERRCS Inspection Conducted?

An inspection team will conduct an inspection process similar to the 20 grid test in which they will divide and sweep the building to locate areas of poor coverage. Their reports will be forwarded to the building department and fire department for approval. 

Inspections are Essential in Maintaining ERRCS/DAS

Inspections and maintenance are critical to the safety of your building. At VFS Fire and Security Services, we specialize in installing and inspecting ERRCS. There’s an ongoing need and requirement for testing and inspection on an annual basis to ensure that the integrity of the system is still operational with NFPA updates and requirements

What are LEED Buildings and How Do They Affect ERRCS?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a third-party green building certification program that focuses on efficiency in designs. For instance, LEED buildings can have innovative windows made from low-E glass which stops outside weather conditions from affecting the interior temperature of the building and more efficient insulation.

However, low-E glass can cause low signal attenuation that impacts ERRCS. Most commonly, E-glass alters the requirements for your ERRCS in regard to needing additional amplification systems throughout the building. 

Can Other External Factors Affect ERRCS?

ERRC systems can be affected by an array of outside forces. For instance, the signal can be impacted by the construction of neighboring buildings as well as construction supplies and choices. These external factors should be considered in the installation, inspection, and maintenance of a building’s ERRCS. 

Read more about your inspection and maintenance schedule in our blog It’s time to get it together and inspect your building more than once a year!

Why do fire inspection reports take so long?

Don’t tell anyone, but we know that a fire inspection report takes a long time. 

In an effort to explain why we’re going to lead you in a ‘behind the scenes look at the internal processes and why these reports take what seems like forever. 

When systems or devices need maintenance we often can send a repair technician to you within 24 hours (or sooner in emergencies!) Our goal is to be proactive and ensure that our systems keep you safe from harm.

What’s Included in a Fire Inspection Report? 

Clear Sightlines

One of the main elements of your fire inspection report is ensuring there are clear paths for firefighters to reach the building and for patrons to exit the building. If an emergency does happen at your commercial property, there needs to be easy access in and out of the building. This part of the inspection report will likely also include making sure your building remains up to date with fire codes. 

If there are main identifiers around the building that firefighters should be aware of (think trees or other identifying information), that also needs to be included in the fire inspection report. 

Certified Fire Extinguishers

Included in this inspection is counting the number and type of fire extinguishers throughout the building.  VFS Fire and Security services specialize in portable fire extinguishers. Per NFPA code fire extinguishers are required to be inspected and certified by a licensed fire protection contractor. There are a LOT of different types of fire extinguishers including:

  • Water Mist
  • Clean Agent
  • Foam
  • Wet Chemical
  • CO2
  • ABC Dry Chemical
  • Class A, B, C, D, and K

Inspecting all of these extinguishers takes time, which further delays that report hitting your desk. 

Emergency Lighting

Emergency illumination could mean life or death in an intense situation. Ensuring your emergency lighting is working and in the correct areas is essential to the fire prevention and safety of your building. 

We can help! 

There are so many other moving parts that are included in a fire safety inspection. The expert team at VFS Fire and Security Services has a breadth of knowledge to provide all regularly scheduled and code-mandated fire protection system inspections. The frequencies of these inspections ensure the most effective operating conditions for your building all year round and are critical to keeping current with industry and insurance codes. 

We have a diverse team of experienced fire protection professionals capable of inspecting and servicing even the most complex fire protection systems. Our advanced platforms and highly trained dispatch team allow us to manage inspections and testing from inception to execution. 

We tell you what’s due, when it’s due and why it’s due, and are constantly communicating to your team to keep you up-to-date on the latest information within your facilities. 

How frequently do you need fire inspections? Learn more about your inspection schedule in this blog post. 

Boater Safety: Tips that Will Float Your Boat

Yes, typically water does put out fires… However there are times when fire can occur on water.  There is an extremely high fire risk on boats and marine machinery. It’s important to understand what preventative measures should be taken in order to avoid fire hazards on marine machinery. So, how do you prevent fires on your boat?

 

Let’s dive into tips that will help keep your boat afloat.

 

Ship Safety Requirements

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 301 is the “Code for Safety to Life from Fire on Merchant Vessels.” This code focuses on the construction, arrangement, protection, and space utilization of merchant vessels that aim to limit the danger.

 

Taking precautions is critical to the safety of your boat and your passengers in case of a fire emergency, not only from the fire itself, but also from fumes, smoke, and human response.

 

Having the proper amount of fire extinguishers on your vessel is a great start, however, it is not the whole picture. There are additional elements of preparedness that you should have in place to keep your ship safe. 

 

How to Protect Your Ship From a Fire

The steps mentioned above are considered large-scale. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details of boat safety. 

 

Ships Business provides some insight into what should be checked in your engine room to ensure proper safety.

 

Some of these items include:

 

  • Having proper escape routes that are properly lit by emergency illumination 
  • All railings on the boat are properly secured
  • There are more than enough life jackets per person that are easily accessible 
  • All safety signs are updated and easy to read
  • Escape routes are not blocked
  • All portable fire extinguishers are correctly stored and up-to-date on inspections
  • Anyone onboard the ship is wearing the proper protective gear depending on the type of boat
  • Prevention of steam, water, or oil leaks in the machinery space
  • Pipe insulations are oil-free
  • Walkways, stairways, and ladders are clean and dry
  • Any supplies and materials are properly stored
  • Approved first aid supplies are readily available, accessible, and clearly marked

 

These, among many other checks, are essential to the safety of your vessel.

 

The Engine Room

The engine room of your vessel is one spot that should be triple-checked for equipment that is functioning properly, in order to best prevent fire or an explosion. It’s a place that heats up quickly and may contain flammable items. One of the major fire safety requirements in the engine room is to install automatic fire suppression systems. About 90% of marine fires start in the engine room. 

 

Another simple way to prevent fires on your boat is to keep everything clear and organized. When you check that your equipment is working, it’s important to familiarize yourself with where everything is located in case an emergency arises and you need to quickly navigate the space. 

 

Freeze Protection

Yes, boats can freeze. In the winter, ships that are in the water, docked, or stored in cold environments need to be winterized. This means going through a process of removing water from any place on the boat that could freeze, expand and cause damage to the ship. 

 

When temperatures drop below freezing, water inside the engine or gears can cause cracks or blockages. The damage they cause will result in expensive repairs. 

 

Remember that a heat lamp is not a good substitute for winterizing your boat. They may cause an unexpected and unwanted fire. According to Xtreme Heaters, “the leading causes of winter vessel fires are unattended portable heaters and overtaxed electrical systems.” A portable heater as a substitute for winterizing your boat is unpredictable because it can be tipped over by waves or other elements– causing a dreaded fire. 

 

Marine Fire Safety

While you’re on the water, whether it be for pleasure or work, marine fire safety and preparation cannot be overlooked. Having the right fire safety equipment and performing the right maintenance and routine inspections may be the difference between life and death.

 

Our VFS team is prepared to get your vessel in tip-top shape with the right marine fire safety equipment. In fact, the VFS Houston Team has been continuing to grow our marine department and has recently acquired four new Tug & Barge Companies—bringing their annual total of vessels to perform fire safety inspections and testing to approximately 375.

 

As we approach the highly anticipated boating season, what summer shouldn’t bring is more fire hazards! Learn more about fire safety on a ship in our article here. 

 

boater safety tips for marine safety

 

‘Tanks A Lot!’ — Your Guide to Above Ground Storage Tanks

Most likely, your commercial property has an above-ground storage tank (AST). When’s the last time you had your tank(s) inspected? Odds are, your above-ground storage tank has taken the back burner in regards to safety regulations and guidelines.

Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here at VFS Fire & Safety Services—to help you navigate any changes that need to be made to your safety protocols! 

Above Ground Tank Requirements

The National Institute for Storage Management (NISTM) located in Houston, Texas, outlines regulations and guidelines that should be followed for your commercial property’s safety.

In fact, NISTM has a course called “Tanks 101” that provides all the information that you need to know about your above-ground storage tank. The course overview talks about both aboveground and underground tanks in horizontal and vertical configurations.

Here’s a quick rundown of what NISTM has to say. “Having designed and built a good tank, the next problem is to ensure it remains safe and leak-free. The focus is on the well-known tank inspection standard API 653.”

The NISTM also claims that the following basic principles are key to understanding the safety of your above-ground storage tank:

  • “Shell design
  • Floating roofs
  • Foundations
  • Fixed roofs
  • Venting
  • Hydrostatics tests
  • Materials of construction”

As a commercial property owner, it’s important to be aware of these factors when building a new tank so that future inspections run smoothly.

Are you still itching to hear more from NISTM? You’re in luck! NISTM is soon hosting the 14th Annual National Aboveground Storage Tank Conference and Tradeshow this December. Visit the link above to learn more.

Common Challenges with Tank Inspections and Testing

Now for some common challenges regarding tank inspections and testing.

The federal requirements for above-ground storage tanks say there should be frequent inspections and evaluations for any bulk storage container. 

Similarly, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) provides a downloadable “Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan (SPCC) Program” that contains a Bulk Storage Container Fact Sheet. 

The fact sheet states you must “determine, in accordance with industry standards, the appropriate qualifications for personnel performing tests and inspections, the frequency and type of testing and inspections, which take into account container size, configuration, and design.”

The EPA also provides the difference between containers, which include:

  • Shop-built
  • Field-erected
  • Skid-mounted
  • Elevated
  • Equipped with liner
  • Double-walled
  • Partially buried

Required Testing 

The inspections that are required for bulk storage containers include: 

  • “Test or inspect each container for integrity on a regular schedule and whenever you make material repairs
  • Frequently inspect the outside of the container for signs of deterioration, discharges, or accumulation of oil inside diked areas. This visual inspection is intended to be a routine walk-around and inside the container’s supports and foundations,
  • You must retain testing and inspection records for 3 years. EPA recommends that formal test records or reports be retained for the life of the container.” 

It’s important to keep reports and inspections organized so you have evidence and reference of inspections that have been performed as well as when the next routine inspection should take place.

Integrity Testing

Some integrity tests that aren’t federally mandated, but HIGHLY encouraged include: 

  • Visual inspections
  • Hydrostatic testing
  • Radiographic testing
  • Ultrasonic testing
  • Acoustic emissions testing
  • Signs of deterioration
  • Accumulation of oil
  • Other systems of non-destructive testing

With the amount of testing that is required for any property or business owner, sometimes reports and small inspections fall through the cracks. 

Additionally, there are frequent changes in industry standards. Take the extra step of checking in with your Fire and Safety Inspection team to ensure all above-ground tank requirements are being met. 

Cargo Crisis got you down? Us too. Learn more about how the cargo crisis might be affecting your industry in the future and why marine safety should be a top priority with a large number of cargo ships currently being stalled.

How long do you keep your safety inspection records and paperwork? It can be tempting to chuck the paperwork into the trash and forget about the details of your inspection.

But, did you know that after a safety inspection of your above-ground tank, you’re supposed to keep those records for a minimum of 3 years?

Check out our recent blog for more inspection guidelines for your commercial property.

sprinkler systems updates in commercial buildings

Scott Santos, our Director of Sprinkler Operations at VFS Fire and Security highlights the changes that have occurred in fire sprinkler systems over the past year. Watch the video below for more information. 

 

Fire Industry Changes

We’ve seen a lot of recent challenging changes in our sprinkler industry including:

  • Finding enough manpower 
  • Finding employees with talent  

Project Shifts 

Types of projects have also changed. We used to have a world where retail and brick and mortar were a big commodity of projects. Today with the uptake of e-commerce and increased online shopping, we’ve seen big changes in the types of projects. For example,  brick and mortar retail spaces are not as prevalent as warehousing. Warehousing now has been pushed up.

Clientele 

Many of our clients are big-box companies that are looking for storage. This means they are searching for warehousing. However, there’s not enough warehousing out here. What we’ve seen in the last two years is that simply rehabilitating buildings, upgrading buildings provides a higher level of storage. Currently, many distribution centers are coming up. The Amazons and the Targets of the world are looking for space and for distribution centers.

So as we look at warehouse spaces, things do change. The solutions to the sprinkler systems definitely change. We need to upgrade them. The systems that are in there now are only as good as the storage that they had previously. As the storage grows in height, and as we start to put more material handling equipment in there, we need to upgrade systems.

Three Sprinkler System Updates

There are three different ways that we usually look at it. The first and easiest way is looking at the systems that are in place already. If we change sprinkler heads and make current ones larger sprinkler heads to provide more water, that’s one way to update the system. 

A second way is to actually upgrade the system for a higher density. Once those higher densities are in there, we must consider if interactive sprinklers or any other sprinklers need to be included that are different from what the system demands.

The third way is we have to consider if they’re storing plastics and higher commodity systems or higher commodities. If so, we need to protect the commodities with ESFR systems. This means early suppression and fast response systems are popular now. Now we’re going into the buildings and tearing out old systems to put in new ones to accommodate what they’re putting in the buildings.

Material Shortage 

As we upgrade these systems, the most challenging part is trying to actually buy materials. There’s a shortage throughout the industry trying to find piping and materials for actual systems. Pricing throughout the industry has also gone through the roof, making purchasing material tough.  

It also costs building owners more money. Many owners want to lease out these buildings to the Amazons, the Targets, or the Sketchers. What’s tough for us is that we’re getting pushed on every project to upgrade this quickly. That’s probably one of the challenges that we’re meeting right now is materials, manpower, and getting things done on time for customers.

One of the things that we’re doing is trying to get contracts in place quickly. And then what we’re able to do is try to go out and procure our materials early. 

So we’re saying, “Hey, if we can buy the materials quickly, then we can have it on site. We’re not having to worry about time spans or how long it’s going to take to get equipment.”

Client Communication

One of the things we’re trying to ensure is going out and purchasing the materials as quickly as possible. On our side, it’s good because we’re getting quicker contracts.

The other solution is just making sure that we communicate well with our clients, to say, “Hey, what exactly are you doing?” 

We make sure that we provide them with the correct systems, the correct products, and that everything that meets their needs because there’s nothing worse than getting something in that doesn’t meet their needs. So we’re really aiming to satisfy our customers. Obviously, our customers are number one, so we’re making sure that we go after them.

How do we train new employees? 

We’ve been able to bring in individuals with less experience. We provide them with a training program or an apprenticeship program that allows them to eventually receive their certification as a pipe fitter. 

In the state of California, they’re required to have a fitter card. So we’re bringing them in, and we’re trying to grow them from down up, right from the bottom up. Let’s get these employees in quickly and train them. It’s a five-year program that develops them and our crew. 

When it comes to manpower, we are aiming at growing within through finding tradesmen. We’re even speaking to high schools, trade schools, or anywhere we can to get somebody interested in the fire protection industry. That’s probably been our biggest gap in this industry throughout the last 30 years. 

At VFS we’re trying to grow, whether through pipefitters, sprinkler designers, fire alarm designers, and beyond, we are looking to grow from within. We do this by providing them with training and continuing to be the best professional company we can be.

Do you know what to do in case of an oil or grease fire? Heads up, don’t throw a bucket of water on it. Learn more about what the right steps are.

VFS Cookbook

It’s almost Thanksgiving! 

Get your ovens (or deep fryer- but please be careful!) warmed up before Thursday. It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year. Families come together and sit around a table full of delicious food to reflect on what they’re thankful for. And what brings people together better than food? 

Delicious dishes have the ability to bring back memories, to take you back in time to some of your favorite moments. In an effort to get in the spirit of Thanksgiving, our team put together a few of their favorite family recipes that they make with their families.

Read on for the recipes and ideas, and let us know if you try them!

Blueberry Pomegranate Mule 

Blueberry Mule

Starting off with one of the most important food groups on Thanksgiving- booze! Hear from our CEO, Randy Nelson, on his favorite cocktail recipe below:

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

The ingredients are: 2oz Vodka, 1oz blueberry liqueur, 1oz pomegranate juice, 1oz lime juice, and 2oz ginger beer. 

Combine all ingredients, except ginger beer, in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a mint sprig

What does this dish mean to you? 

This is a great holiday drink to share with family and friends. 

– Randy Nelson, VFS Fire & Security Services President

Pasta Siciliano

While this may seem un-traditional for Thanksgiving, who doesn’t like to spice it up a bit. Italy here we come!

Pasta Thanksgiving dish

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

Ingredients 

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked farfalle pasta 

 ¼ cup olive oil 

3 cloves chopped garlic

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup pine nuts

1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced kalamata olives

½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Step 1:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place farfalle pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, and then drain the pasta. 

Step 2:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the garlic until lightly browned. Mix in red pepper and lemon juice. Stir in the pine nuts, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss in the cooked pasta and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper

What does this dish mean to you? 

It’s a simple meal anyone can make, and who doesn’t love pasta? 

Bacon Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Bacon loaded mashed potatoes

This one is bound to get your mouth watering!

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

You need potatoes, bacon, mascarpone or cream cheese, and fresh parmesan.  You can prepare the night before and bake before dinner.

What does this dish mean to you? 

Since I made this the first time for my family, they ask for it every year so I’m happy to oblige and make them happy! 

Candied Yams

Candied yams

Something a little sweet to balance out all the savory flavors on your plate.

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

The main ingredients are brown sugar and maple syrup. And yams of course. Yum! 

What does this dish mean to you? 

Sweet goodness! 

Vanilla Bean Sage Blackberry Galette

blackberry pastry

Delicious freshly baked vegan almond berry galette on wooden rustic background, from above. Sweet food, summer dessert.

Sprinkle a little love and happiness into your holiday dish!

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

Ingredients include: Love, happiness, vanilla beans, blackberries, and sage. 

What does this dish mean to you? 

The dish reminds me of amazing memories from a long time ago.

– Elizabeth Ziebell, Director of HR

Honey Ham, Turkey, and Stuffing

Thanksgiving stuffing

A special take on the traditional dishes. Butter makes everything better, right?

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

It needs to be cooked with plenty of spices and butter. 

What does this dish mean to you? 

A time of giving and fellowship. 

Broccoli and Rice Casserole

rice thanksgiving dish

While broccoli isn’t always the first on people’s favorite food list, we’re excited to try this delicious take on it.

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

Ingredients: 

1 Cup Margarine or butter

1 Cup Chopped Onion

1 Cup Chopped Celery

 2 Cans Cream of Mushroom Soup

 1 Large Jar of Cheese Whiz

 2- 10 or 12 ounces of frozen chopped broccoli (thawed)

1 Cup Minute Rice

Bread Crumbs

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large pan saute’ onion and celery in margarine or butter. Add soups, cheese whiz, thawed broccoli and rice. Stir all the ingredients together.

Pour in a 9 x 13 baking dish and top with bread crumbs.  You can make your bread crumbs from day old bread or buy bread crumbs. 

Bake for 45 minutes.

What does this dish mean to you? 

My family always requests I bring this dish to the Thanksgiving meal. 

– Brenda Harrelson

Spinach Salad

spinach salad

It’s always good to have some greens added into the mix, but of course, add some bacon to make it better.

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal?

Ingredients: 

1 pack of bacon (center cut)

Mustard

Salt &  pepper

Splash of apple cider vinegar

Spinach

1 or 2 Shallot cut up

Directions:

Cut bacon into pieces and fry. Remove bacon from grease and place on paper towel. Add the cut-up shallots to the bacon grease for maybe 1 minute (don’t brown it). Add splash of apple cider vinegar, about 3 tablespoons of mustard, salt and pepper to the grease. This is your dressing for the salad.

Place spinach in a bowl with stems removed and pour grease (dressing lol) over it and toss the salad. This should be done right before you sit down to eat otherwise the spinach will wilt if it sits for too long.  

What does this dish mean to you? 

My aunt always made it for Thanksgiving and I enjoy it now.

– Michelle Day 

Turkey Pizza

turkey pizza

Who doesn’t like pizza on Thanksgiving?! It has turkey on it, right?

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

It’s like pepperoni pizza, but with turkey instead. 

What does this dish mean to you? 

It means I’m having pizza on Thanksgiving! 

Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey VFS Cookbook

As we said above, butter makes everything better- don’t limit yourself during the holidays!

What are some ingredients & tips on making this meal? 

Use a LOT of butter! 

What does this dish mean to you? 

It reminds me of family. 

As you head into the holiday season, we hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and are reminded of all of the areas in your life of which you are grateful. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with yummy food and even better company (and don’t light anything on fire while you’re at it!) 

Let us know what your favorite dishes are to try during the holiday season. Connect with us on our social media pages!

Fire Prevention vs. Fire Protection

VFS Fire and Security Services believes in protecting what matters most. A major component of fire protection that is often overlooked is fire prevention. 

It’s important to understand the difference between fire prevention and fire protection as you look to create a holistic approach to your building’s fire safety.

What is fire prevention?

Fire prevention consists of the actions you take outside of your fire protection systems to help prevent a fire from occurring. The prevention really occurs before a fire occurs, while the protection is for during a fire emergency. While there are many ways to bring fire prevention into the workplace, we’ve pulled together a few of the most common, and most essential parts of your fire prevention plan.

Establish an evacuation strategy.

Establishing an evacuation strategy for your team is essential to the safety and protection of your people. Your evacuation strategy makes it safer and more efficient for your employees and potential customers to exit the building. 

Not only is it essential to keep your employees safe from harm, but OSHA guidelines also require that a business have an emergency evacuation plan in place. See the OSHA regulations for emergency action plans here.

Maintain & Service Your Fire Safety Equipment.

Testing and Inspection

VFS Fire and Security Services believes that your fire protection systems are only as effective as the inspections performed on them. There are main systems that should be considered when looking at your commercial property during a fire and safety inspection: 

  • Fire Sprinkler Systems
  • Fire Suppression Systems
  • Alarm & Detection Systems
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • Sound and Communication
  • Integrated Security
  • Life Safety

Annual (or even more frequent) inspections are a huge part of fire prevention because if a system or piece of equipment fails, then any efforts towards fire protection are most likely to fail. 

Service and Repair

Service and repair of equipment and systems is the next step in understanding fire protection. Service and repair mean staying up to code and in compliance with all service and repair requirements is the goal of fire prevention. 

System Upgrades

How long do you think a fire protection system is supposed to last? If your first thought is 30 years, think again. 


The average lifespan of a fire protection system is 12 to 15 years. 

Keeping your systems updated is a key role in fire protection. Fire protection systems are complicated and there are a lot of moving parts involved. Don’t worry, when an individual part fails, the entire system does not need to be replaced (most of the time). Even if a single part being replaced doesn’t automatically mean throwing out the whole system, there are components that might need to be upgraded with older systems to improve your interconnectivity. 

Fire prevention is the first piece of the puzzle when diving into fire safety for your commercial property.

Employee Fire Prevention Training

One of the major causes of fires in the workplace is human error. People can start fires in a variety of ways in the workplace (really… we’ve seen some crazy stuff!), a few of the most common mishaps typically deal with mishandling chemicals, improper storage of combustible materials, and kitchen accidents. 

Because of this, it is essential that your employees understand proper fire safety and understand what to do in case a fire occurs. Train your employees on the proper ways to operate the business’ machinery, and how to store and remove of hazardous materials. 

Communicate with your Team

One of the best ways you can prevent fires from occurring is with communication. Perform routine fire drills, how to leave the building in a calm and safe manner during this stressful situation. We recommend having both scheduled and unannounced fire drills to ensure your employees are ready when they need to be.

Communication goes beyond practice and proper training. Communication also refers to clear exits and escape routes. Smoke can easily fill a room with people still in it. This smoke makes it difficult to see and find the exit. Posting easy-to-read exit signs and escape routes is essential to the safety of your employees. We would also recommend installing floor lights for easy visibility. 

What is fire protection? 

Safeopedia defined fire protection as, “Measures are taken to prevent fire from becoming destructive, reduce the impact of an uncontrolled fire, and save lives and property.” 

So, a fire protection system exists to lessen the damage of a fire if it occurs. The three main essentials of fire protection are: 

  • Study of Fire
  • Active Fire Protection
  • Passive Fire Protection

The study of fire is our role at VFS Fire and Security Services and paves the way for how we implement fire protection systems. 

Fire protection systems all orchestrate together to prevent the fire from becoming even more destructive or deadly. Making sure that all NFPA building codes are followed with building construction and fire protection system implementation is important with fire safety. 

Having both active and passive fire protection systems in place is important to ensure your building, and more importantly, your team remains safe from harm. 

What is passive fire protection?

Passive fire protection systems are stationary materials designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. These systems help keep the fire in its original area, therefore, stopping it from spreading throughout the building. The combination of active and passive fire protection systems can help put out fires faster and stop additional damage from occurring. 

They can also be used to channel the flames out of the building. When you have passive fire protection systems in place, fires that do occur are easier to extinguish. 

These fire protection systems are typically built into your building. When looking to renovate or build on a property, there is a lot of careful planning needed to ensure your building has these passive fire protection systems in place. Our team can help your team design and plan your construction in order to ensure building safety. For example, using cinder block walls as opposed to traditional wood-frame walls helps to reduce the spread of flames. 

However, passive systems can still be added after construction. Structures like smoke baffles, fire doors, and fire-resistant glass partitions can be installed after construction has been completed. 

What is active fire protection?

With an active fire protection (afp) system, some kind of action is taking place. Whether it is manual or automatic, these systems deploy once fire, smoke, or heat is detected. These systems are designed to help combat the fire, and help put it out. 

What active fire protection systems do I need?

SMOKE DETECTORS

Smoke detectors activate when there is smoke in the building. These detectors typically utilize noise and light to alert occupants in the building of a potential fire. 

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

Are manually operated active fire protection measures. These help occupants put out small fires within the building. 

SPRINKLER SYSTEMS

Sprinkler systems are active fire protection systems that automatically activate to help put out the fire while building occupants move to safety. These systems trigger when the heat from the fire causes the sprinkler head to open. 

VENTILATION SYSTEMS

Ventilation systems help direct smoke out of the building and away from the occupants. 

These active fire protection systems are typically installed based on certain legal criteria such as occupancy and building size. Higher than average risk areas, such as areas with flames or cooking implements might require additional active systems for added protection. 

Understanding your unique business needs is exactly what we do at VFS. Our in-house teams help with construction services, special hazard needs, inspection maintenance, and preventative maintenance. We are your partner in success. 

Are you thinking it might be time for a fire protection system upgrade? Learn how much they cost here. (Hint there are many factors that will impact the final cost.) 

Hurricane season preparation

Hurricane Nicholas threatened Texas in September, starting the dreaded hurricane season. Port Houston even closed their terminals to prepare for the tropical storm.

Hurricane Nicholas was a wake-up call that protecting your port and your commercial building by following marine safety is crucial.

Prepping for Hurricane Season

Your commercial building or property is an investment, so losing it in a natural disaster would be catastrophic for your bottom line and building. When it comes to natural disasters, taking preventative measures is key for protecting your commercial property.

All Hands and Hearts provides valuable preventatives for all business owners. Here are a couple of the main points outlined that will help take measures to prepare your commercial property for a hurricane.

Review the Local Authority’s Plan

The Houston Office of Emergency Management lists valuable information for Houston-specific hazards. They also provide lists of items that should be included in a “Stay-at-Home Safety Kit” and a “Shelter-in-Place Kit.” The main hazards that fall under the hurricane warning category are:

Storm Surge

“Along the coast, storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. In the past, large death tolls have resulted from the rise of the ocean associated with many of the major hurricanes that have made landfall.”  

Power Outage

“When power lines are brought down by strong winds, falling trees or debris, it may take days, weeks, or longer to get power back up and running.” This website is actively updating power outages and can be a helpful tool for hurricane readiness.

Rainfall Flooding

“Flash flooding, defined as a rapid rise in water levels, can occur quickly due to intense rainfall.”

Wind

“The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. This scale estimates potential property damage.” 

Create a Plan

Based on the above factors, create an action plan for your marine port or commercial property. Ensure all employees understand this preventative plan thoroughly.

Some factors to consider for a hurricane plan include but are not limited to:

  • A shelter plan
  • Company-wide communication
  • Evacuation route
  • Emergency warnings and alerts. 

Prepare Your Property

A small act of preparation might save your building. When walking through your commercial property, there are a few key steps to take:

  • Clear all gutters and drains
  • Install check valves in plumbing
  • Trim and remove trees close to your building
  • Add sandbags as necessary (water pumps can be covered by water insurance in some cases but is not guaranteed)

Financial Preparation

As a business owner, it is crucial to understand your insurance policies and exactly what is covered. For example, most property insurance policies have a surface water exclusion. Have a safety fund available in case of the worst-case scenario. 

Marine Fire Safety

Port Houston has already experienced the effects of hurricanes, and there are steps to prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters (well, like fires). 

Some of the key points to remember with marine safety are properly managing your:

  • Certifications and Documents
  • Fire Safety Equipment
  • Hurricane Preparedness Equipment
  • Engine Room Maintenance
  • Deck Maintenance and Crew Readiness
  • Emergency Equipment

This is just a starting point for general marine safety. Read on for more here.

Unfortunately, there is a long list of natural disasters to prepare for, like fires. And news flash, fire suppression and fire sprinklers are not the same thing!