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It’s fire season. 

There are standard fire precautions that are taught since middle school. Unfortunately, “Stop, drop, and roll” isn’t enough to do if there’s an oil fire

What is an oil fire?

There are different classifications of fires. UCLA Health lists an oil fire as “Class B.” This includes, “Flammable liquids such as alcohol, ether, oil, gasoline, and grease, which are best extinguished by smothering.” 

An oil fire often starts in commercial kitchens, areas where spontaneous combustion can occur, or areas where hot work is done. 

VFS specializes in Kitchen Hood Suppression Systems. Kitchen systems are essential to the safety of a commercial kitchen and the people that work within it. These systems release wet chemical extinguishing agents designed to put out the unique components of cooking fires.

As soon as the system is activated the gas line to the appliance will immediately be cut off depriving the fire of fuel and the chemical agents will be released covering the flames and depriving them of oxygen. It is much less expensive to invest in a commercial kitchen suppression system than it is to repair structural damage after a fire occurs. 

What to Do

DON’T USE WATER. I REPEAT, DO NOT AT ANY COST USE WATER. 

This can cause the flames to grow even faster. The goal is fire suppression —  so try and smother the flames with a towel or fire blanket if it is safe to do so. Another option that will work is fire extinguishers. Having these tools (especially fire extinguishers) accessible throughout your commercial building is key to fire safety and fire protection.

If the fire is not smothered successfully, RUN! 

Seriously, this could grow fast and is a danger to all your employees. There are ways to prepare for this so that the worst outcome doesn’t happen.

Preventatives

If your commercial building doesn’t have a hot work permit, you’re at a greater risk. A hot work permit guarantees that safety measures have been addressed and implemented throughout your commercial building. This means that your building and employees are prepared in case of an emergency. 

As mentioned above, having fire extinguishers or fire towels around commercial kitchens and hot work zones is important. 

Learn how to Suppress Fires, not Feelings here! —

What is a Public Safety DAS? NFPA, ERRCS and AHJ (Plot Twist, these letters actually mean something...)

You’re not alone if you see all the abbreviations in fire safety and think, “How the h*ll am I supposed to know what that all means?” 

DAS Explained

The amount of NFPA codes is a large number (like large as in over 300…), so we understand it’s hard to keep track of them all! Actually, are you trying to test your knowledge? Take our NFPA Fire Codes quiz and see how you do! 

Anyways, DAS stands for, “Distributed antenna system.” And no, we don’t mean the antenna for your cable TV.

The NFPA requires that “Buildings and structures that cannot support the required level of radio coverage shall be equipped with a radiating cable system or a distributed antenna system (DAS) with FCC-certified signal boosters, or both, or with a system that is otherwise approved, in order to achieve the required adequate radio coverage.” 

There are additional factors of the distributed antenna system that any commercial property owner should consider (based on NFPA standards). This might include:

  • Signal Strength
  • Isolation
  • System Radio Frequencies
  • Frequency Changes
  • Critical Areas
  • Radio Coverage

Another main component of NFPA 72 Section 24.5.2 is non-interference. 

In other words, “no amplification system capable of operating on frequencies or causing interference on frequencies assigned to the jurisdiction by the FCC shall be installed without prior coordination and approval of the authority having jurisdiction,” according to the NFPA. “The building manager/owner shall suspend and correct other equipment installations that degrade the performance of the public safety radio system or public safety radio enhancement system.” 

Let’s Talk ERRCS

So surprise, ERRCS is one in the same as DAS. An Emergency Responder Radio Communication (ERRCS) is crucial to have in commercial buildings. An ERRCS can also be identified as a Public Safety or First Responder DAS. 

It turns out all of the fire protection abbreviations can be interchangeable!

How About AHJ?

AHJ, the last acronym to understand for today’s lesson! AHJ stands for, “Authority Having Jurisdiction.” It can be a common misconception that the local fire marshall is responsible for any updates in fire safety. But this is not the case. Oftentimes there are multiple people or authorities who have jurisdiction and are responsible for a facility’s fire safety standards and practices.

The NFPA has regulations set under Code 70E

“In a commercial or industrial facility, subsequent installation of electrical equipment or modification of the distribution system is often not done under a government permit nor is this inspected by the government AHJ.” 

A good question to keep in mind listed from the NFPA is, “Does your management invite a government AHJ to inspect and approve the installation of a new subpanel, the move of a production line, the retrofit for a breakroom, the extension of a circuit, or the addition of a backup generator in your facility?”

Have more questions about these confusing acronyms? Reach out to VFS Fire & Security Services today! 

What is a Public Safety DAS? NFPA, ERRCS and AHJ (Plot Twist, these letters actually mean something...)

What is a Public Safety DAS? NFPA, ERRCS and AHJ (Plot Twist, these letters actually mean something…)

Emergency Lights and Exit Signs Deserve Love and Attention, too!

Although they are sometimes overlooked, emergency lights and exit signs actually should fall into regular fire safety maintenance rhythms. It’s actually a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire safety requirement to keep up-to-date emergency lights and exit signs. So, stay up-to-date and understand NFPA 101.

The code states that “emergency illumination shall be provided for a minimum of 90 minutes in the event of failure of normal lighting. The illumination must not be less than an average of one foot along the path of egress at floor level.”

Here’s what giving some love and attention to your overlooked exit signs and emergency lights might look like.

Emergency Lights and Exit Signs Deserve Love and Attention, too!

Testing

Since there are clear NFPA codes in place, there are guidelines to follow for annual inspections and emergency protection. Professionals are trained to know what to look for when it comes to emergency illumination.

There are a few steps you can take in your commercial building to ensure that your inspection goes as smoothly as possible. For one, make sure all emergency exit signs are easily accessible for the fire safety professional. 

This means making sure that the area surrounding the emergency illumination is free of obstructions for full access. For monthly inspections, some emergency exit signs have test buttons that can easily be pressed with the help of a ladder. Again, each commercial and educational building will have a different setup and might require specific inspections and maintenance. 

Red flags to look for while testing includes dull lighting, light bulbs that have blown out, and flickering. Overall, there is an emergency light combo that will work for your commercial building.

What Could Go Wrong?

If you fail to have your emergency lights and exit signs checked monthly (or at least annually), lives could be at risk. These systems are essential to guiding occupants out of a building in an emergency situation.  If the equipment in your commercial building malfunctions during an actual emergency, there is a huge liability risk. Fire prevention is our specialty, so connect with us to learn more about annual inspections.

We tell you what’s due when it’s due, and why it’s due. At VFS, we constantly communicate with your team to keep you up-to-date on the latest information within your facilities.

Learn more on our updated website today! 

 

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LANDLINES ARE SO 1987… HOW MESHWRX CAN PROTECT YOUR BUILDING AND BRING YOU INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

Implementing Mesh technology into your building is like getting your first cell phone for your birthday. Gone are the days of landlines, and dial-up internet. Mesh technology is designed to ensure your alarm systems run efficiently and effectively. 

HOW CAN MESHWRX HELP YOUR BUSINESS RUN SMOOTHLY?

As a building owner, property manager, or facility manager, one of your main goals is to ensure your property runs smoothly and effectively. To simplify your life, MeshWrx is the most reliable, cost-efficient, and hassle-free alarm monitoring solution. 

ONE OF OUR CLIENTS, WITH 101 SYSTEMS IN PLACE HAS SAVED $218,160 IN JUST THE FIRST YEAR!

Mesh network technology was designed as a means for the demanding military communication pathways. Today these mesh networks are still trusted by military, fire, and police departments, and can be extremely effective at managing your building’s fire safety.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MESH TECHNOLOGY?

YOUR CURRENT SYSTEM IS COSTING YOU A SMALL FORTUNE, UNLESS IT’S MESHWRX, THAT IS!

Monthly costs for telephone lines are increasing as quality and reliability are decreasing. The increase of service calls and time spent tracking down potential issues create additional costs when using these outdated systems. Cellular and IP may require long-term contracts and regular upgrades in equipment costs, as technology changes. 

When landlines, cellular, and IP fail, MeshWrx is there to help. In Houston TX, Hurricane Harvey hit knocking out landlines, cellular, and IP. Mesh technology was the only avenue of communication that survived through the devastation.

With MeshWrx, the cost of expensive phone lines, and upgrades are mitigated, This technology has also been proven more reliable. 

100% UPTIME

When users are added to traditional systems, like cellular and IP systems, the response time slows and can sometimes even drop. The MeshWrx system performance is quite the opposite. The radio-mesh network technology creates multiple paths for emergency signals to reach first responders. The self-configuration and smart routing results in 100% uptime!

NO UPGRADES NEEDED!

The technology bandwidth increases with cellular and IP, their equipment becomes obsolete over time. With MeshWrx, once installed- fawgehtaboutit. No, but really, forget about it! Mesh technology doesn’t require upgrades.

RELIABILITY AND FAST SIGNAL TRANSMISSION SPEED

Tower-based and single-route systems are not nearly as reliable as mesh technology. With environmental disturbances and equipment problems, your alarm systems need multiple signal paths to function effectively. MeshWrx is resistant to these disturbances, as it continually optimizes multiple signal paths. 

Mesh networks were originally designed for military communication pathways due to their reliable connection. Today, these networks are still trusted by military, fire, and police departments. 

The reliability of these systems is due to their fast alarm signal transmission speed. Mesh communicates alarms in less than 3 seconds. Whereas, telephone lines, cellular, or IP can take up to 45-60 seconds. Because of this, the mesh technology is the fastest alarm signal and safest choice for your properties. 

Mesh technology systems are systems put in place to ensure the safety of your building and the people inside. Ensuring you have the best and most effective systems in your building is essential. Contact us today to learn more!