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STEEL PRICE INCREASES IN 2016

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

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

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

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

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

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT EMERGENCY EYEWASH STATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Choose the right eyewash system for your facility

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

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

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

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

  1. Emergency Eyewash must be Readily Accessible

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

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

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

  1. Develop a safety plan that encompasses eyewash safety

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

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

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

reg inspections

As building owners and managers, one of your most important responsibilities is to make sure your building is safe for all its occupants. According to NFPA code, quarterly and yearly inspections of your fire and life safety systems are mandatory. In addition, some components of a system like a fire pump, require weekly and monthly inspections. It is best to consult your VFS Account Executive for details. Having your building inspected by trained and certified inspectors will help keep your safety systems in good working order.

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VFS ANNOUNCES NEW OFFERING DATA CABLING AND COMMUNICATION

VFS Fire & Security Services is excited to announce the launch of our new offering in Data Cabling and Communications – featuring the Leviton Certified Cabling System products. Leviton is the first company to offer a lifetime extended warranty against defects in material and workmanship for all certified cabling system products, as long as the product is installed by a certified Leviton distributor.   Leviton produces the highest quality products in the industry and backs this with one of the strongest warranties industry-wide. The new cutting-edge voice & data product line allows VFS to offer our clients a complete total low voltage offering, adding to our breadth of services currently provided to clients.   This new offering is a natural extension of our low voltage offerings which already include nurse call and departure alert systems.

“VFS is always challenging the status quo and we continue to look for innovative solutions to better service our clients”, says Mario Lopez, VFS Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Adding Voice and Data to our exiting low voltage business (that already includes Fire Alarm, Mass-Notification and Security) offers peace of mind to our clients.  Our clients know that one team is designing and coordinating in-house all the components and infrastructure of their entire low voltage system.”

VFS is also pleased to announce that Chris Ward has joined our team to head the low voltage division. Chris has over 20 years of experience and brings a wealth of knowledge to the business. As president of WardCom Systems Inc. which he co-founded in 1999, Chris used his strong operational and project management skills to build a company known for customer service and quality. Prior to that he held management positions with low voltage firms and has in-depth experience with voice and data cabling, fiber optics, telecommunications and wireless solutions for computer networks as well as Fire Alarm, Security and PA systems.

VFS puts our client’s needs at the forefront of every project. VFS offers and provides support services and can assist organizations with pre-planning, value engineering and budgets for projects in the pre-planning stages. VFS has the experience, expertise and people to provide organizations with the best solutions for their unique needs.

For more information on all of the services provided by VFS, please visit: http://vfsfire.com

Fire Protection

Building owners, property managers or developers could use an advocate to help assess their current and future fire protection needs. Whether retrofitting or developing an office building, retail complex, distribution warehouse, manufacturing facility, server room or any other type of occupancy, understanding the facility fire protection needs is critical. Understanding project scope and budgets prior to making a commitment on fire and life safety systems is also important. With that in mind, VFS has developed Support Services for our clients to help with these needs.

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VFS Fire & Security Services Sprinkler

The fire and life safety industry defines Special Hazards projects as those that require a fire protection system other than the traditional wet or dry system. This can include flammable or combustible solids or liquids such as:

  • Aerosols
  • Solvents
  • Corrosives
  • Pyroxylin Plastics
  • Gases
  • Cryogenic Fluids

From a fire protection standpoint, Special Hazards environments provide a unique set of challenges. These types of fires can spread rapidly in multiple directions even when there is a fire protection system in place. If you don’t have the appropriate fire protection system design and installation, a Special Hazards fire may not be controlled.

Special Hazards

At VFS, our experience in Special Hazards projects dates back to the beginning of our company over 20 years ago. We understand that these projects are unique in the fire protection industry and VFS is one of the few resources in the country qualified to handle these projects nationwide.

VFS takes the time to understand the type of hazards at your facility, and designs and installs the appropriate fire protection system for that type of hazard. It is critical to design and install the proper system for each application and with our in-house Design-Build services, we are able to apply our expertise to all of the systems that can be used in high hazard environments including:

  • Foam Systems
  • Suppression Systems (such as FM200, Inergen, CO2, Novec)
  • Detection Systems (Flame Detection, Spark Detection, Gas Detection)

A key element of the Special Hazard fire protection system is the integration of the fire sprinkler system, fire alarms and mass evacuation systems. VFS has divisions that specialize in all of these elements and we are the best in the business when it comes to this integration.

Whether your application is for a Refinery, Chemical Warehousing Facility, Tank Farm, Airplane Hangar, Data Center or any other Special Hazard environment, we have the experience, expertise and people to provide you with the best solution for your unique needs. VFS gets involved in your project starting with design, all the way through installation, maintenance, and monitoring of the system.

Contact us today to find out more about our expertise in Special Hazards!

VFS Fire & Security Services

The Quell™ Fire Protection System is the total cold storage/outdoor warehouse fire protection solution that delivers unprecedented advantages to Facility Managers including higher-level storage and added hazard configurations.  With these leading edge advantages, The Quell™ system helps improve the bottom line for your cold storage/unheated storage facility.  Now you’re able to stock more commodity classifications, achieve higher roof and storage heights, gain more flexible stocking configurations, reduce installation cost and eliminate costly in-rack sprinklers service repairs and maintenance.

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STEEL PRICE INCREASES IN 2016

Just for fun, we thought we would test your knowledge about some of the Fire Sprinkler Codes. See how well you do!

  1. What is the minimum requirement for the routine Inspections of the fire sprinkler system – Alarm Devices?

A. Quarterly            B. Semiannually             C. Annually

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FIRE SAFETY INSPECTIONS FOR YOUR FACILITIES: YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE

There have been a number of refinery fires in the past several months in several locations around the world. In one case outside of the United States, the fire resulted in 42 deaths. The fires that we have seen in our country have typically had no major injuries, but local residents get treated for respiratory problems. In all cases, the property damage from these fires is significant.

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WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR FIRE SAFETY TRAINING: A COMPLETE GUIDE

VFS is unique in the breadth of services that they provide to their clients. These services include fire sprinklers, fire alarms, access control, CCTV and special hazards to name a few. One of the key objectives at VFS is to educate and inform clients, architects, engineers, and other industry organizations, including fire authorities, about the latest fire and life safety news. The Lunch & Learn Seminars provided by VFS are one way that education is offered. VFS provides the latest information regarding code changes and fire protection products during these seminars to help better protect what matters… people, property and business.

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TOP 5 CAUSES OF COMMERCIAL FIRES

Save Time & Money with VFS

Are any of the following items important to you?

  • Receiving your inspection reports on the same day as the inspection?
  • Viewing your inspection reports from any computer, tablet or smart phone?
  • Reviewing & approving repair quotes electronically within 24 hours of the inspection?
  • View your Entire Portfolio inspection results (Pass or Fail) on one screen?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the LiNC Inspection System from VFS is for you!

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VFS SUPPORTS SANTA COP PROGRAM

UL Certified Installer of Fire Alarm Systems

More and more cities are now requiring fire alarm systems to be installed by a UL certified installer. The certification of a fire alarm system verifies that the alarm was installed in compliance with building and safety code requirements.
certified

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WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR FIRE SAFETY TRAINING: A COMPLETE GUIDE

There is a growing trend around the country for fraudulent fire inspectors to show up at a facility to conduct an inspection. There have been many cases where someone will show up at a building and tell a receptionist that they are on-site to perform a fire system inspection. The individual will walk around the building, but not actually perform an inspection. At the end of their time on site, a bill will be submitted and in many cases was paid by the tenant or the building owner without the knowledge that the inspection was fraudulent.

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“RUN LIKE HELL” IS NOT A FIRE SAFETY PROTOCOL

Cold storage fire protection systems have traditionally been an area of concern.  Managers of these systems have had difficulty in the past with the ability to store at high levels and also the ability to expand the hazard classification for what could be stored.  Now, VFS is pleased to announce a new solution – the Quell™ Fire Sprinkler System.  

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