There are a variety of extinguishers that use different extinguishing agents depending on the type of fire. Would you know which type to use if a fire broke out?
Water- Air Pressurized Water Extinguishers (APW) – These extinguishers use water as the main extinguishing agent, usually filled two thirds of the way with water. The other third is pressurized air. APW’s are ideal for Class A fires and extinguish the fire by “cooling the surface of the fuel to remove the heat element of the fire triangle.” According to OSHA, class A fires involve wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and certain plastics. FPT’s extinguisher manager, Rob Babcock, says an easy way to remember a Class A type fire is “Anything that is burnable that leaves an ash.”
CO2 or Dry Chemical – Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers – These extinguishers use CO2 as the main extinguishing agent. The non-flammable gas is under extreme pressure, allowing it to cool the fire because pieces of dry ice shoot from the horn. The CO2 works to displace the oxygen. According to OSHA, CO2 extinguishers are designed for Class B and C (flammable liquid and electrical) fires.
Multi Purpose- Dry Chemical Extinguisher – These extinguishers use ammonium phosphate to put the fire out by coating the fuel with a “layer of fire retardant powder, separating the fuel from the oxygen.” These are used for class A, B, and C fires.
Class K – Wet Chemical Extinguishers for Kitchen Fires – A class K fire extinguisher is designed to be used in the case of a kitchen fire. According to OSHA,
“Due to the higher heating rates of vegetable oils in commercial cooking appliances NFPA 10, Portable Fire Extinguishers, now includes a Class K rating for kitchen fires extinguishers which are now required to be installed in all applicable restaurant kitchens. Once a fire starts in a deep fryer, it cannot always be extinguished by traditional range hoods or Class B extinguishers.”
Class K extinguishers usually use potassium bicarbonate as an extinguishing agent. Furthermore, some Class K extinguishers spray a fine mist and are considered a Class K wet chemical extinguisher.
Clean Agent/Halocarbon Based Extinguisher – These extinguishers are ideal for a computer room/IT room where no residue or water can be used. A Halotron 1 extinguisher “is a clean agent that leaves no residue after application, and consequently inflicts little to no collateral damage on equipment in the vicinity of the fire.”
Class D Fire Extinguishers- These extinguishers are used for combustible metal fires. “Badger’s Class D Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher is ideal for addressing combustible metal fires involving metals like magnesium, sodium, potassium and sodium-potassium alloys.”
Of course, many buildings require a variety of different types of fire extinguishers to satisfy the many emergency scenarios that could arise.
For questions about what type of extinguisher would best fit your needs or to schedule a fire extinguisher training class, contact us.
Wondering if your building is up to code? Contact FPT for a free compliance audit.
Fire Protection Team, with locations in Connecticut and Southern New Hampshire, is the Northeast’s premier source for all your fire protection and life safety needs.
While many buildings are stocked with extinguishers at key locations, their effectiveness is lost if people are afraid to use them in an emergency or simply lack the know-how of how use them safely.
Nearly three in four Americans have never used a fire extinguisher, according to polls. More than half of adults surveyed by Harris, 55 percent, have never used or received training on the proper operation of a fire extinguisher. According to the NFPA, “Once a fire begins its size and intensity can double in just 60 seconds.” This makes quick action critical if a fire breaks out. Fire extinguisher training helps to ensure proper use and confidence in the event of an emergency.
At a recent Fire Protection Team training session at a local nursing home, most employees claimed to have knowledge of the acronym PASS – a commonly-used reminder of the steps involved in fire extinguisher use (see below). However, after an on the spot quiz from the FPT trainer, it was clear they were a bit unsure.
Life Safety Codes require both the placement and training in the proper use of fire extinguishers in commercial buildings. In fact, training sessions are required by OSHA requirement 1910.157(g)
“Where the employer has provided portable fire extinguishers for employee use in the workplace, the employer shall also provide an educational program to familiarize employees with the general principles of fire extinguisher use and the hazards involved with incipient stage fire fighting.”
Fire Protection Team training sessions are designed to both satisfy the OSHA standard and prepare employees for an emergency.
How does a training session work? Prior to the training event, Fire Protection Team sets up a tub filled with water with a pipe running underneath that delivers propane to the tank to act as fuel for the fire. This demo setup is designed to maximize safety of all participants and our staff. The propane that acts as fuel comes from a propane tank similar to the one on your gas grill at home. This allows for the fire to be turned on or off with the twist of a dial. Additionally, using propane ensures there is no mess left at the site of the demo. CO2 extinguishers are used to ensure no powdery mess is left at the site.
Fire Protection Team provides the all the extinguishers needed for the training. The trainer reviews topics such as types of fires, various types of extinguishers, proper use of a fire extinguisher and most importantly what to do in case of an emergency.
The acronym PASS provides a convenient way to remember the necessary steps for fire extinguisher use.
P – Pull or twist the pin, essentially breaking the seal and “unlocking” the extinguisher.
A – Aim at the base of fire, standing 6 to 8 feet away.
S – Squeeze the lever on the top releasing the agent used to extinguish the fire.
S – Sweep across the base of the fire.
After each individual successfully extinguishers the fire, the trainer answers any questions or concerns that may have come up throughout the training.
For questions about what type of extinguisher would best fit your needs, or to schedule a fire extinguisher training class, contact us today.
Wondering if your building is up to code? Contact Fire Protection Team for a free compliance audit. Fire Protection Team, with locations in Connecticut and Southern New Hampshire, is the Northeast’s premiere source for fire protection and life safety needs.
Ever wonder just how effective a fire sprinkler system can be? The Fire Protection Team was on hand as the Cheshire Fire Department gave a public demonstration of the life and property saving power of fire sprinkler systems during a side-by-side demonstration. This side-by-side burn demonstration was offered to give members of the public, home owners, business owners, and industry professionals a live, real world reminder of the benefits of a sprinkler system.
This live demonstration was set up in an outdoor parking lot. To best illustrate the benefits of a sprinkler system, two three-walled rooms were built and placed side by side. Both structures mocked a normal living room, containing a couch, coffee table and rug, etc. However, one contained a wet sprinkler system with one mid-ceiling fire sprinkler. The Fire Marshall began by lighting the unprotected room on fire. The fire spread quickly, reaching the ceiling, right before the flash point. The fire was extinguished soon after the flash point. The damage was severe.
Next, the sprinkler-protected structure was ignited. However, as the fire began to build and the heat rose toward the ceiling, the sprinkler head was set off. At that point, the fire sprinkler dropped out of the ceiling releasing water, extinguishing the fire before it spread to the rest of the structure. The fire sprinkler system was set off long before the flash point, minimizing damage throughout the simulated living room.
The piece of mind you get from having a home protected with a fire suppression sprinkler service is truly priceless. — Ned Nichols, President, Fire Protection Team
According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Automatic sprinklers are highly effective and reliable elements of total system designs for fire protection in buildings.” The West Haven Fire Marshal began his speech with a powerful statistic reminding the crowd sprinklers are an effective method to mitigate fire damage. Therefore, allowing individuals to escape a burning structure. The fire marshal cited in a structure without a sprinkler system your chances of getting out are only at around 50%, compared to over an 80% chance in a structure with a sprinkler system. The NFPA report , US Experience with Sprinklers furthers this notion stating, “with wet-pipe sprinklers the fire death rate per 1,000 reported home structure fires was lower by 82% and the rate of property damage per reported home structure fire was lower by 68%.” The figure to the right draws a comparison showing the amount of damage in a structure with and without automatic extinguishing equipment such as a wet pipe sprinkler system. The figure cites $ 21,000 in damage in an educational facility lacking an automatic extinguishing system. On the other hand, in a similar facility equipped with a well maintained and serviced system the damage only amounted to around $8,000. The cost of the damage was 61% higher in the structure without a system. The benefits of a fire sprinkler system are evident. The NFPA cites the death rate lowering by 82% and the property damage rate to lower by 68%.
Fire Protection Testing services include new installations, retrofits, inspections and testing, as well as maintenance of your fire sprinkler system. Our goal is to ensure you are safe and in compliance with NFPA 25 Water Based Fire Protection Systems Codes. There are a variety of fire sprinkler systems that differ depending on your needs. Fire Protection Testing offers wet systems, dry systems, standpipe systems, deluge systems, preaction systems, anti-freeze systems and special hazard systems.
Want to know more about the type of fire sprinkler system would that would best fit your needs? To learn more or to schedule or a free compliance audit, contact us. Fire Protection Team, with locations in Connecticut and Southern New Hampshire, is your premier source for all your fire protection and life safety needs in the Northeast.
— This article was written by Zach Clark
Could the hydrant of the future be coming soon to your neighborhood?
A former New York City firefighter set out to bring hydrants into the 21st century, taking on some of today’s most common concerns.
Traditional hydrants break, leak, and freeze, sometimes cost people their lives. The New Sigelock Spartan is designed to be tamper-proof and durable and bring a whole new look to city sidewalks.
“It would shock you how often fire hydrants don’t work when you need them,” said George Sigelakis, designer of the new hydrant and founder of Sigelock Systems. “It’s always in the back of our minds,” said the former firefighter and creator of the first major fire hydrant redesign in more than a century.
In the early ’90s, Sigelakis set out to change how the hydrant is constructed, both inside and out. He spent the next 20 years researching, developing, and perfecting his prototypes. He claims his new hydrants are safer and more efficient than their predecessors with the potential to transform our urban infrastructure.
National statistics on hydrant performance are difficult to find, local studies tell the story: According to one recent report, one in seven fire hydrants in Newark, New Jersey don’t work, and replacing them could cost about $500 million. Phoenix spends $3 million a year repairing old or broken hydrants. Illegally opened fire hydrants cost Philadelphia taxpayers $1 million every year.
How to build better fire hydrants
Before a redesign, Sigelakis needed to understand the reasons traditional hydrants fail. He identified two key causes. First, most hydrants are made of cast iron. This material erodes with time and exposure to the elements, leading to cracks, leaks, and freezing. Second, traditional hydrants are easy to open. This offers big temptation to someone looking to cool down on a hot summer day. But with an output of 1,000 gallons of water per minute, they are an expensive substitute for a sprinkler. What’s more, residents often fail to close the hydrant properly, leading to leaks and wasted water.
Sigelakis made his better hydrant nearly impossible to break into. The working parts of the Spartan “Security Model” are completely encapsulated in a smooth, spherical locking mechanism. The lock can only be opened with a special tool he provides, which exerts more than 3,000 pounds of inward force. The result is a nearly impenetrable, simply-designed (if somewhat odd-looking) nub. During testing, it took hours to crack into the hydrant with an arsenal of tools that included torches.
Next, Sigelakis used a mixture of stainless steel and ductile iron to construct the hydrant rather than traditional cast iron. These materials are resistant to corrosion and coated with a special powder coating to further prevent rust. He reengineered the internal parts to keep leftover water from pooling and freezing in cold weather. Sigelakis claims the newly-designed hydrant should last 200 years maintenance free.
The Spartan hydrant met and exceeded all the requirements for certification from Underwriters Laboratories, an independent organization that tests products for public safety and is the first and only hydrant to receive a new UL certification–“264B”–verifying its tamper resistance. Currently there are 150 Sigelock hydrants installed across 11 states, though Sigelakis hopes that as these early models stand the test of time, other communities, including major metropolitan areas, will follow suit.
You might be surprised by a potential danger lurking in your home. If you’re like many, your home has a catch-all “junk drawer,” repository for everything from pens and pencils to coins, miscellaneous parts and stray batteries (who knows if they’re fresh?).
If there are loose 9-volt batteries there, though, there is a better reason to clean them out besides just feeling organized. Those batteries can start a fire. It goes like this: A metal object touches the posts of the batteries, causing a short circuit, which creates enough heat to start a fire.
Fires from loose 9-volt batteries have been reported across the country, from Colorado to Kansas and New Hampshire. This is such an unexpected hazard for many that homeowners have launched grassroots public awareness campaigns.
You can minimize danger from 9-volt batteries
NFPA’s 9-volt battery safety tip sheet warns of the dangers of storing 9-volt batteries in a drawer near paper clips, pens, coins, or other batteries. This applies to any 9-volt batteries, whether they are recently purchased or seem to be “dead.”
Items such as keys, aluminum foil, and steel wool should never be kept near 9-volt batteries. If one of these items touches both battery posts, there is an even greater risk of a fire starting.
Batteries should be kept in original packaging until ready for use. If loose, keep posts covered with masking, duct, or electrical tape.
The NFPA sheet also gives tips on the safe disposal of 9-volt batteries: Cover the posts with masking tape, duct tape or electrical tape before tossing them. Check to see what the regulations are in your municipality – some prohibit throwing 9-volt batteries in the trash. Of course, the best choice is to take them to a collection center for household hazardous waste.
It may seem ironic that the batteries we use in our smoke alarms could cause a potential hazard, but regardless of the use homeowners should take care to follow simple safety precautions.
The Fire Protection Team is deeply committed to life and fire safety. To learn more about fire and life safety services by FPT visit us at FireProtectionTesting.com
Your fire extinguishers work only if people use them. Will your employees know how to choose the right extinguisher in the event of a fire? Will they have the confidence to use it properly?
Connecticut-based training is quick, painless and just a phone call away. By investing just an hour of time, we can help ensure your employees are comfortable with the proper use of fire extinguishers. This means they are much more likely to take action when a fire extinguisher is needed most.
While regulations require that certain types of facilities have yearly staff training, FPT recommends extinguisher training for all customers.
Fire extinguisher training takes about an hour which includes classroom time and hands-on training for all personnel. Topics include first steps in the event of a fire, how to choose the right extinguisher, safe use of the extinguisher and more. We conclude with a question and answer session.
The FPT fire extinguisher staff has found that employees really enjoy this type of training. Many are pleased to discover that they have the information and the skills they need in case of an emergency.
To learn more or schedule a training session for your staff, contact us.
It seemed like spring would never come to New England, but warmer weather is finally here.
This means it is time for FPT to make its annual round of sprinkler trip testing of dry sprinkler systems.
Have you ever wondered what this annual safety check is all about?
Dry sprinkler systems contain pressurized air rather than water. These are often used in areas where water would freeze during colder weather. Once warmer weather arrives, it is safe for knowledgeable trained technicians to move water through the pipes to test the system to be sure they are in working order.
Of course, it is up to the building owners to ensure that these systems are regularly checked and maintained to be sure all residual water is drained out on a regular basis.
Have questions about testing your dry fire sprinkler system? Contact us today.