Home Fire Risk Increases as Holiday Season Begins, Starting with Halloween

  1. Right Place for Wrong Time. Make sure your fire extinguisher is located in the right place for the wrong time.
    Too often a homeowner will have one, but place it somewhere in the home where a fire is less likely. When the time comes to use it,
    you don’t want to scramble around the house, losing precious time that may keep a small fire from turning into a big one.
  2. Up to Code? Make sure you fire extinguisher works/is up to code. Because most of us will never have to use it, a
    fire extinguisher may age and become useless. You should have a professional come and check the quality of the extinguisher to make sure
    it will be ready when needed. If you live in an apartment or condominium, make sure you property managers stay on top of the usability
    of these important protection tools.
  3. Know How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher – Once again, most of us will never feel like the fire will happen to us. While extinguishers are made to be easy-to- operate, it is better to be sure you know how to use it…before you are in an emergency. Your local fire department.
  4. Check Your Smoke Detectors – Are the batteries working well? How old is your smoke detector? Have you ever tested it? This is the perfect time of year to ask yourself these questions. Another option is to keep an eye out on new smoke detectors hitting the market that also include carbon detection.
  5. Check Your Food Often. Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on. Kitchen fires are the most common this time of year.
  6. Decorations. Try to by decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections

About LifeSafety Management

Founded in 1994, LifeSafety Management is a provider of commercial fire alarms, fire sprinkler systems and security systems. These services are essential for maintaining a safe environment for both people and property, and we are dedicated to exceeding the industry standard. By offering installation, inspection and monitoring with signature customer support, LifeSafety Management has become a leader in life safety. In fact, our management team has more than 100 years of collective experience in the fire and security services industry.

What Makes Us Different

Consult the NFPA’s Life Safety Code for Fire Safety Guidelines – But Don’t Forget State and Local Codes

Whether managing, building, or remodeling a structure, it pays to consult NFPA’s Life Safety Code

If you own, manage, or are otherwise responsible for a building, fire safety should be a major priority. While everyone knows that safety elements such as exit signs, fire alarms, and regularly-placed fire extinguishers are important for fire safety, these features are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making sure a structure is truly protected from fires.

To learn more, you’ll want to turn to the experts at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the largest and oldest fire safety trade organization in the United States. The NFPA publishes and regularly updates the NFPA 101: Life Safety Code, a comprehensive guide to fire safety strategies and policies designed to help protect buildings and their occupants from fires.

The NFPA Life Safety Code addresses a variety of fire safety issues

The NFPA Life Safety Code doesn’t simply issue guidelines for one or two kinds of buildings; it goes in depth to discuss all kinds of structures, and includes guidance on elements such as sprinkler systems, fire alarms, lighting for emergencies, and protection from special or unique hazards. Additionally, the code is the only document in the fire safety field that presents fire safety regulations for both new and existing buildings, making it extremely useful for a variety of construction and renovation purposes.

Many state and local governments, as well as federal agencies have adopted a version of the code

The NFPA’s Life Safety Code was designed to be easily adopted by state, local, and federal fire regulations, and many governments use it to function as their fire code. However, some governments and agencies use an older version of the code or an edited version with specific changes unique to their city, state, or government organization. To learn if the NFPA 101 code has been adopted in your area, you should contact your state fire marshal, as well as any other state or federal agencies that may need to approve your building for specific or highly-regulated uses.

For example, a hospital undergoing construction or renovations may need more than just a state fire marshal’s fire safety approval; the project may also need the go-ahead from the state’s healthcare licensing agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the hospital or healthcare company’s insurance carrier, state building officials, and potentially multiple other parties.

For basic questions, consult the NFPA Life Safety Code FAQs

While the NFPA Life Safety Code is a meticulously produced and detailed guide, it may be difficult to read through it if you have a simple question. That’s why NFPA created an FAQ section on their website to help answer a few basic, commonly-asked questions about subjects including the difference between new construction and renovation, the necessity of sprinklers in various building types and situations, and the rules involving common building elements such as doors, stairs, and hallways.

Of course, if you’re doing any serious construction or renovation, it’s essential to have a life safety expert review all your state, local, and any applicable agency building codes in detail – but if you just have a question or two, guides like NFPA’s FAQs are a great way to start.

To learn more about NFPA’s Life Safety Code and how it affects your current structure or a renovation or construction project, contact the experts at LifeSafety Management today at (800) 330-1158 or through our contact form for a free consultation.

Why a Building Owner Should Upgrade to an Addressable Fire Alarm Panel

Addressable panels provide essential information to building managers, contractors, and safety personnel

If you own, operate, or manage a building with conventional fire alarm panels – ones that don’t specify where an alarm or detector was triggered – you may want to consider upgrading to an addressable fire alarm panel. Unlike conventional panels, addressable panels provide specific and essential information that can drastically reduce service time and costs and, in some cases, could even provide you the information needed to prevent emergencies.

Addressable panels show which heat alarm, smoke detector, pull handle, or duct detector was triggered

If you hear a fire alarm go off a very large building with a conventional fire alarm panel, it could be coming from one (or more) of hundreds of heat detectors, smoke detectors, pull stations, or duct detectors, and it could take a long time to determine which of these triggered the alarm. This could simply lead to inconveniences, such as taking hours to determine the unit in which a toaster triggered a smoke detector in a large apartment complex, or costly and potentially dangerous problems, such as not being able to discover the source of fire in an office building before it spreads, endangering the safety of occupants.

Addressable panels may be able to reduce service costs by providing contractors more detailed information

In addition to saving time for a building manager and his or her staff, addressable panels may also be able to reduce service costs when a building’s safety contractors test, upgrade, or otherwise repair the fire alarm and its related equipment. Many safety contractors bill by the hour. And instead of spending time searching your building for the cause of a problem, with addressable panels, they can spend that time fixing it.

For example, addressable panels can often help service companies determine whether a problem in a fire system is related to the wiring or to a device itself, which could save clients more time and money on service by preventing the unnecessary replacement of expensive safety equipment.

Some cities are now requiring that new buildings have addressable panels installed, and it’s not hard to see why

In some cities across the United States, local governments are mandating that new buildings are built with addressable panels to help save fire departments time and improve overall fire safety. And providing detailed information to fire departments doesn’t only save money, it could save lives.

Upgrading to an addressable system is a great, long-term investment in building safety

Upgrading to an addressable fire alarm panel can sometimes be costly, but it’s a great way to invest in the safety of your building. And while you shouldn’t expect to recoup the investment quickly, over the life-cycle of the system, an addressable fire alarm panel often pays for itself, especially if it prevents a serious fire from occurring on your property.

An addressable panel means more information, less headaches, less hassle, and the peace of mind that you’re doing everything possible to protect your property and what matters most – the people using it. To learn more about addressable fire alarm panels and other technologies that can help make your building safer, contact the experts at LifeSafety Management today at (800) 330-1158 or through our contact form for a free consultation.

The Changing Communications Landscape: 2G Sunset and the Future of Telephone Lines

Make sure your building’s systems are updated so alarms remain connected to emergency services

On January 1st, 2017, AT&T is shutting down service for 2G devices nationwide as it updates its entire system to more advanced 3G and 4G signals. Far from just affecting cellphones, this process, called “2G sunset,” will have serious consequences for building security alarms, fire alarms, and other life safety systems that use 2G cellular signals to communicate with emergency services providers, including police and fire departments.

What you need to do as a building owner, operator, or manager

First, it’s important to find out whether your building’s security and fire alarms rely on landlines, 2G cellular systems, or 3G/4G cellular systems for emergency communications. If the building’s alarm systems rely on a 2G signal, you should attempt to have the system upgraded as soon as possible. The alarm will still go off – but the signal will not reach the intended recipients after January 1. The upgrade should only take a couple of hours and will have your security and fire alarm systems fully operational and able to contact fire and police departments in an emergency.

Landline upgrades are also recommended

If you’ve discovered that the property that you own or manage is reliant on traditional copper phone lines (Also known as POTS lines) to transmit alarm signals to emergency responders, you may want to consider upgrading to a more modern system. With recent changes to the phone systems, many building operators are finding that traditional copper wires are having signal reliability issues. And the lack of a working signal could prevent successful communications in the case of an emergency such as a break-in, fire, or medical crisis.

Therefore, you may want to replace your alarm communications system with a 3G/4G wireless system, which is a much more reliable communications path for emergency signals, and can provide up to $100 in cost savings per building per month.

To make sure your system is up-to-date (or to have it updated) contact LifeSafety Management today

At LifeSafety Management, we’re committed to providing you with the best service possible when it comes to updating, upgrading, and maintaining your building’s security and fire prevention systems. Not only can we tell you whether your alarm signaling system needs to be upgraded, we can also get the job done ourselves – quickly, effectively, and efficiently – making sure your life safety systems are operational when they’re needed most. Contact us today at (800) 330-1158 or through our contact form for a free consultation.

Fire Safety in Information Technology: What You Need to Know

Protect your company’s IT infrastructure with proper fire safety procedures and equipment

Decades ago, before computers became mainstream, an organization was often most worried about protecting physical inventory and mountains of documents that were housed in various areas. But the dynamics that drive growth have changed. With the digital age, data centers have become a primary asset. These information technology hubs are incredibly important to the livelihood of a business – they often house critical data and customer information that could cause catastrophic harm to a company if lost or damaged.

According to FEMA, 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and 25% fail within one year. If you’re looking to go against this trend and protect your organization and sensitive digital information from a major fire, it’s critical that your organization is practicing proper fire safety procedures to safeguard IT resources.

How to protect computer equipment from fire

NFPA 75, the Standard for the Fire Protection of Information Technology Equipment, lays out the minimum requirements to protect data centers and computer systems from fire. There are two main factors to consider when selecting fire extinguishers for IT equipment:

  • NFPA 75 requires that either carbon dioxide or halogenated agent fire extinguishers are installed. Both of these types of fire extinguishers are compatible with IT equipment and even electronic media, because of their non-conductive properties.
  • In addition, portable fire extinguishers must have a minimum rating of 2-A to ensure they’re in accordance with NFPA 10. Because areas housing IT equipment are classified as being a “Light Hazard Occupancy,” the maximum area per unit in this classification is 3000 square feet. NFPA has put together a table, which we’ve referenced below to give you an idea of the number of fire extinguishers you’ll need in a data center or IT equipment facility based on square footage.

Minimum quantity of fire extinguishers necessary for Class A hazards in data centers and computer areas

Square footage 2-A Rated Fire Extinguishers
20,000 4
40,000 7
60,000 10
80,000 14
100,000 17

This table’s minimum requirements apply to occupancies classified as “light hazard;” in the case of “moderate hazard” occupancies, the requirement increases to at least one extinguisher for every 3,000 square feet.

Importance of the travel distance rule in NFPA 10

To determine Class A protection, it’s critical to do a walk-through of the facility to determine the number of fire extinguishers needed based on the 75 feet travel distance rule within NFPA 10. This rule states that the walking distance from any point to a fire extinguisher must not exceed 75 feet. This travel distance rule must be used in conjunction with the table listed above. If there’s any difference, the higher number of fire extinguishers must be used.

Signs are also critical to identify the type of fire extinguisher

In addition to the rules that govern how many and where fire extinguishers are to be placed, signs are also required that identify the type of fire the extinguisher is capable of containing. These signs must be located directly adjacent to each extinguisher.

Training is critical to maintaining compliance and preparedness

It’s also critical that designated personnel are well-versed in the compliance requirements related to fire safety in IT environments. This level of training must outline the benefits and drawbacks of the different types of fire extinguishers, and how and where to use them.

For more information on fire safety as it relates to IT equipment, or for a free consultation on your organization’s safety preparedness, don’t hesitate to reach out to LifeSafety Management today at (800) 330-1158 or through our contact form.

A Look at 5 Great Life Safety Resources

Knowledge is power when it comes to keeping a building and its occupants safe

If you own a business or manage property of any kind, understanding how to best secure your property and keep any occupants, residents, or visitors safe is a major responsibility. No matter what kind of security system or life safety system contractor you hire, it’s always helpful to understand the issues surrounding these systems and which ones may be the best fit for your property.

Here are a few links to help you understand more about life safety systems, technologies, and processes:

1. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is the leading source of information on fire, electrical, and home safety hazards. The NFPA develops a variety of safety standards for buildings and technologies based on research and development as well as practical experience. The NFPA website provides detailed information on all of the organization’s codes and standards, in-depth statistical information and reports, and blog posts and guides about all kinds of fire safety issues, including everything from reducing the risk of electrical surges to taking steps to prevent runaway wildfires.

In addition, the NFPA also has created several public safety awareness campaigns, including Fire Prevention Week, the Fire Sprinkler Initiative, and Wildfire Community Preparedness Day.

2. National Fire Information Council (NFIC)

The National FIre Information Council (NFIC) is an organization committed to compiling and sharing timely fire emergency data and emergency response information. It works with fire service organizations to help them identify problems and implement new policies and technologies. NFIC also assists these organizations in implementing the National Fire Incident Reporting System program, a government program that helps local fire organizations share information with FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.

The NFIC website has a variety of articles, guides, and research reports pertaining to fire-related data and how to use it to understand trends and prevent fires in the circumstances in which they are most prevalent.

3. United States Fire Administration (USFA)

As a part of FEMA, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) is tasked with developing policies and programs to help inform the public and further the education of fire safety and general safety professionals, and publishing comprehensive data on a variety of fire safety issues. Recent USFA reports include the analysis of data pertaining to the locations, impacts, and causes of fires, as well as information on firefighter injuries and fatalities.

4. National Association of State Fire Marshals

The National Association of State Fire Marshals is comprised of senior level state fire officials from around the United States. These officials’ responsibilities include setting and editing fire codes and standards, advising state legislatures and governors on fire safety issues, educating the public on fire safety, and investigating major fires, including cases of suspected arson.

NASFM’s many available reports include surveys and in-depth interviews with fire safety officials – with much of the information focused on trying to understand the unknown and missing data about the causes of fires throughout the United States.

5. Home Security List

Home Security List is a website and blog dedicated on providing consumers up-to-date information about security systems technology. The website compares a variety of products on a regular basis, as well as provides general information about best security and safety practices. While many of the posts are geared toward homes, a majority of the information is still applicable to larger, multi-unit residential buildings as well as commercial and industrial spaces.

While these websites can give you a great deal of information about life safety issues, when it comes to installing the systems in your property or business, you’ll need to consult with the experts. To learn more, contact LifeSafety Management today at (800) 330-1158 or through our contact form for a free consultation.

How a Full Service Life Safety Partner Can Simplify Your Property’s Operating Budget

Learn how companies can streamline their life safety budgets by relying on one partner offering a turnkey solution

As a property owner or manager, it’s critical to ensure you’re getting the best value and quality for your hard-earned dollar when it comes to selecting your service providers. And in the case of life safety, it’s advantageous to work with a reputable provider who can provide a turnkey solution that meets all of your needs, today as well as into the future.

At LifeSafety Management, we’re a full-service life safety solutions provider that stands ready to assist you in all aspects of your safety systems. Whether you’re in need of fire alarm systems, extinguisher inspections, or a comprehensive security solution, Life Safety Management is up to the task of offering our expertise, equipment and support. It is our experience that working with a single life safety partner offers several key advantages as opposed to a variety of different vendors. Take a look:

Tight system integration

By using one full-service provider, you can rely on a single contact to coordinate all of the necessary services required to properly design, install, service, inspect, and integrate your systems. Whether you’re interested in fire alarms, fire sprinkler systems, security systems, or all of the above, a full-service provider can coordinate the requirements on individual or integrated systems.

Reduce service trips

Service providers typically include a cost for their travel time and expenses to visit your property. Trip charges can really add up when you’re working with a large number of vendors who service different systems within your building – costs can average anywhere from $50 to $100 per trip. By working with a comprehensive life safety provider, you can eliminate multiple trip charges because the company is able to check multiple systems – including those that are integrated and require coordinated inspection, testing, or maintenance – during just one visit.

Cost savings due to increased efficiencies

One of the reasons many of our clients appreciate LSM’s full-service capabilities is because of the significant cost savings achieved by our ability to perform all of the necessary inspections and services across multiple systems.

At LifeSafety Management, we can often schedule required service and inspections for fire alarm and sprinkler systems at one time. Doing so eliminates the need to arrange multiple site visits that tie-up even more of your property and facilities managers’ valuable time – and time is money. Additionally, we also provide services for many building systems that integrate with life safety equipment, including elevators, HVAC systems, and more. Competitors who don’t have these capabilities need to coordinate and schedule numerous other vendors to provide the same scope of services, or won’t do it at all, leaving the scheduling task of getting the work done to the property owner or manager.

Building owners and managers can reduce administrative costs when it comes to coordinating building shutdowns for water and alarm testing. With a full-service provider, all of this testing can be done at once to help reduce costs and downtime.

Complete ownership of your life safety system

How many times have you attempted to get an answer for an issue related to a certain system within your building, only to be given the runaround by a vendor placing blame on someone else? With a full-service provider, you only have one number to call, and because your point of contact handles all of your life safety and security systems, they can control the coordination of servicing all your systems.

Stop dealing with multiple service providers to manage your different life safety systems.

Using a full-service provider like LifeSafety Management to respond to all your life safety systems is only a phone call away. Inspections, maintenance, and testing are all simplified. Downtime to your property is reduced. And your budget will be simplified, with fewer line items and potential savings in the form of fewer disparate service calls for each component.

Give our team of safety experts a call today at (800) 330-1158 or reach out to us via email through our online contact form for a free consultation.

The Importance of Fire Safety on Construction Sites

Learn about the very real fire risks that exist at construction sites

Fire safety should be a concern for all businesses, but it is especially important at construction sites. Buildings under construction can often be more at risk to fire. Workers may have chemicals on site that are combustible and wind can frequently be present around unfinished buildings, which can quickly cause a blaze to spread. It’s critical that construction companies take the proper precautions to protect their employees as well as the areas where they are working from a fire.

Common causes of construction fires

Fires can start from any number of sources on a construction site, from a lightning strike to arson, and many of them can be difficult to contain.

A common problem at construction sites stems from frayed extension cords that can start a fire, which can quickly spread to the variety of unfinished, flammable materials on site. Construction companies that are renovating older homes should be especially worried about the risk of fire, due to inferior building codes and materials. For example, older buildings often do not have adequate fire walls between floors, as well as the gaps around plumbing and electrical infrastructure to protect buildings from the spread of fire.

While adequate fire protection is common among finished, new buildings of all sizes, it’s critical to design systems with the current building stages in mind. What is appropriate for a construction site in terms of fire protection likely will not be appropriate for a finished structure.

NFPA study looks at fires at under construction residential properties

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) conducted a five-year-long study related to fires in residential properties (excluding one and two-unit properties) that were under construction or being renovated. This study, concluded in 2014, found an estimated 830 construction fires that resulted in 12 civilian and 70 fire fighter-related injuries and $56 million in annual property damage. Additionally, the report found that there were 400 renovation fires, resulting in one fatality, 8 civilian, and 60 firefighter injuries, which caused $17 million in annual property damage.

How to reduce the risks associated with construction fires

There are a number of ways that construction companies can help to mitigate risk, including:

1. Have sufficient fire extinguishers on hand – Construction sites should have adequate fire extinguishers on hand in accordance with NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations.

2. Beware of all hazards – Construction companies must regularly inspect work sites as a project moves along to ensure safety standards. Employers must always make sure they are abiding by standards laid out by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

3. Ensure there are sufficient fire exits – During construction, workers must have adequate fire exits. If multiple exits converge into one area or hallway, this could pose a problem.

4. Reduce the amount of waste – Keep the amount of waste on a construction site to a bare minimum to reduce the amount of combustible materials.

5. Provide adequate fire training for employees – All employees should be aware of the risks related to construction fires. Regular fire training can help to keep workers informed and prepared in the event of a fire.

Contact LifeSafety Management to learn more about fire safety

If you’re interested in learning more about fire safety and how to prevent or contain fires on a construction site, feel free to reach out to LifeSafety Management today at (800) 330-1158 or through our contact form.

Laboratories Using Chemicals Are Required to Have Certain Fire Extinguishers

Keeping labs and lab workers safe with proper fire safety

Laboratories that use and store chemicals are not only workplaces and educational centers, they also typically contain materials that are highly flammable, toxic, and sometimes explosive.

For that reason, the National Fire Protection Association has broadened the scope in its NFPA 45 standard to include instructional and educational labs, requiring that each area where chemicals are handled or stored, including work areas, units, and buildings, is equipped with portable fire extinguishers.

The a, b, c, and d’s

Laboratories are one of the few environments where four of the five classes of fire can occur either individually or in combination with one another:

  • Class A: Ordinary materials, such as paper, wood, plastics, and cardboard
  • Class B: Flammable and combustible liquids, as well as organic solvents
  • Class C: Energized electrical equipment, such as appliances, burners, hot plates, power tools, and panel boxes
  • Class D: Combustible metals, such as magnesium, lithium, sodium, calcium, and titanium

The only fire class not found in a lab is Class K, or kitchen fire.

Similarly, laboratories covered by the standard are classified based on the type and amount of flammable gases and flammable and combustible liquids present – not by the fire classifications above. Instead, a laboratory class is usually determined by the authority having jurisdiction over the lab, such as the owner, the insurance company, or the local fire official. Laboratory classes include:

  • Class A: High fire hazard
  • Class B: Moderate fire hazard
  • Class C: Low fire hazard
  • Class D: Minimal fire hazard

Chapter 6

NFPA 45, Chapter 6, requires all laboratory units to be provided with fire protection appropriate to the fire hazard, and specifically discusses the need for portable fire extinguishers. These portables are to be selected and installed based on NFPA 10.

As a result of the fire classifications, laboratories are considered to be a moderate to high fire hazard location since they contain varying amounts of flammables and combustible material. Fire extinguishers must comply with both area-of-coverage and travel distance criteria for these materials.

Fire extinguishers are identified by their effectiveness in combatting the classes of fire listed above: A, ABC, BC, and D. According to Fire Extinguisher 101, the best extinguisher for a lab is ABC, a dry chemical unit, which is able to manage A, B, and C fires. D-extinguishers, which use dry powder, are recommended as an additional safety measure for handling rare-but-possible Class D fires. (Water and dry chemical extinguishers can actually aggravate a Class D fire.)

Fire prevention is vital

A fire extinguisher, though, is only as good as the safety protocol in the laboratory.

For those working in laboratories, there must be consistency in best practices when it comes to the storage of chemicals, their interaction with one another, and the potential hazards that exist. Similarly, there must also be a review of safety measures to ensure that fire extinguishers are not blocked or covered, that personnel know which extinguishers are suitable for which fire class, and that there has been training on how to operate safety equipment.

Life Safety Management is committed to keeping you safe. If you have questions or are looking for advice and guidance to make sure your laboratory, office, or home meets fire safety and fire extinguisher standards, please contact our professionals at (800) 330-1158 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.