All posts by Russell

Holiday Decorating Fire Safety Tips for Homeowners

The holiday season is a time of joy, laughter, and love. No matter which holiday you and your loved ones celebrate this year, remember that fire safety always comes first. Putting up a Christmas tree, decorating the house, or baking holiday treats are all common activities that can lead to unwanted household fires. Read on for the fire safety tips every homeowner should know.

Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips

Although Christmas tree fires are not very common, they can cause catastrophic damage when they do occur. There are 200 Christmas tree fires each holiday season. On average, these fires result in six deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in property damage each year. Jot down these Christmas tree fire safety tips, especially if you prefer a real conifer tree over an artificial one:

  • When shopping for a real tree, choose one with fresh, healthy needles. One way to be sure you have selected a healthy tree is to check if the needles fall off easily. If they do, the tree is likely already drying out and poses a greater fire safety risk than a healthier tree.
  • Before placing your real tree on the tree stand, cut two inches off the base. Be sure to position the tree at least three feet away from the fireplace, radiator, candles, lamps, and other heat sources. Water the tree every day to keep it from drying out. When real trees become excessively dry, they are more likely to catch fire.
  • If you haven’t already, switch to LED bulbs for your Christmas tree lighting. They do not emit heat. Heat-emitting lights can be a fire safety risk. Plus, LED lights will last longer, too.
  • Always make sure the smoke detectors in your home are working well and have new batteries in them.
  • Consider installing fire protection sprinklers or other services to safeguard against accidental fires.
  • Dispose of your conifer tree immediately after the holidays. Do not leave it in your garage or basement for an extended period of time. Most areas offer curbside pickup. Or you can look for a tree recycling center in your area.

Holiday Decoration Fire Safety Tips

According to statistics, US fire departments respond to about 840 home fires each year caused by malfunctioning holiday decorations. These fires cause an average of two deaths, 36 injuries, and $11.4 million in property damage each year. Keep your home and your family safe with these holiday decoration fire safety tips:

  • All decorations should be flame-resistant. Whenever possible, opt for LED lighting instead. Keep all decorations at least 12 inches away from the fireplace, open candle flames, and other heat sources.
  • Do not use electrical decorations that have damage. This includes light strands, inflatable decorations, and anything else that lights up. Use clips instead of nails, to secure light strands in place. This will help prevent damaging the cord.
  • Replace all damaged or very old decorations with new ones. Always look for LED options.
  • Ensure all of your smoke detectors are working.
  • Consider using timers to automatically shut lights on and off. This can help prevent electrical fires when you are not home.

Candle Fire Safety Tips

About 300 holiday decoration fires, or 36 percent of the total amount reported, are started by burning candles. While candles can have a very soothing and relaxing feel, it is important to keep these fire safety tips in mind throughout the holiday season and the rest of the year.

  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard. Keep burning candles away from both children and pets, as well.
  • Remember to blow out your candles if you leave the room or go to sleep. If a ceremonial candle must burn continuously, place it in an enclosed glass container and set it in the sink, or a metal tray, or in a deep water-filled basin. Never leave a burning candle unattended on a table or countertop.
  • Christmas trees and candles do not mix. Under no circumstances should you leave a burning candle within range of your highly flammable tree.
  • Consider switching to flameless candles to prevent fires. This is especially important if you are planning to have many visitors over or have small children and pets around.

Holiday Baking Fire Safety Tips

A huge part of the holiday season involves good food and delicious desserts. While you may love cooking or baking with your loved ones, it is important to be safe at all times. Here are some fire safety tips for holiday chefs:

  • When baking with children, never allow them to put things in or remove things from the oven alone.
  • Always use a timer when baking. The holidays can be a busy time and it is easy to forget about one task as you begin another. A timer can help prevent fires.
  • Do not use very old or damaged appliances or electrical tools in the kitchen.
  • Before you begin your holiday prep, ensure all fire safety services around your home are fully functional.

Though holiday fires are not exceptionally common, they can be devastating. Always be sure to have proper fire safety regulations in place to protect you and your loved ones this holiday season and the rest of the year, as well.

Fire Prevention vs. Fire Protection: What’s the Difference?

For any property owner, the prospect of fire is a constant concern. Protection from fire damage must be top-of-mind when it comes to safety concerns; not only is there the potential for your business to be irredeemably damaged, there is the chance that life and limb may be harmed too.

The bottom line is that not all fires can be prevented. However – there are some things you can do to prevent and protect your business from fire.

Let’s take a step back right away and look at those last two words: prevent and protect. What’s the difference between the two? What is fire protection, and what is fire prevention? Here, we’ll break down these two different methods – both integral to maintaining your property and your business.

What is Fire Prevention?

Fire prevention is absolutely essential for your business. This process happens before a potential fire can ignite – it’s all about stopping that fire from ever happening. One of the most effective tools for fire prevention is an inspection; regular property inspections can be used to identify vulnerable areas in your facility, and fix them once they have been identified. Those vulnerable areas can include overloaded electrical outlets, improperly maintained or broken systems, and improperly stored materials.

As soon as those problems are identified, it’s vital that the property owner takes the steps to remove these threats – and ensure they don’t ever get to that point again. Using regular inspections helps prevent fires in the business.

What is Fire Protection?

Fire protection is the second element to the process. Fire protection includes a combination of different fire safety equipment and procedures used to defend your property line from fire. The exact specifications of this method will differ from company to company, but there are general elements that should be found in about every commercial facility. These will include equipment like fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and sprinkler systems. Combined, these fire protection services work together to ensure your property is constantly protected from fire; together, they work to provide the commercial space with the ultimate safety net against this potentially destructive force.

Again, inspection of your fire protection service or fire protection services is key. Fire sprinkler inspections should be performed regularly (a 5 year fire sprinkler inspection is vital) and if new elements are needed, fire sprinkler installations are a must.

Whether you are looking for a way to prevent fires or protect your property, CJ Suppression is here to help. For more information on protecting your investment, call CJ Suppression today!

The Difference Between Fire Prevention and Fire Protection with CJ Suppression

At CJ Suppression – at the top of the area’s most experienced fire protection companies and fire sprinkler installation companies – we offer an array of portable fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems to keep commercial kitchens safe. CJ Suppression offers the highest quality alarm systems to keep your business safe from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. We also offer fire suppression systems as well to help keep commercial fires controlled should they break out. Our trained technicians will work with you to determine which air sampling smoke detection system is best for your business. We will also help install and maintain the system for your commercial building.

Let us know how we can help you!

Safety Harbor Fire Chief Honored With Industry Award

Chief Josh Stefancic Honored With the American Fire Sprinkler Association’s “Fire Sprinklers Save Lives” Award

Safety Harbor Fire Chief Josh Stefancic has been honored with one of the fire prevention/suppression industry’s most prestigious awards.

Chief Stefancic was recently recognized a with the American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) Fire Sprinklers Save Lives award. AFSA Florida Chapter Chairman Chris Johnson, CEO of Piper Fire Protection in Clearwater, Florida, and member of AFSA’s Public Education & Awareness Committee presented the award to Stefancic.

“I am so proud that one of our hometown heroes has been recognized for this award,” Johnson said. “Chief Stefancic is passionate about fire sprinklers and life safety. We are blessed to have him serving in our community and our state.”

Chief Stefancic has helped thousands of firefighters understand the importance – and effectiveness – of fire sprinkler technology and fire protection services through his involvement on the executive board of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA). As part of his role with the IFSTA, Stefancic has helped to author and review several training manuals, including “Fire Detection and Suppression Systems,” a guide educating firefighters on the types, arrangements and operating principles of sprinkler systems. The guide serves as a valuable resource for emergency personnel responding to incidents in protected premises.

Additionally, as a committee member of NFPA 1700, “Guide to Structural Firefighting,” Stefancic has worked to educate his firefighting peers about the benefits of fire sprinkler inspections, fire protection service, and fire sprinkler installations.

Chief Stefancic came to Safety Harbor after a long career with Fire Rescue of Largo, Florida, most recently serving as division chief. He started with Largo in August 2010 as assistant chief of life safety, moving up to assistant chief of emergency management in 2011 and district chief in May of 2012; he was named fire chief of the Safety Harbor Fire Department in June of 2018.

He has a master’s degree in fire and emergency management administration and a bachelor’s degree in fire protection and safety technology from Oklahoma State University. Chief Stefancic is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Chief Stefancic’s former post also offered their congratulations via their Facebook page.

“Chief Stefancic joins a distinguished list of fire marshals, building officials, and television personalities who have embraced this technology and have become advocates for fire safety,” Largo Fire Rescue wrote in a post. “He has helped thousands of firefighters understand the effectiveness of fire sprinkler technology, through his involvement on the executive board of the International Fire Service Training Association. There he has helped author and reviews several training manuals written to educate firefighters on the basics of fire sprinklers. We congratulate Chief Stefancic on this well-deserved award.”

For more information about fire sprinkler inspections, fire protection services, a 5 year fire sprinkler inspection or other services fire sprinkler installation and fire sprinkler inspection companies can provide, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

2017 Class of AFSA Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Society

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) Fire Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Societyn was established in 2012 to recognize trainees, and their sponsoring employers, who have completed all four levels of the AFSA Correspondence Course for Fire Sprinkler Fitters with a cumulative grade point average of 95% or above. Inductees into the 2017 class represent approximately the top nine percent of the 172 four-level graduates for the year.

AFSA Director of Education Services Leslie Clounts gave her congratulations to the class and the companies that employed them, stating: “Congratulations are due to these accomplished companies whose dedication to training excellence is proven in these elite apprentices. I applaud each individual who made the effort ensuring these National Honor Society students not only succeed but excel in their training endeavors.”

Recognition plaques were provided to the sponsoring employers so that they can present the plaque to their fire sprinkler fitter graduate.

The following companies are the employers of the 2017 Fire Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Society inductees:

  • Aero Automatic Sprinkler, Phoenix, AZ (three inductees)
  • AFPG, Inc., Jackson, TN
  • Allied Fire Protection, Pearland, TX
  • Colby Fire Protection, Rochdale, MA
  • Fire Tech Services, Inc., Chesapeake, VA
  • Front-Line Fire Protection, LLC, North Andover, NH
  • Johnson Controls, South Bend, IN
  • Johnson Controls, Williamsville, NY
  • L&L Fire Protection, Torrington, CT
  • Meridian Fire Protection, Salem, NH
  • Metropolitan Fire Protection, Broomall, PA
  • Phoenix Fire Protection, Idaho Falls, ID (two inductees)
  • Platinum Fire Protection & Services, Marlborough, MA (two inductees)
  • Tri-State Fire Protection, Smithfield, RI
  • Western Automatic Sprinkler, Salt Lake City, UTAFSA

Source: https://sprinklerage.com/honoring-academic-excellence/

Home Fire Preparedness Campaign

On average, 7 people, mainly children and the elderly, die every day from a home fire; 36people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day, and over $7 billion in property damages occur each year.

The Red Cross launched their Home Fire Campaign (http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/prevent-home-fire) in 2014 in an effort to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the US by 25%. Since the campaign launched in 2014, the Home Fire Campaign has helped install over one million smoke alarms, in over 500,000 homes, saving over 400 lives.

A critical part of this campaign is Sound the Alarm (https://www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm), which is a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. This spring, from April 28th to May 13th, the Red Cross will be installing 100,000 free smoke alarms in over 100 cities across the country as part of this campaign.

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) joined forces with the Red Cross to support this campaign, with the goal of raising $10,000 to integrate fire sprinklers into their Home Fire Preparedness Campaign.

The AFSA is currently a quarter of the way to their goal and needs more help. Your tax-deductible donation will not only enable the Red Cross to provide critical support to those struck by home fires, but will also help get fire sprinklers included in the educational information shared by the Red Cross.

Make your donation here: https://www.redcross.org/donate/cm/afsa-pub

Get involved with the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign to help save lives across the country.

  • Teach home fire safety. Did you know that if a fire starts in your home, you may have as little as two minutes to escape? During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm and a regularly-practiced fire escape plan can save lives.
  • Become a volunteer with the Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer). Whether helping displaced families, providing care and comfort to the ill or injured, or teaching others how to respond in emergencies such as home fires, it’s important that we all do our part.
  • Join the Sound the Alarm campaign. Get involved in events near you by working in teams to install free smoke alarms across the country and spread fire prevention and safety education.
  • Make a donation to the Red Cross. (AFSA donation form: https://www.redcross.org/donate/cm/afsa-pub; Red Cross Home Fire Campaign donation form: https://www.redcross.org/donate/home-fire-campaign)

Sources:

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102312387686&ca=798359b4-fbf6-40ad-ad0b-2124b6a8d9c1

https://www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/prevent-home-fire#Get-Involved

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire

Trump Tower Fire in NYC

The Trump Tower fire in New York City on April 7th left 67-year-old ToddBrassner dead and six firefighters injured. The apartment where the fire broke out did not have sprinklers or a smoke alarm. On April 16th, the New York Fire Department confirmed that the cause of the fire was an accident caused by “electrical-sequenced power strips containing multiple components.”

This fire marks the second fire in the building this year. On January 8th, two civilians and one firefighter suffered injuries from a fire on the top of the building. Mr. Trump’s son, Eric Trump, stated that the January fire had been sparked by an electrical issue in a cooling tower.

The skyscraper opened in 1984 without sprinklers on its residential floors. This measure has been required in new buildings since 1999, when New York City because the last big city in the United States to require sprinklers. Mr. Trump, a private citizen and property developer at the time, had lobbied to try and prevent the mandate. The 1999 bill requiring sprinklers was spurred on by two fires in 1998, one of which occurred in an apartment block with no sprinklers, and the other of which occurred when hallway sprinklers failed.

Survivors of the fires had wanted all buildings to have sprinklers, but the legislation that was passed was not retroactive. This meant that the legislation passed stated that any buildings constructed before that time were only required to have sprinklers if they underwent gut renovations, essentially only requiring that new buildings install sprinklers.

After the legislation passed, Mr. Trump recanted his previous position, stating that he understood that sprinklers would make residents feel safer. As a result of the new bill, Mr. Trump’s new 72-story Trump World Tower, built between 1999 and 2001, incurred $3 million in costs for the installation of sprinklers. However, Mr. Trump, along with many other existing property owners, did not retrofit their existing buildings with sprinkler systems.

Neither Mr. Trump nor any of his family were in the building at the time of the fire. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro has stated that there is extra fire protection at Trump Tower when Mr. Trump is present.

 

Sources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-tower-fire-second-2018-blaze-in-sprinkler-free-residence/

https://ny.curbed.com/2018/4/17/17246426/trump-tower-fire-nyc-cause-april-2018

 

The Hermitage gets an Upgrade

The Hermitage

The Hermitage mansion, home of the seventh U.S. President Andrew Jackson, recently received a renovation for fire suppression, three full decades after the last time the fire protection system was upgraded.

The Hermitage has had quite a few brushes with fire, starting from 1834, when a chimney fire heavily damaged the house. While rebuilding the house to be more fashionable, Jackson also added several precautions in case of a future fire, including a metal roof and white fireproof paint to cover the smoke-damaged brick.

This year, the Hermitage is receiving yet another renovation to improve its fire protection system. The new system is funded in partnership with the State of Tennessee and was created with the expertise of the Nashville Fire Marshal’s Office.

For the past thirty years, the mansion utilized a traditional fire sprinkler system, which functions by soaking an area with large quantities of water to suppress a fire until the fire department can arrive and extinguish it. The old system was dependent on strong water pressure to expel water, but continued building in the area has since diminished the Hermitage’s water pressure. The combination of the low water pressure and the site’s existing piping meant that the Hermitage was no longer able to support a traditional sprinkler system.

The new fire protection system utilizes automatic mist fire suppression, allowing it to extinguish fires faster than the traditional system while using far less water. The reduction in water sprayed also means less damage to historic objects inside the mansion and the structure itself in the case that the sprinklers do engage. This results in less time and money spent on cleaning and repairing in the aftermath of a fire.

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/02/16/hermitage-installs-new-fire-protection-andrew-jackson-home/309299002/

Station Fire and Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

To remember those who lost their lives and honor those who survived the devastating Station Fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a memorial service was held on February 20th, exactly fifteen years after the event. Among attendees at the service, the National Fire Sprinkler Association was present to share information about new legislation that can potentially prevent similar fires from occurring in the future.

The legislature in question, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, recently received several critical provisions that will provide significant tax incentives for property owners to install fire sprinklers. Under Section 179, small businesses will be able to fully expense fire sprinklers, up to a cap of $1 million in each year of expense. This allows for retrofitting and upgrading of numerous properties. Furthermore, any small business that needs to borrow money to pay for the retrofitting will be able to fully deduct the interest expense on the loan.

Fire services and other advocates can now promote fire sprinklers and overall improvements to fire protection systems in existing small businesses with the financial support from these provisions. The installation or upgrading of fire protection systems can prevent loss of life, injuries, emotional distress, bankruptcy, and even imprisonment, all of which occurred as a result of the Station Fire.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-fire-sprinkler-association-joins-other-national-organizations-at-15-year-station-fire-anniversary-service-300602324.html

Conducting Flow Tests

Hydrant Flow Tests

Hydrant flow tests are important to determine the flow rate and pressure in any location throughout a water distribution system. To ensure that fire hydrants are capable of providing water at an acceptable pressure and flow rate for public health and firefighting operations, hydrants must be tested regularly.

Hydrant flow tests are conducted to provide information to design a water-based suppression system and to determine if the water supply will meet firefighting requirements.

To minimize time and monetary cost, it is important to ensure that flow tests are conducted properly to reduce the chances of having to conduct multiple tests. For example, if tests conducted incorrectly may determine that a fire pump is not necessary when it actually is, and end up wasting time and money while harming reputations. To avoid this, it is best to complete hydrant flow tests as correctly as possible.

Introduction to the NFPA 291

Fire hydrant flow tests can vary greatly across the industry and the nation. To ensure that flow tests are correctly performed, we recommend following the recommended practice detailed by the The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in NFPA 291, Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and Marking of Hydrants.

Notes About the NFPA 291

Current editions of NFPA 291 recommend group testing, where you flow more than one hydrant. Although this may be problematic and not entirely necessary, using one hydrant for static and residual pressures while using a different hydrant for flow is the best practice.

Chapter 4 of NFPA 291, 2016 edition, recommends having a static, or test, hydrant and one or more residual, or flow, hydrants. To determine how many flow hydrants are required, it is recommended to flow enough water to provide at least a 25% drop in residual pressure when compared to the static pressure.

It is generally accepted that a 25% drop is not required to design a fire suppression system. Since the hydrant flow tests are also used to determine whether the water supply meets firefighting requirements, it is best practice to flow a similar amount of water as the most demanding flow, regardless of pressure. It is impractical in some jurisdictions to get a 25% drop in pressure, even when required fire flows are easily achievable. Ultimately, the results of the flow test should provide enough information to accurately plot the static and residual points on a water supply graph to demonstrate water demand against water supply.

It may be best to show the water supply curve at 20 psi because the International Fire Code Appendix B and the NFPA 1 have required fire flows at 20 psi.

Choosing a Hydrant to Test

When choosing which hydrants to test, it is important to consider traffic issues and any potential damage to the area surrounding the flow hydrant due to the water flow. After determining which hydrants will be used for the flow test, a time should be selected when there is “ordinary” water demand. For residential areas, this time might be between 6:00-9:00am and 4:00-8:00pm, when most people are at home using water. For industrial areas, this time might be between 7:00am and 6:00pm, as this is when most facilities will be operating.

It is better to use 2 ½ inch hydrant outlets as opposed to the pumper outlets, which is anything larger than the 2 ½ outlet, because the 2 ½ inch outlets are completely filled across the entire cross section of the outlet. On the other hand, pumper outlets will have voids, which can result in inaccurate pressure readings. If using the 2 ½ inch outlets is impractical or if they cannot produce the necessary flow, the pumper outlets can be used, but the resulting flow should be modified to account for the voids in the water flow.

How to Conduct the Flow Test with a Pitot Tube

Ideal Pressure Readings

When conducting the test, it is important to completely open all hydrants to reduce the potential for damage to the hydrant and preserve the accuracy of the test. For the greatest accuracy when conducting a reading using a handheld pitot tube, NFPA 291 recommends keeping the pitot tube pressure readings between 10 and 30 psi at full flow, or when the hydrant is completely open.

This is due to the problems that arise when pressure is outside of that range. If pressures are below 10 psi, the flow is not enough to completely fill the cross section of the open outlet and can result in inaccurate readings. If the pressure rises above 30 psi, it can be difficult to align and maintain the position of the pitot tube for long enough to take an accurate reading. Furthermore, pressures above 30 psi may bend or break pitot tube blades.

That being said, the 10 to 30 psi range is a recommendation. If it is impractical to open multiple hydrants at once, it is best to keep pressures as close to 30 psi as possible while opening as many hydrants at full flow as feasible.

Angling the Pitot Tube

When using a handheld pitot tube, make sure to hold the blade perpendicular (at a right angle, or 90 degrees) to the outlet, so that the orifice of the pitot tube blade is approximately half the distance downstream of the outlet (1 ¼ inches for a 2 ½ inch outlet) and in the center of the flow for the most accurate reading.

Other Considerations

If multiple outlets and hydrants are used to achieve the desired flow, a single pitot reading at each hydrant can be taken and these values added together to determine the total flow at the residual pressure.

Conducting Flow Tests Without Pitot Tubes

As there are multiple products on the market that make finding flow pressure easier and more accurate, handheld pitot tubes are used less often. If you are utilizing one of these products, make sure to verify the flows at different pressure readings, as manufacturers may have different methods of determining the flow for products that are not covered in NFPA 291. These other products also have recommended pressure-operating ranges, so it is important to check all information before conducting a flow test.

The NFPA 291 does have an option for getting flow reading without a pitot tube or other flow pressure reading device in Section 4.9. This section states that a hydrant cap can be used on one 2 ½ inch outlet while opening and flowing the other 2 ½ inch outlet, because the reading should be approximately the same. However, this should not be considered an equivalent option in place of a pitot tube and is only to be done if a pitot tube or other flow pressure reading device is unavailable.

Gauge Accuracy

When conducting a hydrant flow test, it is best to have a selection of gauges with various pressure reading ranges, as gauges tend to be more accurate in the middle of their calibrated range. Furthermore, the range should match the flow that is being measured, as a gauge with a maximum pressure of 200 psi may have difficulty accurately reflecting a pressure between 10 and 30 psi. Conversely, a gauge with a range between 10 and 30 psi would not be able to measure a pressure that was much higher than 30 psi.

Gauge accuracy is also a percentage of the maximum reading of the gauge, so a greater range is not always better. If there is a selection of gauges to choose from, then they can be changed to keep the reading within the optimal range.

Although air-filled pressure gauges are usable, it is recommended to use digital or liquid-filled analog gauges, which can reduce the vibrations in the needle and make the reading easier to read.

To obtain the most accurate reading from residual and flow gauges, it is best to let the hydrant flow for a little while to stabilize the flow before taking a reading. Once the flow is stable, note the high and low readings of the pressure range on the gauges to determine an average. The average residual and flow pressures are the values that should be used as results, as opposed to using the minimum or maximum value obtained.

Opening and Closing Hydrants

It is important to properly open and close hydrants before and after conducting flow tests. It is particularly important when conducting a flow test with a dry barrel hydrant or in areas subject to freezing.

If a dry barrel hydrant is not completely opened, it can flow an excessive amount of water out of the weep hole and cause soil erosion around the hydrant base. Erosion over time can cause the hydrant to sink and may potentially damage the underground piping.

Furthermore, if a dry hydrant is not properly closed, water can be trapped in the barrel or cause water to continually flow from the weep hole. Water trapped within the dry barrel in areas subject to freezing can cause internal damage to the hydrant.

Proper Procedure to Open and Close Hydrants

To ensure that hydrants are properly opened and closed, follow these procedures when opening and closing the hydrant. When opening the hydrant, count the number of complete turns to verify that are made until the operating nut can no longer turn, then turn it back a quarter of a turn. When closing the hydrant, count the number of complete turns to verify that it was the same number of turns as used to open the hydrant. Once again, the hydrant should be backed off a quarter of a turn.

Before reinstalling the final hydrant cap, verify that the water has been completely drained out of the dry barrel by feeling for negative pressure at the outlet. To do so, place a hand over the open 2 ½ inch hydrant outlet for a few seconds to feel for suction. The first few times, there will be an audible pressure release when the hand is removed. Continue to do this until there is no more suction. Then, the caps may be safely replaced.

Other Considerations

Some other factors to take into account that can greatly affect your test results are whether there are any booster pumps on the water supply, whether there are water storage tanks, and the elevation of the hydrants. These effects have a higher residual pressure than static pressure, but not all water supplies have a linear relationship of flow to pressure.

These measures are important because for some water supplies, when the flow demand increases, additional water can be provided to an area through multiple pumps or valves, causing complex geometries to the pressure and flow relationship at any given point in the system. Although there is no current guidance in the NFPA 291 about this effect, it may eventually be added.

Note: Because NFPA 291 is a recommended practice, all recommendations do not have to be met exactly unless the local jurisdiction has specifically adopted NFPA 291.

Sources:

https://www.aspe.org/sites/default/files/webfm/ArchivedIssues/2011/201112/FocusonFireProtection.pdf

https://sprinklerage.com/conducting-flow-tests/

Modern Homes are Burning Eight Times Faster

First responders report that fires recently are burning hotter and faster, likely due to the increase in synthetic furniture and home decor.

Synthetic furniture and decor have been popular because they are cheaper than natural ones. However, most synthetics are made of petroleum (like gasoline), which could result in your house going up in flames in minutes. When synthetics burn, the chemicals released can replace oxygen in the body within two to three minutes of exposure, choking out anyone nearby.

An experiment tested the burn time of two rooms, one furnished with synthetic furniture and the other with natural materials, and demonstrated the difference between synthetic and natural materials.

The room with synthetic furnishings was full of flames and smoke within minutes. Flashover, or floor-to-ceiling flames, occurred as quickly as three minutes and forty seconds. On the other hand, the room with natural furnishings took almost half an hour before flashover. The company that conducted the experiment concluded that modern home fires burn eight times faster.

As a result, firefighters are under more pressure and in more danger than ever before, not only from the greater intensity of the flames but also from the chemicals released when synthetics are burned. In fact, cancer has recently overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death of firefighters. The exposure to these chemicals affects not only firefighters but homeowners and others in the building when the synthetics are burned.

Some tips to protect your home and the people inside it in case of a fire include:

  • Avoid open concept homes and close doors when possible. In the case of a fire, a closed door between you and the fire can keep temperatures down and provide more than double the oxygen to breathe compared to if the door was open.
  • Make sure your fire protection systems are up-to-date and fully functional. For inspections, maintenance and repairs of your fire protection systems, contact CJ Suppression at (951) 735-5560 for a free quote.
  • Create an escape plan for your home and ensure that all members of your family are well-versed in what to do in the case of an emergency.