Category Archives: Suppression Maintenance

Wildfire Season Is Here: Hardening Your House | Corona, CA

With the warmer days, comes the danger of wildfires here in California. It’s a bittersweet kind of season – fantastic for summer fun in the sun, but always a looming stress about the wildfires that ravage our homes every year. Because your home is susceptible to flyaway embers from fires close by, here are a few ways you can prepare your home, in case wildfire strikes:

Roof. The most vulnerable part of your home, roofs with wood or shingle roofs are at high risk of being destroyed during a wildfire. Use materials such as composition, metal, clay or tile. Block any spaces between roof decking and clear rain gutters to prevent embers from catching and remove accumulated vegetative debris from the roof.

Windows. Install dual-paned windows with one pane of tempered glass to reduce the chance of breakage in a fire and install screens in all usable windows to increase ember resistance and decrease radiant heat exposure.

Walls. Wood products, such as boards, panels or shingles, are flammable and not good choices for fire-prone areas. Instead, use stucco, fiber cement wall siding, fire retardant, treated wood, or other approved materials.

Chimney. Cover your chimney and stovepipe outlets with a non-flammable screen. When not in use, close the fireplace flue.

Garage. Have a fire extinguisher and tools such as a shovel, rake, bucket, and hose available for fire emergencies. Also, install weather stripping to prevent flying embers from blowing in.

Fences. Best practice is to separate your fence from your house or upgrade the last 5-feet of the fence to a noncombustible material to reduce the chance of the fence from bringing fire to your home.

For more information about home hardening tips, 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.

Thousands of SCE Customers Without Power as Strong Winds Batter SoCal | Corona, CA

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Tens of thousands of Southern California Edison customers were without power Wednesday as strong winds posed the risk of downing power lines that could spark wildfires.

SCE imposed public safety power shutoffs, in which electricity is turned off for customers in wind-prone areas. As of early Wednesday afternoon, over 26,800 SCE customers had their power shut off, while another 36,000 customers were under consideration for shutoffs.

Meanwhile, firefighters battling blazes across the Southland appeared to have gained the upper hand while contending with the strong winds following a day of ferocious Santa Anas that battered mountain and valley areas. Fire crews were working to contain a 43-acre brush fire on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians reservation near Mecca. The non-injury blaze, which was 50% contained as of Wednesday morning, was reported about 4:40 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Pierce Street and Avenue 73 amid a red flag warning due to high winds and low humidity.

Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman April Newman said 18 firefighters remained on scene with the goal of fully containing the blaze by the end of the day.

A few fires broke out Tuesday, including one in the Santa Clarita area that blackened 167 acres and a wind-driven brush fire near the westbound 10 Freeway in the San Dimas area that burned about 40 acres. Firefighters appeared to have the upper hand on both blazes Wednesday.

A red flag warning for extreme fire danger expired Tuesday night, but elevated to brief critical fire conditions were still possible Wednesday due to continued strong and gusty offshore winds, according to the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday for most of Los Angeles County, and a high wind warning was in effect until 6 p.m. for Orange County coastal areas, and until 10 p.m. for inland Orange County. North to northeast winds of 25 to 40 mph were expected in the San Clarita Valley, with gusts up to 55 mph. Gusts were expected to reach 55 mph in the San Fernando Valley, 50 mph in metro Los Angeles, and 60 mph in the mountains. The winds should become weaker by nightfall, with those number dropping by 15 to 20 mph, the NWS said. On Tuesday, the NWS recorded gusts topping 86 mph in some mountain areas, including Warm Springs and the Magic Mountain Truck Trail in northern Los Angeles County. Other parts of the Santa Clarita Valley were hit with gusts topping 40 and 50 mph, as were select areas of the San Fernando Valley. Winds were also recorded near 50 mph in the Antelope Valley.

The Los Angeles County and city fire departments were prepared up for the wind event, pre-deploying resources in critically endangered areas prior to Tuesday. The Los Angeles Fire Department stationed three task forces in the valleys, while the county fire department ordered “additional staffing and pre-deployment of resources throughout the county.”

Red flag parking restrictions took effect Los Angeles at 8 a.m. The restrictions, which bar residents from parking on streets in high fire hazard zones to ensure fire crews can access hard-to-reach areas, were scheduled to be lifted at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Pasadena imposed similar restrictions at noon, continuing through at least 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Kevin McGowan, director of the county’s Office of Emergency Management, urged residents to be prepared for dangerous conditions.

“Our emergency response officials are world-class and will stand ready to defend lives and property,” he said. “But we need collaboration from all residents who live in L.A. County to stay safe as a region. We must all do our part by staying informed and being ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, especially if you live in canyon, mountain or foothill communities.”

He urged residents to have an evacuation plan in place and be prepared by taking steps such as parking vehicles facing the street and on driveways — not in garages that may not be accessible if electric garage-door openers become inoperable in an outage.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Maintaining an In-Home Sprinkler System | Corona, CA

If you are one of the proactive families with an in-home fire sprinkler system, it is important that you know that regular maintenance checks are crucial to ensure that you and your family is safe. You may prefer to hire a professional to come in to do the work for you, there are some basic tips to maintaining your fire protection system in the coming months on your own:

Check on shutoff valves. The first step is to make a visual check on all the water shutoff valves to see if they’re all open and if the storage tank is full if they have one. Those living in very cold areas, or have pipes in the attic, should also check the insulation on their pipes.

Conduct flow tests periodically. Flow tests should be conducted every few months. To test, simply open the valve slowly and let the water run its course for more than a minute. Also, keep in mind that if your sprinkler system is connected to the fire alarm, this testing may cause it to trigger.

Check the sprinkler components. Make sure that the sprinkler heads and cover plates are not painted over and obstructions like stacks of boxes and shelves far away from the heads.

Use visual signs. Accidentally locking the sprinkler valves in the closed position by mistake is a common mistake, so placing signs near the sprinkler components can help remind everyone what the correct positions are.

Secure the control valves. Routinely check if all sprinkler control valves are locked in the open position. If your valves are connected to your fire alarm system, you can supervise them electronically or adding LO/TO signs to prevent unauthorized closures.

For more information about fire updates, 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.

Thousands in California Face Power Shutoffs During Fire Weather | Corona, CA

Utility Southern California Edison said nearly 50,000 of its customers could go dark as a prevention measure.

Nov. 27, 2020, 4:18 PM PST

By Dennis Romero

Thousands of utility customers in Southern California were warned they could be in the dark Friday because dry, windy fire weather was whipping the region.

Initially 100,000 customers were under consideration for precautionary power cutoffs to prevent sparking fires, but that number was reduced to 47,000 by afternoon, said Taelor Bakewell, a spokeswoman for Southern California Edison.

Still, electricity was cut off to 15,796 customers Friday under the preventative plan, she said.

Customers in Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties could still be affected, she said. Another 2,739 customers in San Diego County were warned of possible shutoffs from San Diego Gas & Electric, the utility said.

The city of Los Angeles has its own taxpayer-run utility that doesn’t participate in precautionary outages. The shutoffs have otherwise become customary during dry, windy weather in California.

State fire officials determined that Pacific Gas & Electric transmission lines were the cause of the state’s deadliest blaze, 2018’s Camp Fire, and the utility agreed to billions of dollars of settlements connected to a rash of Northern California fires in 2017.

Even in late November, with overnight temperatures producing freeze warnings in some parts of Southern California, fire weather can erupt. The weekend’s forecast includes dry, offshore winds from the U.S.-Mexico border to Ventura County.

Gusts of up to 65 mph were possible in regional mountains through Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

“What drives the fire risk is not just temperature,” said Tom Fischer, a weather service meteorologist in Oxnard. “It’s wind, low humidity and fuel moisture.”

The winds could subside by Sunday, he said: “But don’t let your guard down.”

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

For more information about fire safety, 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

Halloween Safety Tips | Corona, CA

As we carve our jack o’ lanterns and decorate for the spookiest of holidays we have, it is important to remember that roughly 800 home fires are sparked each year. And 1/3 of those fires were sparked by candles. Rather than using a candle, why not use a battery-powered candle or a glow stick. Not only will that lessen the chance of starting an accidental fire, but it will also add a spooky glow safely. Here are some other fire safety tips to consider when celebrating with your little ghouls and goblins:

Costumes. When choosing a costume, it is wise to stay away from ones that have things that hang or drag behind you. These are easy to catch on fire without you knowing as they are away from the body. If a mask is worn, make sure the eye holes are large enough to see your surroundings.

Decorations. Because this is an autumn season, straw and dried leaves are used a lot to decorate. These are all highly flammable items, so make sure to keep them away from any flames or heat sources you may be using. Also, keep fire escapes free from your scary décor.

General safety. As always, it is important to make sure that all of your fire alarms are in working order. We are getting into the colder months, so heaters are coming out and fireplaces are being lit. Have a fire escape route readily available. Make sure everyone in your family know how to stop, drop and roll. Knowledge is key when faced with a fire, so practicing what to do during a fire will only prepare your family to escape from a house fire in the safest way.                                                                    

For more information about seasonal safety tips, 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.

Mythbusters: Fire Safety Edition | Corona, CA

When you live in California, dealing with a fire season is something we are all familiar with. And now that we are smack dab in the middle of wildfire season, it is important that we are prepared for any type of fire that may arise during these hotter months. Preparation is necessary, but it’s critical that you know the truth regarding fire safety. The following includes a list of five common fire safety myths:

Myth #1: A smoke detector provides enough protection.

Fact: Having smoke alarms can be a vital part of fire safety, but they shouldn’t be your sole form of protection. They don’t put out the fire and if not regularly checked, smoke alarms may also fail to work.

Myth #2: You can control and put out a small fire on your own.

Fact: Many damaging fires start with a small accident. No matter how big or small the flames are, be sure to follow any fire safety instructions you have set in your home or workplace.

Myth #3: Fire sprinklers systems will freeze during winter.

Fact: Rest assured that proper procedures are put into place during a fire sprinkler installation process to keep it from freezing, regardless of the temperature.

Myth #4: People always panic during a fire.

Fact: Having a fire suppression system and emergency fire safety plan in place can help keep people level-headed.

Myth #5: Newer buildings are safer that older buildings.

Fact: Any fire, regardless of the age of your home or building, can be dangerous and potentially life threatening. Choose a fire suppression system to make your home or building as safe as possible.

For more information about fire safety myths, 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.

TLC for Fire Extinguishers | Corona, CA

fire extinguisher service

Fires can happen at a moment’s notice, and without any warning. Because of this, it is important to have some type of fire protection at all times, whether it be your home or business. One of these fire safety options is the traditional fire extinguisher. It’s a very important tool to have to fight fires, however, if it’s not kept in good working condition, it will most likely be useless when you need it most. Yes, even fire extinguishers need some regular maintenance in order to do their job. To ensure that your fire extinguisher works in the event of a fire, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure that your fire extinguisher is readily available.
  • Be sure that the fire extinguisher is set up properly so it’s easy to handle.
  • Check that your fire extinguisher is adequately charged at all times. Frequently check the pressure dial to see if it needs to be charged.
  • Make sure that the pull pin is properly secured in the handle and held in place by the tamper seal.
  • Inspect the extinguisher for any cracks, dents, or rust on its shaft which may hinder its performance.
  • Ensure that there are visible, legible operating instructions on the fire extinguisher in case of an emergency.
  • Be certain that no modifications have been made to your fire extinguisher that may affect its performance.

If you fail to maintain your fire extinguisher, the resulting consequences can range from property damage to loss of life. In order to avoid problems when you desperately need your fire extinguisher, set a monthly maintenance reminder.

For more information about fire extinguisher maintenance, 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.

Fire Sprinkler System Inspections Save Lives | Corona, CA

fire sprinklers

We all want to make sure we are protected from fire. Not only ourselves and our property, but our staff and neighbors are also at risk if something happens and a fire breaks out. One way to do this is with fire sprinklers. They are fast-acting and can really prevent damages by fire that would be happening while waiting for the fire department to arrive. But like anything, they become victims to wear and tear. This is why it is important to fire your fire sprinkler system inspected regularly. If you doubt the importance of fire sprinkler inspections, here are a few reasons to convince you why you should take them seriously:

Water supply and pressure. The efficiency of a fire sprinkler system relies on the available water supply. If too low, then the system won’t be able to work as it is intended to and fires will spread quicker, rendering the sprinklers almost useless.

Proper water flow.  While pressure is checked during the initial design and installation phase, continued periodical checking makes sure the fire sprinkler system is okay and working properly.

Obstruction-free. The whole system will also be checked for obstructions that may damage the system. These obstructions are then cleaned out periodically to make sure that the fire sprinkler system works as intended.

It may be required by law. In most states, including California, the National Fire Protection Agency have set out quite a few regulations regarding fire sprinkler systems. They mandate the installation of such systems, especially in commercial buildings, but also require them to be checked periodically by a licensed inspector.

For more information about fire sprinkler inspection, 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.

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Crippling California’s Efforts to Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires | Corona, CA

Kurtis Alexander March 25, 2020 Updated: March 25, 2020 9:04 a.m.

California’s ability to prepare for a dry and potentially dangerous fire season this year is being crippled as the coronavirus pandemic prompts fire agencies across the West to cancel or delay programs aimed at preventing catastrophic wildfire. From clearing out undergrowth in forests to training firefighters to tamp out flames, local, state and federal fire forces are trying to move forward within new social distancing guidelines, as well as with potentially sick employees, but that’s making their work harder and sometimes impossible to do.

The U.S. Forest Service, which oversees more than half of California’s wildlands, announced last week that it was suspending all prescribed burns, one of the most effective tools for increasing California’s resiliency to fire. The state’s Cal Fire agency, meanwhile, says it won’t halt its vegetation management activities — at least at this point — but it is rethinking how, when and where they’re done.

Spring fire preparations are considered vital to readying California for the warmer, drier summer and fall. Wildfire experts worry that disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak will not only increase the fire threat in the coming months but also sap momentum from a yearslong effort to make sure the state can weather the types of mega-fires recently seen in Butte County and Wine Country.

“If we don’t increase prescribed fire, restoration thinning and managed wildfire, we will never get out of our current forest problems,” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “Suspending prescribed fire further puts us in a hole in terms of long-term activities to increase forest resilience to climate change, wildfire and drought.”

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service, which oversees the nation’s largest firefighting force, said they were halting their burn program indefinitely so that communities wouldn’t have to deal with smoke during new shelter-in-place orders as well as for the safety of employees. About 5,000 Forest Service firefighters work in California.

Those conducting prescribed burns routinely travel in groups to burn sites, often across long distances. The work itself is done in crews of up to 20 members. Health experts have advised people to stay at least 6 feet away from others to prevent spread of the highly contagious coronavirus, and the White House has issued guidelines discouraging gatherings of more than 10.

The suspension of the burn program comes as the federal government, in concert with states like California, was beginning to initiate new, aggressive goals for prescribed fire in response to deadly blazes like the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people. Such infernos have helped put a spotlight on the perilous, overgrown condition of the nation’s forests, and burning off the thick brush and dead trees has proved a cost-effective solution.

“A lot of people were looking forward to this year being a ramping up of prescribed fire,” said Malcolm North, a professor of plant sciences at UC Davis who works with the U.S. Forest Service in the Sierra Nevada. “My concern now is that we’re going to be more reactive to fire than proactive.”

In response to the pandemic, the U.S. Forest Service has also called off in-person fire training through at least April 3 and canceled meetings where planning and risk assessment is done for fire season.

Like many businesses, the federal agency has moved many work discussions and training sessions online. However, surveying the landscape for fire danger and learning how to drive a fire engine are tough to do via Zoom.

“Training that cannot be done virtually will either be conducted in smaller groups or a waiver may be given until the training can be completed at a later date,” said Jonathan Groveman, spokesman for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, in a statement to The Chronicle.

The biggest challenge may lie ahead as making adjustments, including social distancing, only gets harder come fire season. It’s a reality that fire officials have just begun to ponder.

The big wildfires that burn in California typically draw hundreds, if not thousands, of firefighters into densely packed tent cities, where they work, eat and sleep together for weeks. Norovirusoutbreaks are common, and the more severe coronavirus would probably find ripe breeding grounds there.

If the virus continues to spread, as many medical experts expect, some firefighters might be too sick to make it to the front lines. Already, local fire departments have begun to report that some of their employees are infected by the virus or showing symptoms of the corresponding illness, COVID-19.

“The thing I worry about is firefighter health and wellness,” said Kelly Martin, the recently retired chief of Yosemite National Park’s fire program. “Our firefighting workforce is already stretched to the max in terms of the year-to-year response to these large fires where whole communities are being destroyed. The firefighters are already seeing a toll.”

Martin advises that residents in rural and wooded areas prepare for a less robust response from fire agencies this year. She encourages more home hardening for wildfire and clearing more vegetation around houses. “Don’t always count on the helicopters and the air tankers and the firefighters to be there,” she said.

In Grass Valley (Nevada County), a community in the Sierra foothills that has come together in recent years to address the area’s high fire risk, residents are trying to continue neighborhood fire-prevention work despite the obstacles posed by the coronavirus.

“We’re not going to have our April meeting, and we don’t know about May,” said Susan Rogers, 68, an organizing member of the Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities. “But we can put stuff on our website and link people to it. That’s how we’ll keep people updated for now.”

Officials at Cal Fire say they’re also continuing to help communities get prepared. They don’t plan to stop their house-to-house safety inspections, which they do thousands of each spring, nor curtail the work of crews that trim trees and cut fire breaks around homes.

Cal Fire’s academies for new and seasonal firefighters will go on as well. The agency expects to have close to 7,000 total firefighters at work during peak season. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but rest assured, we will respond accordingly,” said Scott McLean, spokesman for Cal Fire. “That is our job.”

Kurtis Alexander is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kalexander@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kurtisalexander

For more information about our services, 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.

Do You Have a Fire Escape Plan? | Corona, CA

Now that we have been sequestered to our homes, it’s a good time to ask yourself – what happens if there’s a fire? Are you and your family safe? One way to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe is to have a fire escape plan set in place.

Yes, having smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are necessary features for every home, but there are times when a fire spreads so quickly, you need to get out of the house as fast as you can to ensure everyone is safe. Because smoke alarms don’t activate until the smoke reaches their sensors, they don’t leave a whole lot of time to get out. If you have a designated route for each room to take, and you practice fire drills occasionally, the chances of you making it out safe and sound rise dramatically. After all, remaining calm is the best advice to have when a fire breaks out. Knowing what you are doing will help you do just that. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when designing your fire escape plan:

  • Use a floor plan to designate two escape routes per room.
  • Have a smoke alarm in every sleeping room and on every floor.
  • Keep routes clear and windows easy to open.
  • Choose a meeting place a safe distance away from your home.
  • Make sure your street numbers can be easily seen by the fire department and memorize the phone number of the fire department.
  • If your windows have security bars, make sure there are emergency release devices inside.
  • If there are babies or family members with mobility issues, make sure everyone can pitch in to help ensure they are safe as well.

For more information about our services, 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.