Tag Archives: fire protection services ca

Fighting Fire with Fire: Ventura County Crews Use Controlled Burns to Prevent Wildfires | Corona, CA

Jeremy Childs, Ventura County Star Published 1:54 p.m. PT May 30, 2019 | Updated 10:05 a.m. PT May 31, 2019

A new study backs up what Ventura County firefighters already knew: A controlled blaze at a time and place of their choosing can prevent a disaster later. With that in mind, local firefighters became fire starters when they conducted their first controlled burn of the year to get rid of built-up vegetation that can fuel a brush blaze into a monster wildfire.

Controlled burns like Wednesday’s – which cleared at least seven acres of tall grass on a ranch in Hidden Valley – can also revitalize soil and give trainees the skills to battle wildfires. Yet despite their effectiveness, a study concluded not enough controlled burns are taking place in the western U.S. to keep wildfires from raging out of control.

The study by University of Idaho researcher Crystal A. Kolden laid the blame mostly on federal agencies that control large amounts of land in the West.

But Kolden conceded that the agencies’ resources are also consumed by firefighting instead of prevention and that they’re dealing with a public that’s more fearful of controlled burns in the western U.S. than elsewhere. Public concerns include excessive smoke and flames getting out of control.

Even if federal agencies seem reluctant to conduct controlled burns, state and local agencies aren’t, the study found.

“Whenever we have to opportunity to do them, we do them,” said Capt. Brian McGrath, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department.

He said his agency is committed to using controlled burns to prevent wildfires, a sentiment echoed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean said the state has stepped up its prevention efforts after a series of major wildfire seasons that included Ventura County’s Thomas, Woolsey and Hill fires. “The idea behind it is to provide for the safety and protection of property and bring our forests and lands back to resiliency,” McLean said, noting that the recent drought has increased the amount of dry vegetation that fuels wildfires.

‘We have a lot of work ahead of us’

Tasked by Gov. Gavin Newsom with identifying the top 35 areas where fuel-reduction efforts are needed, Cal Fire has come up with about 90,000 acres of land to target. As of early May, Cal Fire had burned 10,518 acres this year, according to McLean, a number that’s grown in the past 30 days.

The state has increased funding for the efforts, letting Cal Fire dedicate six hand crews to thinning wildfire fuel, and has sent 110 National Guard troops to help for six months.

Cal Fire has also performed about 100,000 inspections of defensible spaces this year, and aims to complete 250,000 through December. Despite the doubled-down efforts, McLean cautioned against thinking the problem is taken care of with extra money and resources. “We have a lot of work ahead of us for quite some time,” he said.

The burden in California may be on Cal Fire and local agencies.

Kolden’s study, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Fire, showed that in places where controlled burns have increased in the past two decades, they’ve mostly been conducted by state or local agencies. In the same period, controlled burns by federal agencies shrank from more than 90% of burns to less than 30%.

Kolden found that from 1998 to 2018, controlled burns grew in acreage by 5% per year throughout the U.S., although there was a 2.3% decrease in Southern California. Kolden found 70% of all controlled burns and 98% of the increase was in the southeastern U.S., which Kolden said could be why that region has seen fewer recent wildfire disasters than the western U.S.

‘There’s a lot to take into account’

While the Ventura County Fire Department may be sold on the idea, conducting controlled burns is easier said than done, according to McGrath. Choosing the location alone can be complicated. “You have to take into consideration the impact on wildlife, water runoff, the type of fuel,” McGrath said. “There’s a lot to take into account.”

The jurisdiction of the land can also play a huge role, as state or federal land is more highly regulated than county or privately-owned land.

“It’s a lot easier to do on private property,” McGrath said. “We’re under the same protocol as an agriculture company burning their crops.”

Even with a location picked out, unexpected factors such as high temperatures or gusty winds can delay controlled burns. McGrath said his agency works closely with the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District to determine the best days to perform burns.

But Mother Nature sometimes beats firefighters to the punch.

“We had a half dozen scheduled, and the Thomas Fire took them all out,” McGrath said.

Jeremy Childs is a breaking news and public safety reporter covering the night shift for the Ventura County Star. He can be reached by calling 805-437-0208 or emailing jeremy.childs@vcstar.com.

For more information about wildfire 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.

Kick Off the Summer Safely | Corona, CA

There is nothing more enjoyable than a three-day weekend, unless it’s a three-day weekend in the warmer months. And the kickoff to these summertime festivities is Memorial Day weekend. And it doesn’t matter if you celebrate with a camping trip or just a simple BBQ at home, fun in the sun is the main objective. Unfortunately, with these hot days and warm nights comes outdoor activities and fires, so it is important to keep fire safety in mind while you are grilling those hot dogs and burgers. So, keep these tips in mind at your next summertime event and enjoy your long weekend safely:

Keep water close. Any time there is fire present, keeping a bucket of water within reach will save a lot of time and damages in your bonfire or nearby debris happens to catch on fire.

Carefully choose your location. If you plan on having a BBQ or a firepit, make sure to inspect the surrounding areas for anything that could possible catch on fire. Embers have a tendency to fly away, so a clear area is best.

Clean your grill. Grease fires are some of the worst fires and BBQ grills tend to have lots of grease build-up collecting in the crevices and grills. Make sure to keep your grills clean before every warm season.

Put out the flames. Make sure to extinguish all sources of fire before going to bed or leaving the area. Prevention is key to fire safety so throw some water or sand on top of your fiery fun so nothing happens to the area while you aren’t looking.

For more information about summer 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.

Fire investigators Inspect Properties as Wildfire Season Nears | Corona, CA

By Dale Yurong Updated 2 hours ago

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Cal Fire crews and California National Guard troops continue work on a fuel reduction project in the Prather area. It’s designed to create fuel breaks and help keep foothill and mountain residents safe. But homeowners like Wayne Wilhelm are also doing their part. The 71-year-old knows how dangerous wildfires can be.

“I did not want my house to be one of those that get burnt like Paradise and things like that,” he said. “I feel like my house in a fire would probably survive the situation.”

Cal Fire inspectors have been out educating people on the need to clear 100 feet of defensible space around their home. Weeds, grass, even rubbish can pose a potential fire threat and allow flames to spread quickly.

“A lot of times with wildfires there’s high winds and there’s embers blown around by the fire,” said Seth Brown. “We want people to make their home hardened so an ember doesn’t get into a tight space or into a hole, an eave, into the attic.”

Tulare County Fire crews begin their inspections May 1, but Cal Fire inspectors have been visiting homeowners for a few months now.

Wilhelm’s fire season preparation is seen as ideal though he knows many people in the foothills have some catching up to do.

“I have a neighbor next door to me who has a lot of brush, a lot of stuff on his property,” he said. “I’ve commented to him he needs to clean it up even though he physically can’t do it himself, he can hire people to do it.”

Firefighters recommend you do outdoor property maintenance before 10 a.m. before it warms up and not do the work when it’s windy.

As we’ve seen in past years, rocks hitting metal blades can cause sparks which lead to a fire.

For more information about fire season preparations, 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.

The Paradise Fire Sets off Alarm Bells for Peninsula and Carmel Valley Residents | Corona, CA

By Pam Marino – Monterey Country Now

Shortly after the massive destruction and death toll of the Camp Fire in Paradise became known to the world in early November, the phones started ringing in Monterey County Supervisor Mary Adams’ office. Nerves were rattled among people living on the Monterey Peninsula and in Carmel Valley, and they wanted to know what was being done to prevent a similar disaster in their neighborhoods.

For some, the 1987 Morse Fire in Pebble Beach – which consumed about 160 acres and 31 structures, doing $18 million in damage – still resonates. An investigation later blamed lots of dry fuel in the forest during a drought year, winds coming off the ocean and from the east and wood-shingled rooftops covered in pine needles.

That day in May 1987, the weather conditions were just right, says Monterey Fire Chief Gaudenz Panholzer. The Peninsula’s fog and mild weather generally help minimize the risk of wildfires as deadly as the Camp Fire or 2017 Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, Panholzer adds, “but once in awhile we have dry hot days. Those are the days we all sweat bullets as firefighters.”

Weather is one factor in the spread of wildfires. Another is the accumulation of dry brush, dead wood and nonnative plants, which the area has plenty of, Panholzer says. It’s what has residents worried, as one Carmel resident who lives along Pescadero Canyon told the Carmel City Council in January. With homes lining one side of the forested canyon across from Pebble Beach, he said, “We have the most to lose.”

“We need to manage the forest as a healthy forest,” Panholzer says. That means thinning, and sometimes leaving dead tree trunks behind to foster a healthy ecosystem among birds and bugs. He believes Peninsula cities in wooded areas like Carmel and Pacific Grove – which contract with Monterey FD for fire services – and Monterey are doing a good job of clearing their forested areas.

Carmel is looking at renting goats in the coming year to eat up dry grass and overgrown shrubs, as has been done in Pebble Beach, says City Administrator Chip Rerig. They cost between $1,500 and $2,000 an acre, for a minimum of five acres. Goats can reach steep areas humans can’t, plus they eat poison oak.

Fostering relationships among local emergency agencies has “stepped up,” Panholzer says, including with Cal Fire, Monterey Regional Fire Protection District and others. Representatives from a number of agencies met Jan. 24 to brainstorm evacuation plans. Adams hosts a meeting for the public to ask questions of fire officials from 6-8pm on Jan. 31 at Palo Corona Regional Park.

Ultimately, however, Panholzer says residents who live in wooded areas have to be prepared for the possibility, and have plans in place for evacuating with pets, photos and important documents.

 

Fire Sprinklers in the Home? Find Out Why | Corona, CA

When we think of fire sprinklers, we generally don’t assimilate it with our home. Thought of as something that is designed for businesses and factories, fire sprinklers aren’t a concern for many homeowners. But should they be? Let’s take a look at their advantages – you may reconsider your decision:

Can’t stop the blaze. As smart as smoke alarms are these days, they can’t extinguish fire. Sprinklers do and continue to do so as you and your family run for safety. Also, by stopping the fire as soon as it starts, sprinklers can prevent, or at least reduce, the amount of property damage.

Not activated by smoke. Your fire alarm going off because of burned toast and a snuffed candle certainly can be annoying. With sprinklers, you don’t have to worry about that because they are activated via heat, not smoke.

Instant help. Sprinklers will activate within a minute – a whole lot less time than it takes for your local firefighters to get to your home. Also, sprinklers can help slow down the fire and minimize the damage done until the firefighters arrive to completely douse the fire.

Cost-effective. Firefighters use an average of 2,935 gallons to extinguish your regular residential fire. That’s many times more than the 341 gallons of water used by sprinklers on average.

Insurance-friendly. Your insurance provider may lower your premiums thanks to your sprinkler system. Be sure to contact your home insurance provider to know if this applies to you.

The costs of having sprinklers installed far outweigh the costs of losing a huge part of your house. In some cases, families lose their entire homes because of residential fires. Don’t let that happen to your family by having sprinklers installed.

For more information about fire sprinklers, 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.

Protect Yourself from Fire | Corona, CA

Protecting your business from fire is imperative for everyone involved. Not only in order to protect your product, but any staff and/or neighbors should also feel safe there knowing you are covered in case of fire. But designing a fire protection system isn’t as simple as a quick kit you pick up at the local hardware store. It takes a lot of planning and expertise. It can turn overwhelming very easily if you don’t have the proper training. That’s where we come in…

We begin with a site survey of the facility then provide the client with appropriate alternatives based on an assessment of the fire protection and life safety needs. We will often consult with the client’s insurance company and the local fire department for their input during the decision-making process, in order to ensure that everything is up to code and covered by insurance, then develop the appropriate engineering design.

Our CAD design services include:

  • Fire sprinkler design drawings with as much detail as required and then some.
  • All designs are based on the latest NFPA codes. All schematic CAD drawings include underground fire supply, riser details with location within structure, main and branch line locations, sprinkler head type and location.
  • Bid drawings can also include back-up specifications, water analysis, and hydraulic calculations.
  • Fire sprinkler fabrication / installation / coordination drawings include all compliments listed above including computer generated shop drawings, hydraulic calculations and material submittals.
  • Fire Pump and/or Ground Storage Tank installation drawings with all associated piping and equipment.
  • Special hazard suppression system fabrication / installation drawings.

So, if you are in need of better fire protection for your facility, consider installing a fire protection system. It is the best chance you have to keep your business successful and in one piece.

For more information about fire suppression systems, 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.

Prepare for a Malfunction | Corona, CA

fire sprinklersWe all assume that if we have fire protection, it will work when the time comes to use it. Whether it be something simple like a fire extinguisher or as elaborate as a customized fire suppression system, these tools are things we need to rely on when a fire breaks out. If it doesn’t, the result can be a disaster.

It’s important to note that simply installing a suppression system is only one step in staying safe. Fire suppression systems are often complex pieces of engineering, and they require care, testing, and maintenance in order to remain functional.

The type of system installed, and the nature of the building it is protecting, will determine how often it must be inspected, how often it should be tested, and what type of labor will be required on the system over time. A skilled system designer, such as CJ Suppression, will not only design the system, but can also assist you in establishing and meeting the maintenance and inspection requirements in order to keep your system functioning properly so that if a fire were to occur, lives and property can be saved.

The exact maintenance regime needed depends on the suppression system and use case. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has guidelines not only for the types of systems that should be used in various settings, but also for the ongoing maintenance of those systems for proper compliance and safety purposes.

To ensure their reliability, fire systems must be inspected, tested and maintained. CJ Suppression Services’ qualified and experienced staff stands ready to provide fire protection service and maintenance that will keep your fire protection systems reliable and code compliant.

For more information about fire suppression maintenance, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

How to Protect a Datacenter from Fire | Corona, CA

Do you know what a datacenter is? Datacenters are built specifically to house millions of dollars of expensive electronics and contain custom-built solutions for everything from cooling to power continuity and generation. Due to the 24/7 nature of datacenters, most systems are designed for redundancy and fail-safe operation with cabinets of battery-powered, uninterruptible power supplies reside to complement generators.

But what if there’s a fire? Computers present a unique fire suppression challenge – they’re easily damaged by water, are typically contained in a metal box that will shelter a fire from overhead sprays, and they require significant amounts of electricity that presents an electrocution risk for standard suppression systems. Because of this, typical datacenter suppression systems come with two complementary systems – one wet, and one dry.

Modern alternatives tend to be either inert gas systems (where an inert gas is pumped into the datacenter to smother the fire by depriving it of oxygen) or clean agent systems, where halocarbon molecules are pumped in and absorb heat, extinguishing the fire.

While dry systems are often the first line of defense, due to their ability to extinguish fire without damaging equipment, a second water-based system is typically available. Best practices often dictate that the pipes above the datacenter itself be dry – that is, pipes are not filled with water until a fire is indicated, at which point the pipes are filled. Typical configuration allows the clean agent or inert gas system to attempt to put out the fire long before the heat allows a sprinkler to discharge.

For more information about datacenter fire protection, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Your Building Needs a Foam Suppression System | Corona, CA

fire-protection-imageWhen you own a building, it is important to protect not only your investment, but everything and everyone that will be using said building. There are lots of options when it comes to fire safety, one of them being foam suppression systems. But, is that the best option for you? Let’s have a quick introduction to foam suppression systems:

Fire-fighting foam systems suppress fire by separating the fuel from the air. There are different types of foam systems, and which system you choose will dictate how it is done:

  • Foam covers the fuel surface and smothers the fire
  • The fuel source is cooled by the foam’s water content
  • The foam blanket suppresses the release of flammable vapors that can mix with the air

If you would like to see how a foam suppression system is being tested, click here.

Engineered and manufactured fire suppression systems ensure a rapid, thorough, and economical response to fires and spills. High-expansion foam systems provide fire-fighting protection for diverse applications: aircraft hangars, basements, cable tunnels, flammable packaging areas, flammable liquid drum storage areas, hazardous waste facilities, LNG tank farms and loading facilities, mines, roll-paper warehouses, shipboard engine rooms, bilges, and holds, storage buildings, warehouses, and fire breaks.  The light, voluminous foam blanket produced by our high-expansion foam systems can quickly obtain great heights, reaching elevated flammable materials (such as on storage racks).  The foam blanket efficiently transports small amounts of water to the fire, encapsulating the flammable vapors and causing suppression and extinguishing. Foam suppression systems are one of the most effective ways to secure your building from any fire emergency.

For more information about foam suppression systems, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at www.cjsuppression.com.

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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.