Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tire Fire In Brandon

I read a news story about a fire in a tire shop in Brandon. It was reported to be the largest fire Brandon had seen in several years. As I read through the article it became apparent that this unfortunate incident could have been avoided by instituting a couple maintenance and safety policies. The fire was started by an overheated bearing in an air compressor motor. Fortunately no one was hurt as the fire started after the business was closed. Some safe work procedures to consider would be the following. 

  1. Always turn off any unnecessary equipment at the end of the day. Running equipment after hours is an unnecessary expense, and wears on the equipment.
  2. Have a regular maintenance program in place, and if you don’t have qualified personnel, hire a company to perform these services. It’s much cheaper than a total loss fire.
  3. Have the correct fire extinguishers in an appropriate location. Had this fire started during the day, an extinguisher could have saved the business.
  4. Train your people on the proper use of fire extinguishers.
  5. Have an escape plan in place.

While this fire was in a tire shop caused by an air compressor the same principle apply in other businesses restaurants as an example have electric motor, and bearings in their grease exhaust fans. These bearings have failed and fires follow the grease (Fuel) down the exhaust ducts and into the building. Our wet chemical suppression systems have saved at least 3 restaurants in Winnipeg from this type of fire in the last 5 years.

There are many hazards in every business we see and walk past them every day. It might be worth your while to take a couple of hours and really walk around your business with fire hazards in mind. If you see something that causes concern call an industry expert to discuss the best way to prevent a disaster.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 11:08 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Local Fare

We had a booth set up at the Local Fare Tradeshow yesterday at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. This one day show is a great opportunity to visit with so many of our customers, as well as meet new people. There are always so many questions about wet chemical suppression systems, fire extinguishers, and fire alarms that we are pleased to answer.

One of the prevalent questions about wet chemical suppression is “I was told my system needs to be replaced is that the case?” In some cases that is true, but in many the suppression system that you have might just need an upgrade to meet current ULC-1254.6 standards. I always caution people when they are asking this, and explain that they should be dealing with a distributor of the particular system they own. If a company is not the distributor, more often than not they will try to sell you an entirely new system, because that’s what they can get the components for. You end up spending a lot more money than is necessary. In today’s challenging restaurant market every penny counts, and spending needlessly on a new suppression system will cut into the bottom line. As a distributor of Range Guard, Ansul, and Kidde Fire Systems we are able to give an unbiased opinion of what is truly needed.

I really appreciate all the hard work that the Manitoba Restaurant & Food Services Association put into this show. It was improved over last year’s show which was hard to do because of the high quality show they put together last year.

I hope everyone enjoyed Local Fare as much as we did!

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 11:55 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bowes Knows Bison

Barbara Bowes hosts a radio Show every Saturday morning on CJOB 680. She also is the president of Legacy Bowes Group. Barbara Bowes is a highly regarded authority and author on Human Resource related matters. Her popular "Working World" column appears every Saturday in the Careers section of the Winnipeg Free Press. She recently contacted me to be a guest on her radio show to discuss my business, and shed some light on the fire protection industry as a whole.

This type of opportunity doesn’t come along often, so having the chance to discuss the fire protection industry in a public forum will go a long way to shedding some light on exactly what we do, and the challenges we face every day.

I invite each and every member of the herd to listen live on your computer, or just turn your dial to 680 AM Saturday January 21st at 9:00.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 11:02 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Siemens Launches The Smoke Detection Knowledge Center

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One of the many benefits of working with Siemens has been their dedication not only bringing new products to market, but also their dedication to education and training. I have worked with Bill Lane that area representative for Siemens presenting the Engineering Advantage program to Electrical Engineers in Manitoba with positive feedback from the program, and we will continue to present the educational seminars within the program throughout 2012. Their latest offering for the public as a whole is equally as impressive.

Siemens is excited to release this launch of the Smoke Detection Knowledge Center. This is a public site that supports the “Value of Smoke Detection” mission that they have been working towards. There is some very good information within this site. The site contains a great animated video that demonstrates how smoke detection saves lives and how dangerous a fire can get before sprinklers are often triggered. The site also shows the commitment that Siemens has taken to ensure a complete understanding of not just their products but how smoke detection really works.

Take the time to visit the new Smoke Detection Knowledge Center you will learn something new!

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 1:15 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fire Extinguishers And Snowmobiles

Over the last few years I have donated lots of fire extinguishers to snowmobile clubs around Manitoba, and even Northwestern Ontario. I do this because I love snowmobiling, and appreciate the time spent by volunteers to sign and groom trails, maintain warm-up shacks, and fundraise to pay ongoing expenses and so on.

I appreciate the value in having a warm-up shack to stop by especially for my daughter who doesn’t have heated handle bars to keep her hands toasty, or for my son who is always hungry, and some Kielbasa cooked over a fire always hits the spot. These wood stoves are often donated because they didn’t meet CSA standards and can be over stuffed with wood, and at times left unattended. We lose 2-3 shacks every winter to fire.

I have also seen many sleds burned right to the ground because once they start they are hard to put out by kicking snow on them. One of the first fire extinguishers I donated actually saved a sled. The rider was having mechanical trouble and started doing some field repairs outside a warm-up up shack when the sled burst into flames. The rider ran into the shack, grabbed the extinguisher and saved his snowmobile. I take a lot of pride in that.

Snoman is the Manitoba association for snowmobilers and they are always looking for new ways to enhance the sport. Ken Lucko the Executive Director of snoman contacted me a while ago asking about extinguisher maintenance & usage. I wrote an article that he has since published in the snoman e-newsletter. It is good information that would apply in many areas of fire extinguisher use.

Give the newsletter a good read, and enjoy what winter we have left!

There is protection within the herd!

One of the Many Warm-Up Shacks in Manitoba

Posted by Rob Read at 10:41 AM 0 Comments

Friday, January 13, 2012

Go Jets Go

I received a call from Roger Loewen last week asking if we would like to attend an upcoming Winnipeg Jets game with him in the Quintex Suite. Well after a nano second of thought I accepted his invitation. This was my first Jets game, and I have to say it was an event. True North has done an excellent job of creating an enjoyable night for everyone that is in the house.

Quintex supplies the uniforms that keep all of our technicians looking like the professionals they are on the job. This evening gave us the opportunity to discuss what a great city and province that we work, and live in, and to continue making it even better.

Thanks for a great evening!

There is protection within the herd!

The Quintex SuiteTrue Jets Fans!

Posted by Rob Read at 10:38 AM 2 Comments

Thursday, January 12, 2012

MOPIA’S January Newsletter

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MOPIA (Manitoba Ozone Protection Industry Assn.) has released their January newsletter. MOPIA is constantly working to improve not only the ozone protection in Canada but are also aware of any climate change concerns that may come up worldwide. They consist of people from a variety of industries many of whom volunteer their time to keep our environment clean.

This issue covers several key issues.

-           Remembrance of MOPIA’s 2nd Chair, Mr. Trevor Rees

-           MOPIA Submits Comments to Environment Canada on the Draft Code

-           Climate Change and Biodiversity

-           Transparency and Accountability

-           Hydrocarbons Approved for Use in Appliances in USA

Enjoy their newsletter.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 2:44 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Extinguishing Agent Exposures On Consumables

Kitchen cooking related fires have historically always been one of the leading fire source statistics. On a daily basis, the discharge of portable fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems installed within cooking areas routinely occurs in both commercial and residential types of occupancies. Various forms of consumable food and beverage, which are commonly present within the immediate area, will become either directly or indirectly exposed to these discharged extinguishing agents. As a result, questions on how to properly address and respond to such exposures are generated.

The most common extinguishing agent exposures are gas, liquid, and dry chemical agents. While most fire extinguishing agents are considered non-toxic and do not represent any unusual health exposure concerns, they are clearly not intended for human ingestion or consumption. The various manufacturing, handling, and storage conditions typically associated with fire extinguishing agents are also not sterile nor free from contaminants and potentially harmful bacteria which could be present and later become ingested.

Health department regulations associated with commercial kitchen operations typically dictate and require all open consumables directly exposed to any form of contamination, such as fire extinguishing agents, be removed and discarded. Additional background information can be found on the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) food and safety inspection service website at www.fsis.usda.gov.

For these same health and safety reasons, most fire equipment manufacturers recommend any open or unpackaged food and beverage suspected of being directly exposed to any form of fire extinguishing agent be promptly removed and properly discarded. Kitchen food preparation surfaces, containers, and cooking utensils directly exposed to fire extinguishing agent residues should also be thoroughly washed and cleaned prior to reuse.

Should specific extinguishing agent information be requested to identify various material properties or address exposure and handling concerns, the manufacturer’s extinguishing agent MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) should be consulted.

Extinguishing Agent Exposures on Consumables by J.R.Nerat

©2011 by J.R. Nerat, Fire Protection Specialist, Inc. All rights reserved.

I have had the opportunity to meet J.R. Nerat at several of the NAFED (National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors) conventions we attend. He has always been a strong proponent of fire protection industry, and for improving the levels of education, training, and service for all people in our industry. J.R. Nerat is the vice president and technical director for Fire Protection Specialist, Inc., a consulting and training company in Wallace, Michigan.


There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 10:01 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Bison Christmas Party

We held our Christmas party this past weekend. It was a good time to reconnect with some of our out of town people as well as the spouses that have to put up with the long hours that some of our people put in. We enjoyed an evening at celebrations dinner theatre, and a follow up “celebration” afterwards.

I know everyone had a great time based upon the smiles, but this was truly an opportunity for both Emile, and me to show our appreciation for the hard work, dedication, and long hours everyone puts in to make us all successful.

I’m sure I don’t say it often enough but Thank-You all for what was a great year of growth, that had its challenges. I’m proud of the way each of our staff members meets every new situation with the determination to get the job done properly, and professionally.

There is protection within the herd!

The Herd GrazingMore GrazersEven More GrazersThe Herd at the Watering Hole!Our Spinkler FittersEmile Jolicoeur & Rob Read

Posted by Rob Read at 2:18 PM 1 Comments

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Here We Grow Again

I’m pleased to welcome Charlene Enns as our new company controller. Charlene is a CMA with an extensive background working with multi branch operations. As we continue to expand the herd this was a component that we needed to ensure an organised approach to all upcoming endeavours. She will be instrumental in stream lining paper flow, reporting, and all of our HR functions.

We have always strived to provide the best fire protection service in our industry. With Charlene’s help we will be able to continue this as the herd expands.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 2:51 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Happy New Year

With the New Year come promises of personal resolutions. I know I have made a couple that hopefully last longer than the ones I made last year. Looking back at 2011 the first thing that comes to mind is that I can’t believe it went by so fast. I took a few moments to review some of the post from 2011 and realized just how busy we truly were. Not only in growth as a company, but the increase in staff was incredible. We added some great product lines, and acquired another company. We certainly faced a number of challenges last year and through it all we continued to improve.

I can only guess at what is in store for 2012. I do know that having a staff that is as committed as I am to offering the best service available, will keep us well ahead of the industry. I will continue to send them to the various technical schools that are offered to ensure they are current with all things fire related. I will also continue to seek out the best products, and adopt new service policies as they become available.

These are just a few of the “resolutions” that I will be keeping for 2012!

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 9:41 AM 0 Comments