Friday, July 25, 2014

Fire Extinguishers Exposed To Flood Conditions

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In the fire protection industry there are very few areas to gain ongoing knowledge of our industry. Most fire colleges offer courses to train firefighters, the manufacturers train on their specific products, but there aren’t many places to gain best practise information, industry changes, or engage in fire code or insurance discussions. We are fortunate that NAFED (National Assn of Fire Equipment Distributors) does all of those things.

As the only fire protection company in Manitoba to see the value in being involved with NAFED we are also the only company that benefits from the education, information, and support that they do a fantastic job of offering.

I recently read an article written by J.R. Nerat for NAFED’s Firewatch magazine titled “Fire extinguishers exposed to Flood Conditions” I’ve had the good fortune to meet J.R. at both NAFED conventions, and as a distributor of Kidde Fire Systems we have also met at training seminars in their Ashland Massachusetts facility. J.R. was pleased to let me reprint his article, and it is also downloadable.

Fire extinguishers exposed to Flood Conditions

By J. R. Nerat

Occasionally spring weather and storm conditions can expose installed fire extinguishers to flood conditions. When fire extinguishers are known or suspected of having been exposed to submerged conditions there are several special service- related items to consider before attempting to place these units back into service.

The existing ANSI/UL fire extinguisher standards incorporate various forms of hardware exposure tests like ultraviolet light, salt spray,

vibration, impact, abrasion, and elevated temperatures to obtain product approvals, which are specifically designed to address most normally anticipated outdoor exposure conditions. While listed fire extinguishers are designed and tested to withstand a variety of such conditions, submerged water exposure over various periods of time can present problematic situations requiring some extra attention during equipment examinations.

Submerged water exposure over various periods of time can present problematic situations requiring some extra attention during equipment examinations.

Whenever a fire extinguisher is suspected of having been subjected to conditions which might impair its operational integrity such as being submerged in a flood, it should be removed from service and subjected to a thorough maintenance examination in accordance with NFPA 10 and the appropriate service manual recommendations. It is especially important to ensure that only properly trained and qualified personnel perform such examinations. This is necessary, as personnel must be specifically familiar with the functional limitations and acceptable tolerances of all applicable hardware components.

While there are various equipment hardware design characteristics that can dictate special examination considerations, the following list attempts to highlight some of the most applicable.

•           Thoroughly rinse and wash fire extinguisher exterior surfaces to remove any residual mud, dirt, salt, or foreign residues. Avoid the use of commercial degreasers, solvents, or strong detergents. Warm fresh water and mild soap are typically recommended. Compressed air can be used to help clear small accumulations of debris and help dry surfaces.

•           Perform a thorough visual external examination of the unit, paying special attention for any dents or impact damage which might have occurred.

Ensure handles, levers, rivets, and ring pins are not bent, deformed, or corroded.

•           Ensure there are no signs of foreign material or corrosion present behind potentially hidden cylinder areas  like hose bands, nameplates, and any protective bottom enclosures.

•           During the various disassembly steps identified within service manual procedures, pay special attention to any open valve or safety relief port areas to ensure no foreign material or corrosion is present.

•           Gasket and o-ring surfaces should be wiped clean and examined closely for any damage. Prior to re-assembly they should then be lightly lubricated with the recommended lubricant identified within the service manual to avoid compromising material compounds.

•           All hose assemblies and nozzles should be closely examined to ensure no residue or obstructions are present. Coupling areas should not exhibit any separation, cracks, damage, or corrosion. Interior and exterior hose assembly surfaces should also be properly dried prior to


•           If the extinguishing agent charge is suspected of being compromised or directly exposed to water, a proper internal examination and recharge should be performed in accordance with service manual recommendations.

•           Pressure gauge housing and faces should be closely examined for any potential damage and to ensure no water or debris has entered. If such conditions are observed, the pressure gauge should be replaced following the service manual’s recommendations.

•           Wheels should be properly examined and re-lubricated as necessary.

•           Regulators and connection hardware should all be visually examined closely for any damage and to ensure no

water or foreign material is present. Regulators should be tested for proper static dead set pressure and minimum flow characteristics per service

manual recommendations. Pressure regulators exhibiting any problems must be replaced, as no adjustments or disassembly is permitted.

Anytime unusual circumstances or conditions are observed, service personnel should always consult with the fire equipment manufacturer for guidance and specific recommendations. v

Copyright © 2014 by J.R. Nerat, all rights reserved.

If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Posted by Rob Read at 12:07 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Winnipeg Folk Festival Is Protected

The Winnipeg Folk Festival is about to begin its 2014 season, and the 40th year of entertainment! The festival will attract over 80,000 people this year and they’ll be entertained by 84 different acts from several countries. The Folk Festival has nearly 3000 dedicated volunteers who contribute well over 60,000 hours each year to create the magic that is the Winnipeg Folk Festival. They also are a major contributor to the Manitoba economy. The festival generates more than $29.4 million in economic activity and creates 281 jobs for the province of Manitoba. The impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Manitoba is estimated at $14.7 million. The GDP represents the estimated net economic activity generated from this signature Manitoba event.

They do a lot more than just the 5 days in July though their community programs offer a number of activities that include;

  • Folk Classes
  • Folk for Families
  • In the city Festival style work shops
  • Musical mentors
  • Galaxy young performers programs
  • Folk music camp

Earlier this year Winnipeg hosted the Juno’s and a number of events that led up to the Juno Awards night. I was fortunate enough to attend the event hosted by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, who had Melanie Berry as the Keynote speaker. She had many great things to say about the Winnipeg musical community one that really struck home with me at the time and still resonates is that while “Winnipeg has 2.5% of Canada’s population we contribute 12% of Canada’s musicians”, something we should be very proud of!

Knowing what a great international event the folk festival has become we have been very happy to support them were we can. This year we have again donated over 40 fire extinguishers to the event to ensure the safety of everyone involved. While many people both performers, and the audience love to be taken away by the music sometimes they are uplifted by other things as well. We want everyone coming home from the festival safe and sound so we can continue to be a force in Canada’s music scene! 

If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Music on FireBison Fire Extinguishers

Posted by Rob Read at 10:59 AM 0 Comments