Thursday, March 31, 2011

Details Are Imporant When Providing Great Service

Fire Suppression systems that you would find in Restaurants, Body Shops, Computer Rooms, Mobile Equipment, and many other interesting places require semi-annual inspection to ensure they will operate when truly needed. Part of the inspection that we do includes firing a test cartridge to ensure the integrity of the copper lines, and correct operation of the system valve actuator(s). We also test fire the system from the manual pull station, change the fusible links, or test the heat detectors. We ensure the Gas Valve, or electrical contactors are working, and that there is annunciation to the fire alarm panel. Last of all we perform a puff test to ensure there are no blockages inside the piping. Altogether there are almost 30 different items we inspect, and test while on site.

Recently Ryan Fraser one of our senior technicians was performing this type of inspection at The Academy Restaurant. When he fired the test cartridge the copper tubing failed. If Ryan had left this important step out of his inspection the wet chemical fire suppression system WOULD have failed. In the event of a fire this could have catastrophic for The Academy Restaurant. This is the reason why we ensure all of our technicians are trained by the manufacturers we support. 

The Academy Restaurant is located at 437 Stradbrook Avenue, and is a great place to hang out, have a tasty bite to eat, and take in some live local entertainment! Brian and his staff have been showing Manitoban’s a good time since 2007!

The Academy Restaurant Testimonial 


Posted by Rob Read at 2:53 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Active And Passive Fire Protection

I’ve blogged many times about active fire protection products, and will continue to do so, but this article about passive fire protection was very interesting. While we sell some products that work well in fire rated walls such as our Larsen’s Cabinets with the Flame Shield option that offer 2 hour fire ratings. They also discuss other passive products that can be installed during construction. There are a few products such as paints and coating that could be applied at a later time. There are so many great ways to keep you safe!

Posted by Rob Read at 2:28 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Safety Training Is A Must In Todays Workplace

Safety training has come a long way in the last few years. We now need to have our technicians certified for fall protection, confined space entry, first aid & CPR, and forklift operating. These are a few of the many courses we invest in to keep our staff happy, and healthy.  We have a safety management system manual that needs to be updated to meet current Manitoba Safety Standards, and we do on site hazard analysis to lower the possiblility of injury. I recently came across a training video that I felt needed to be shared. It takes a couple minutes to get going, but once into the video it is very informative. Enjoy Forklift Driver Klaus, but be warned it can get a little graphic.

Posted by Rob Read at 4:14 PM 0 Comments

Monday, March 28, 2011

Are You Ready When A Natural Disaster Strikes?

I find it interesting that we often take notice of the good things we see our global neighbours do, even go so far as to admire them. Then when given the opportunity we don’t put these safe practises into play. With both Federal and Provincial elections this year the opportunity is upon us to speak with our prospective representatives about long term safety planning. The attached article talks about Japans disaster preparations. In view of the recent disasters they have suffered I would guess the death tolls, and property damages would have been much higher if not for these preparations. Companies that want to get, and stay C.O.R.E. Certified must now provide annual extinguisher training for their staff. I can only imagine the long term benefits of this type of extinguisher training if it began at school.

Posted by Bison Fire at 3:32 PM 1 Comments

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fire Extinguisher Saves Burning Man

I'm glad that the people in the attached story were thinking clearly and used a fire extinguisher to save a persons life. What I often fear is that in the movies I see actors using CO2 extinguishers to put out people, or use them as a weapon. A CO2 Extinguisher is pressurized at 850 PSI to keep the gas in a liquid state. When discharging the extinguisher the liquid passes through a diffuser to help bleed off pressure, and allow it to be controlled. It is essentially liquid dry ice that quickly turns to a gas. The danger is if someone should get this stream in the face the possiblility of blinding the person is very real. Another issue with CO2 extinguishers are the hoses. They are rubber coated braided metal. The reason for this is that while discharging the extinguisher the liquid turning to gas creates static electricity. If the continuity of the hose is broken the person operating the extinguisher can receive a severe shock, and it has been recorded that this shock could damage, or stop a persons pacemaker. This is why we do a continuity test during the annual inspections of these extinguishers. 

One last thought while talking about CO2 extinguishers is the danger of having them in commercial kitchens. Should the CO2 extinguisher be discharged into a burning deep fat fryer. The extreme cold introduced to the extreme heat (Deep Fat Fryers spontaneously ignite at 750 degrees F) The combination will cause an explosion most likely killing the person holding the extinguisher. If you have concerns about the types of extinguishers you have, and what sort of hazard they should be protecting feel free to contact us so that we can work together to ensure a safe workplace.

Posted by Rob Read at 6:23 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ansul Announces New 10lb. Extinguisher

Ansul has announced the phase out of the Sentry 10H and the introduction of the new Sentry AA10S that is listed, and tested to the new 2011 UL/ULC Harmonized Standard. All Manufacturers have been working hard to meet this new standard as testing was more stringent in Canada than the USA, however the USA did have a panel test that was not required by ULC Canada.

The benefits of these new standards are twofold as the end user gets a greatly improved extinguisher with higher ratings, while production costs should drop as they are able to build one extinguisher for North America. The Canadian extinguisher will still require the ULC label to be accepted for use in Canada, and have Canadian bi-lingual labeling. The data sheet is available in the Fire Extinguishers section of our site.




Posted by Rob Read at 2:47 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is Your Service Provider To Your Standards?

I recently attended a Fire Protection Seminar where the key note speaker focused on the quality of the company providing the fire protection service. Like all trades people, professional people, or civil servants not all companies are the same, and a little research into what their background is, and what exactly they are doing can be very enlightening.

Is the company itself certified to perform this type of service, and by what certifying body? Do they have the appropriate amount of liability insurance, and are they registered with the workers compensation board? Do they have a safety plan that meets today’s provincially legislated standards? Are their technicians licensed as well as certified, and by whom? Is the certification from a manufacturer, or is it a generic certificate that doesn’t provide follow-up bulletins, and warranty? Do they offer 24hour emergency service, and if so is it a really answering service, or an answering machine they check periodically?

These are all questions that help determine the quality of the company you are asking to protect your business, and possibly your life. The speaker went on to describe the quality, and condition of the vehicles they operate, and the personal grooming of their technicians as an indication of what might be going on behind the scenes. He used the example if you’re in a restaurant and the serving staff are poorly dressed, or dirty, what do you think the kitchen looks like?

While there are companies who have high integrity, and take pride in what they do. There are others who do not. A few minutes research may provide you with additional peace of mind.


 Burned Service Van

Posted by Rob Read at 1:30 PM 0 Comments

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mine Fires Can Be Devastating

Mine Fires are always a major concern for all involved. Our neighbours in Minnesota have a serious situation that they are dealing with. The loss of production, equipment (In this case the possibility of $60 million.), and most importantly lives can be devastating. While mines have safe rooms for miners to wait for rescue both time and location are an issue.  We have protected just about anything you can imagine underground, but we just can’t protect everything. I hope all goes well for everyone involved.


Fire Alarm Panel Near Air Supply HoseInstalling Fire Suppression UndergroundAir CompressorProtecting a Conveyor System

Posted by Rob Read at 11:02 AM 0 Comments

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Clean Hood Is A Safe Hood

I was reading the attached article regarding commercial kitchen cleaning, and the great information in it, and thought immediately of our Manitoba Professionals, ABC Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning. They are one of Bison’s Preferred Partners and are the best in their business. Our technicians will take notice and inform you of grease accumulation in hoods and ducts, but as we don’t offer this type of service we rely on the expertise of ABC kitchen Exhaust Cleaning. From Cleaning hoods, ducts, and fans all the way to the trash racks they will impress with their quality service and professionalism. We only recommend Bob Penny and his staff as we only work with companies that meet our standards of excellence.

Posted by Rob Read at 8:12 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Replacing Damaged Cylinders

Fire Protection in Industrial applications can be dangerous work, using large equipment to get the job done creates opportunities for accidents. Over the years we have seen many damaged cylinders come through our shop. From fire extinguishers to system cylinders one thing holds true. If a pressurized cylinder has been dented it shall be condemned.

NFPA-10 2007 Edition States:

 8.4.2 Examination of Cylinder Condition. Where a fire extinguisher cylinder or shell has one or more of the following conditions, it shall not be hydrostatically tested but shall be condemned or destroyed by the owner or at the owner's direction:

(1)       Where repairs by soldering, welding, brazing, or use of patching compounds exist

(2)       Where the cylinder threads are worn, corroded, broken, cracked, or nicked

(3)       Where corrosion has caused pitting, including pitting under a removable nameplate or name band assembly

(4)       Where the fire extinguisher has been exposed to excessive heat, flame, or fire

(5)       Where a calcium chloride–type extinguishing agent was used in a stainless steel fire extinguisher

(6)       Where the shell is of copper or brass construction joined by soft solder or rivets

(7)       Where the depth of a dent exceeds of the greatest dimension of the dent if not in a weld or exceeds ¼ in. (6 mm) if the dent includes a weld

(8)       Where any local or general corrosion, cuts, gouges, or dings have removed more than 10 percent of the minimum cylinder wall thickness

(9)       Where a fire extinguisher has been used for any purpose other than that of a fire extinguisher

The Danger lies in that the metal becomes fatigued when it is bent, or dented. Being a pressurised cylinder the chance of the weakened metal rupturing is greatly increased, and so are the chances of a person being hurt if they are in close proximity if the cylinder should burst. Keep in mind most fire protection cylinders have pressures beginning at 195 lbs., and escalating from there.

If you have a damaged cylinder, call your service provider so that we can remove the cylinder, and discharge it in a safe controlled environment.


Crushed by a CatSide ViewBack View




Posted by Rob Read at 2:54 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NFPA Safety Source

The NFPA Safety Source is a monthly education publication that highlights safety tips, and new products. This month features smoke alarms the information is timely as we should have checked them last weekend, and now we'll know what to do if they didn't work. It also gives suggestions as to how many you should have , and where to place them. There are other articles, and some fun things for the kids. Enjoy their newsletter!

Posted by Rob Read at 3:02 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The PPMA Annual Conference & Trade Show Shines!


Larry Stadnyk at PPMA 2011

The PPMA Annual Conference & Trade Show was a great success. Both Rob Read and Larry Stadnyk (pictured) had a very enjoyable day getting reacquainted with old friends while meeting some new ones. The quality of the exhibitors was fantastic, the break out sessions were relevant to the needs of property owners and managers, and lunch hosted by Jon Ljungberg was a great opportunity to show appreciation to the individual members who really stood out in the past year while having a laugh.

The PPMA was first organized in 1984 and currently represents 58,139 rental units, over 1/3 of the total rental universe in Manitoba and 60% within Winnipeg - both private and public sector housing - 58 property owners and managers and over 96 Associate members from the supply industry.  PPMA is the sole voice for the residential rental industry in Manitoba. 

We are fortunate to work with such a professional association, and look forward to a enjoying a long relationship with all of the PPMA members.






Posted by Rob Read at 6:13 PM 0 Comments

Monday, March 14, 2011

Are You Protecting Yourself With The Right Equipment?

There are a few questions that come to mind when I read the attached story about the Crystal Palace Restaurant. I’m glad they put the fire out, but could it have been extinguished sooner causing less damage?

The first question is why didn’t they use the automatic suppression system? It is designed to be used as the first line of defense so that in the event of a re-flash you still have a fire extinguisher as a back-up.

The second question is why did they use a dry chemical extinguisher? Wet chemical suppression systems do not mix well with dry chemical extinguishers as such there is a reduction in the firefighting ability of the chemicals. Current NFPA-10 standards require a K-Class extinguisher as correct agent for this type of hazard.

As I stated earlier I’m glad the fire was put out. However with the correct extinguishers and a functioning suppression system the Fire Department might never have been deployed. Damage to the business from the fire, lost sales and products, and paying wages could be the difference between being back in business in a few hours, and being out of business.

We have a great video titled Kitchen Defender with the wet chemical extinguishers that shows the effectiveness of the K-Class extinguisher.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:40 PM 0 Comments

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daylight Savings Time Is Home Safety Time

Changing your clocks from standard time to daylight savings time and back again each year can help you stay on schedule and reduce your use of electricity. Using just one of those annual time changes as a reminder to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, and fire extinguishers could save your life. 

A quick and simple check is the best way to ensure the extinguisher will work when needed.

  1. Ensure the gauge in the green area.
  2. Ensure the pull pin is in place, and the seal isn’t broken.
  3. Remove the hose, and visually inspect the orifice for powder. If there is any residue the extinguisher will need to be recharged.

Many people use their fire extinguisher, and find there is still powder left inside so they assume it will still function the next time they need it. What happens is the powder has now coated the seal on the valve stem allowing the nitrogen expellant to leak past. I have heard many stories about extinguishers that had one puff then stopped, but it was still full. Now you know why.

Tips to Help Prevent Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The CPSC advises all consumers to remain vigilant against fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, and recommends three simple tips to help you protect your life, your loved ones, and your home:

  1. Make sure your home is protected with both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Combination smoke/CO alarms are    also available.
  2. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms monthly to make sure they are working.
  3. Once a year, change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms when you change your clocks to or from standard or daylight savings time.

Making the day you change your clocks a timely reminder to check your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and extinguishers is a good way to ensure you will continue to have enough time to enjoy the good things in life.

Posted by Rob Read at 10:01 AM 1 Comments

Thursday, March 10, 2011

MOPIA Continues To Protect Our Environment

Bison has been a longstanding member of MOPIA. (Manitoba Ozone Protection Industry Assn.) They have been instrumental in the safe removal, and destruction of Halon in Manitoba, as required by Environment Canada. They also provide training for technicians in the fire protection industry, as well as technicians working with air conditioning which is everything from HVAC to automotive.


The goal of the Manitoba ozone protection initiative is to work towards protection of the stratospheric ozone layer through the control, reduction and eventual elimination of emissions of ozone depleting and climate changing substances to the atmosphere. This includes an innovative partnership between industry, the public and government. MOPIA is committed to working within our objectives to successfully accomplish this challenging goal. Please enjoy our newsletter.


If you have questions about Halon 1310, or Halon 1211 we have the answers.



Posted by Rob Read at 3:49 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Prefered Partners Bring Bison Value

Denise Zaporzan & Associates is another one of our preferred partners. Denise has added value to our company by allowing us to refer clients to her that need her specialized type of consultation, and training. One of the most satisfying parts of doing business is working with other professionals, and building the friendships that come with it. Enjoy her newsletter.

Posted by Rob Read at 11:58 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Cintas Introduces Fire Hazard Checklist for Restaurant Operators

Cintas has provided a very good check list here. However this type of list should only be a start to your fire protection planning. We like to work with our customers to ensure they know exactly what they need to protect themselves, their staff, and their business. This is why we offer a comprehensive extinguisher training program. Our technicians will gladly spend time with you ensuring that you know how your fire system works, how it is integrated with the other protection systems in your building, such as fire alarm, or sprinkler, and what to do in an emergency.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:29 PM 0 Comments

Monday, March 07, 2011

Routine Maintenance Can Reduce Sprinkler Freeze-Ups

Our winters are long and cold, and seem to be getting longer and colder. We recently had a customer from Northern Manitoba call with a frozen, and burst pipe on their sprinkler system. While the kids didn't seem to mind a couple days off school, I know the parents did. They were able to give us all the required information to get the parts needed to fix the system. We are working with them to help prevent this type of issue in the future. The linked article about
Routine Maintenance is helpful information for anyone in the cold zone.

Posted by Rob Read at 3:50 PM 0 Comments

Friday, March 04, 2011

The NAFED conference for 2011 is a Success!

We just finished the NAFED Conference for 2011. It was great re-establishing old friendships, and meeting new people from our industry. The trade show was excellent with new exibitors, and new products being brought to the market. Being involved with this type of association allows us to stay current with an ever changing industry, and continue to provide the best service available. It's this type of on going training and education that makes us the industry leader. The different sessions are always very educational. Click the NAFED link to see the different seminars we attended, and give us a call for detailed information on any of the topics that are of interest to you.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:38 PM 1 Comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Mardi Gras Parade requires Fire Extinguishers

I think this is great! The Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade has required fire extinguishers for some time now. When you consider the large number of people gathered in a concentrated area they create a confined space. In this type of situation a fire could become a disaster. The link to the Mardi Gras Parade demonstrates proactive thinking that can ensure the safety of both the particpants, and the public.

Posted by Rob Read at 4:15 PM 0 Comments