Thursday, May 31, 2012

Commercial Kitchen Suppression System Electrical Interlocks

I had an information request from Gerry Currie of the Portage Mutual Insurance Company regarding interlocks for appliance shut down. His question is one that we either get from many insurance brokers, or actually see in the field, and while he is asking about commercial kitchens (restaurants) this also applies to industrial suppression systems such as the systems in auto body paint spray booths. I have posted his email below and my response his question.


Hi Rob

I have a question regarding electrical interlocks to shut-off power to electric grills and fryers when the suppression system is activated. When inspecting commercial kitchens with electric grills and deep fat fryers we are finding that electrical disconnects are often missing.

NFPA 96 10.4 requires it for gas and electric appliances. Is this something that is commonly not installed for electric appliances?

How is the suppression system hooked to the contactors for electric?

I appreciate your anticipated help.


Gerry Currie


Risk Management & Inspections

Portage Mutual Insurance Company

Portage La Prairie Manitoba

Phone 204-637-2059

Fax 204-637-2450

Hi Gerry

To answer your question this is a code requirement that we try to enforce for all of the systems we install, or upgrade. We will write this up as a deficiency on the inspection report if the system does not have electrical shut-off to the appliances. The appliances are tied in from the control head using micro switches or pressure switches. The actual tie-in to the system has to be done by an electrician. The electrician is able to determine the size of contactors to ensure they will work when needed. 

Another part of the system often overlooked that is also a fire code requirement (NFPA-96 10.6 & 10.7) is fire alarm annunciation. If there is a fire alarm system in the building the suppression system shall be tied into it to ensure appropriate steps are taken as well. This is also actuated by using the micro switch, or pressure switch.


Rob Read

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 3:08 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Workplace Hazard Alert

1 Life Workplace Safety & Health has released another Hazard Alert. The intent of these HAZARD ALERTS is PREVENTION. It’s our goal to provide you with the knowledge and information to prevent serious incidents and business interruption in your workplace. 

I know I want The Herd going home safely almost as badly as their families want them in one piece.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 9:30 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Code Change: Fire Alarm Visual Signal Devices

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I received notification from the City of Winnipeg Electrical Technical Division regarding the City of Winnipeg policy/interpretation of the Manitoba Building Code requirement for installation of fire alarm visual signals. I have attached the letter for everyone to download and enjoy at their leisure.

This change in the By-law will affect any company installing new fire alarm systems in buildings throughout Manitoba. If you are not sure how to proceed with any current or future projects that you are working on, I would suggest contacting the electrical design engineer for that project, or the City of Winnipeg electrical division to ensure your work is code compliant, and that it stays on budget. 

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 11:40 AM 0 Comments

Friday, May 18, 2012

Walk For The Cure

I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day Nadeen Bennett. She has walked more miles than I can count to help find the cure. When she asked for support for this great cause I couldn’t say no.

Over the years cancer has touched a number of people here at Bison, we have all had to support family members as they fought this terrible disease some winning and some losing. You can help support Nadeen in her walk by going to her web page Nadeen Bennett and donating on line. I know she’ll appreciate the support, but more importantly someone that truly needs your help will appreciate your generosity.

There is protection within the herd!


Dear Rob,

Thank you very much for your generous donation! You are an amazing friend with a great team and it means so much to me to have your support again!

Thank you so much for supporting my Challenge for Life!

Your gift to the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation will help ensure that CancerCare Manitoba's comprehensive team of researchers and health professionals can continue providing outstanding care for all Manitobans and their families living with cancer.

Click here to visit my Web page to check my progress and to leave a message of encouragement.

Thank you again for your support.

Nadeen Bennett

2012 Challenge for Life 20K Walk - June 9th, 2012

Posted by Rob Read at 10:22 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Are You Exposed?

Are You Exposed? How Suppliers & Contractors Can Affect Your Business is the title of 1 Life Workplace Safety & Health’s latest information blast. Theo and her staff have put together some good information for anyone or any business that has need for suppliers, or contractors to work on their site.

This means that you are responsible for managing the safety and health risks that you can control.  Theo has also put together an information webinar to better explain the need to protect your business, and the people working in it. The webinar is free of charge and can be enjoyed on;

Date:               Wednesday, May 30 at 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM CDT

Guest Experts: Kevin Neiles, President Ranger Insurance, Theo Kowalchuk, President, 1 Life Workplace Safety & Health Ltd.


This is a great opportunity to build your awareness of the hazards that can walk into your building.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 12:48 PM 0 Comments

Monday, May 14, 2012

Clean Gas & Special Hazards Are Unique

We have done a number of projects lately that fall under the special hazards, or clean gas part of our business. A special hazard is something that you would not expect to see in most businesses they can be anything from Gensets, to dip tanks, compressor rooms, and engine rooms, pretty much anything that can burn but had better not because when you need it you really need it.

These types of hazards are always unique and over the last year we have protected them with everything from dry chemical, or Novec 1230, and even CO2 systems still have their place. The type of system used is often determined by the nature of the hazard, but also by else is in the area that may be affected by the chemicals used. These engineered systems always have releasing fire alarm panels that allow the system to be aborted in the case of a false alarm and by fire code have to be tied into any existing building fire alarm system so that the building can be evacuated, and the fire department is alerted in the event of a fire.

While the bulk of these systems are located in manufacturers they are also located in server rooms protecting the huge amounts of data that companies just can’t afford to lose. If you consider the investment in a suppression system versus going out of business the choice get fairly simple.

The pictures below are of a genset. This little unit was manufactured right here in Manitoba and will be working to supply power to a mine out in Western Canada. The diversity of business we have here in this province is fantastic. I’m always amazed when I walk into a new manufacturer and see what they are building and appreciate that it will provide a career for the next generation of Manitobans.

There is protection within the herd!

Genset with CO2 system, and Releasing Panel.The controls in the Genset need protecting.Dry Chemical suppression system protecting a remote generator building.Remote generator buildings require special protection.

Posted by Rob Read at 4:28 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, May 10, 2012

PPMA Spring Newsletter

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The PPMA Professional Property Managers Assn. is one of the many associations we support. We feel that as a group they are much better able to serve the needs of the many people who live in their apartments. Their diligence in that area have helped them improve many things for their tenants such as dealing with the Bed Bug issues that occurred last year, and while the bugs are still around their numbers have decreased. They also lobby the government on many issues that pertain to apartment living. Without the PPMA life in many apartments would be of a much lower quality.

This current issue of their newsletter includes;

•           PPMA 2012 Suite Living Trade Show and Conference

•           PPMA 2012 Awards of Excellence Winners - Pictures

•           PPMA Board of Directors 2012- 2013

•           “Spot Light on PPMA Members”

•           Political Action Report

•           PPMA Committees 2012 - 2013

•           Landlords Responsibility for Utility Arrears

•           Red River College upcoming PAC courses

Enjoy their newsletter.

There is protection within the herd!

Posted by Rob Read at 12:14 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

OEM Parts Are The Way To Play

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I blogged a couple of weeks ago about my trip to Saskatchewan, and the great time I had. Part of my blog touched on a virtual drop in from Ansul Canada to discuss OEM parts on their suppression systems. I wanted to expand on that discussion and try to explain the perils of using aftermarket parts.

All manufacturers’ suppression systems need to be ULC listed to meet current standards in Canada. These systems go through very stringent testing to make sure they meet these criteria, and any deviation from their pre-engineered design voids the ULC listing, and create a liability issue for the end user as well as the company who has installed or even services these systems.

I have seen many times companies use aftermarket parts to save a few dollars on installation costs. Some of these companies are certified by the manufacturer to install these systems, they have also seen the attached bulletin, and have had this explained to them in detail during installation training courses. Yet they choose to ignore this very important part of the installation to save a few dollars. In the event of a fire these few dollars saved could mean financial ruin for both them, and the end user depending upon the outcome as decided by a judge in court.  Insurance companies don’t frivolously pay out claims. Certified by the manufacturer, or not the outcome would be the same, however non-certified installation companies usually also carry lower liability insurance, and are more likely to go bankrupt through this process. Remember as soon as the manufacturer sees parts on the suppression system that have not been ULC listed with their specific system they are clear of any wrong doing because the system wasn’t installed as per their specifications. That being said the brunt of the loss falls on the installer, and the end user. You don’t want to be in that situation.

There are many certified high quality installation companies working in Canada. Take the time to find out who they are and what you are truly getting when purchasing your fire protection equipment. A few hundred dollars now is a solid investment in your future.

There is protection within the herd!

There's only one place for aftermarket parts.How Safe is your fire suppression system?

Posted by Rob Read at 8:22 AM 0 Comments