Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The MFEEA Meets With The City Of Winnipeg

I put my MFEEA (MB Fire Extinguishing Equipment Assn.) hat on today and met with the chief of mechanical inspections for the City of Winnipeg. Our discussion was about by-law 4555/87 regarding M3 permits.

The city had brought this by-law into place 4 years ago and for the most part it has helped raise the level of service in Winnipeg. However there were a couple of tweeks needed to truly reflect what the fire protection industry faces.

The first issue was when a permit was required. Specifically when an appliance is being changed, or upgraded. We felt a permit should be pulled to ensure that a certified company is doing the work. This keeps the ULC listing intact as well meets the intent of fire code.

The second issue was the wording of who is certified needed to be addressed. The way it is currently written if a company is certified on one manufacturer they can pull a permit for any manufacturers system. This needed to be tightened up to ensure only companies certified by the specific manufacturer of the fire suppression system in question are able to pull permits and preform this work. This is important for many reasons that I could list but suffice it to say if you want your fire suppression system to operate when there is a fire it should be installed and upgraded by a manufacturer certified company. This will also insure maintain warranties, and your ULC listing, as well as your liability insurance.

The meeting went very well with our ideas and suggestions being taken quite seriously. While the code hasn’t changed at this time presentations like this go along way when committee’s meet to discuss relevant changes to the mechanical codes.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:18 PM 0 Comments

Monday, November 28, 2011

Alain Rivard Attends Train The Trainer For Sprinkler Inspections

The latest version of NFPA-25 (Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems) 2011 Edition is the standard to which the Union of Sprinkler Fitters is now working to. They have done this to ensure their members are doing the best inspections possible across Canada.

The Union representing Plumbing and Pipe Fitters has developed a train the trainer course to ensure that all inspections will be done to their standards as required by CASA (Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Assn.) They developed the course in conjunction with NAUSC (National Association of Union Schools & Colleges) to ensure a high quality training course.

We were very fortunate to have Alain Rivard our senior sprinkler fitter selected to be one of two fitters accredited to provide training in Manitoba for unionised sprinkler fitters. Alain’s dedication to the sprinkler industry made him a good choice to pass along his many years for experience. This course will truly raise the level of service provided to all Manitoban’s and this is something he should be very proud of!

Posted by Rob Read at 11:09 AM 0 Comments

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Bison Herd Needs To Expand

Career Opportunities - Bison Fire Protection

We are a fire protection commercial service provider looking for 2 top notch management individuals & a Service Co-Ordinator to join our fast paced and growing company.

Company Controller: responsible for all accounting, office administration and HR management functions; with a minimum 5 years hands-on work experience in full cycle accounting, monthly & year-end financial reporting, budgets, cash flow and inventory control management. Must be an effective leader, motivated self-starter and positive team player with business management experience, strong communication, IT & accounting software and problem solving skills.  Credentials must include completion or near completion of a professional CMA or CGA accountant designation.

Operations Manager: responsible for daily operations, shop & field productivity, co-ordination of 3 distinct service, inspection & installation technician activities. HR duties will include direct management of 17 + field and shop staff members, various industry certification updates & training.  Must have a minimum of 10 years + managerial experience in a demanding & fast paced service environment with the ability to prioritize multiple demands & meet deadlines effectively.  Must possess excellent communication, problem solving and computer skills. Preference will be given to a combination of business experience & formal education or training in project management. Industry experience is highly desirable.

Posted by Rob Read at 10:43 AM 1 Comments

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

I thought it would be appropriate to take moment to think of the sacrifices made by so many to give us the freedoms we have today. One of these freedoms is the ability to blog without concern of "Secret police" watching over us. Many people still live in countries where this is ongoing. I know this has been said many times, but if you enjoy your freedom thank a veteran.

I copied the information from Flanders Fields Music.

By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae a Great Canadian

Lieutenant Colonel John McCraeIn Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

On May 2, 1915, John McCrae’s close friend and former student Alexis Helmer was killed by a German shell. That evening, in the absence of a Chaplain, John McCrae recited from memory a few passages from the Church of England’s “Order of the Burial of the Dead”. For security reasons Helmer’s burial in Essex Farm Cemetery was performed in complete darkness.

The next day, May 3, 1915, Sergeant-Major Cyril Allinson was delivering mail. McCrae was sitting at the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the YserCanal, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, Belgium.

In Flanders Fields Poem

As John McCrae was writing his In Flanders Fields poem, Allinson silently watched and later recalled, “His face was very tired but calm as he wrote. He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

Within moments, John McCrae had completed the “In Flanders Fields” poem and when he was done, without a word, McCrae took his mail and handed the poem to Allinson.

Allinson was deeply moved:

“The (Flanders Fields) poem was an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

Posted by Rob Read at 8:31 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Your Laptop Could Be A Deathtrap

I recently read an article about laptop fires. It seems using them in bed is almost as bad as using them in the tub. While using them in bed and the laptop is not logged off properly it will overheat and catch fire. The fans are not able to get the circulation they need to draw cool air into the body of the computer creating an overheating condition. This leads to combustion, and a panicked exit from your bed, or worse no exit at all as was the case for one American student.

Remember all electronics get hot. They need to be allowed to cool, or outright shut down before going to bed, leaving them alone in a room, or leaving the house. The results could be deadly.


Posted by Rob Read at 4:55 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The CIM Show Was Great

The CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining) Show was held in Saskatoon this year. I attended with Landon Johnson my Regina Branch Manager to continue the good work he has been doing with the mining industry here in Saskatchewan. The city has grown since my last visit and it sure looks like a nice place to live. I can easily see why it was chosen for the CIM show this year.

Since CIM's inception in 1898, The Metallurgy and Materials Society (MetSoc) has been an active part of the Institute. In 1945, the Metallurgy Division was officially formed to reflect the group's technical interests.

Constituted as an official society in 1967, the (then named) Metallurgical Society officially adopted a new name in October 2010 - The Metallurgy and Materials Society.

With mining being an integral part of the Canadian economy supporting these types of associations are vital to ensuring growth, and job creation. Every province has a mining sector, however some are more evident than in others.

Most of Manitoba’s mines are in remote areas, but Saskatchewan has mining in every corner and its contribution to the provincial economy is very evident.

CIM Show Saskatoon SK 2011 

Posted by Rob Read at 6:53 PM 0 Comments

Monday, November 07, 2011

The New Manitoba Fire Code Will Be Released December 1st 2011

The current edition of the Manitoba Fire code will be released December 1, 2011. I have been waiting for the release for a couple of reasons.

The first being that as the president of the MFEEA (Manitoba Fire Extinguishing Equipment Assn.) we needed this document to update the Wet Chemical Fire Suppression System Training Course. This course allows us to train technicians to do inspections only of wet chemical suppression systems in commercial kitchens at Red River College. This has been on hold for over a year.

The second is also an MFEEA issue regarding qualifications for technicians inspecting fire extinguishers in Manitoba. I had presented the MFEEA’s position on this issue to the MBOFC planning committee in February this year and I want to see what decisions they had made, and passed.

The 2011 Manitoba Fire Code, which is the 2010 National Fire Code with Manitoba amendments, includes changes such as:

 • requiring additional training for people who service special fire-suppression systems and portable fire extinguishers,

 • including child-care facilities in the definition of a residential-care facility, and

 • requiring fire safety plans and fire department access at building construction and demolition sites including specific requirements for standpipe systems.

 This announcement was made by Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for the Office of the Fire Commissioner.

Minister Howard went on to say “Buildings such as child-care centres, hospitals, personal-care and residential-care facilities will be required to have carbon monoxide detection devices installed in their facilities if there is a risk of carbon monoxide present in any part of the building,”. 

Further information including a complete list of significant changes and a link to the full list of 2011 Manitoba Fire Code amendments will be posted on the Office of the Fire Commissioner’s website at

Posted by Rob Read at 4:41 PM 0 Comments

Friday, November 04, 2011

Daylight Savings Time This Weekend

The daylight savings time is upon us again and it will be time to “Fall Back” an hour Saturday night at Midnight. I’m not sure if many people will be up to celebrate it on purpose. It isn’t New Year ’s Eve after all.

Daylight saving was originated in New Zealand by George Vernon Hudson, who as an entomologist wanted a few more hours each week to catch his bugs back in 1895. Many countries follow the practice, but most of these are of British, or formerly of rule. However even within those counties not all follow the time change in Canada as an example Saskatchewan doesn’t. In 1916 Germany during WWI imposed DST as a way of saving coal for the war effort, Russia brought in DST the following year with the USA adopting it in 1918. Canada followed suit, saying it was essential to co-ordinate with the U.S. and that not doing so would create too many headaches for trade and travel.

This is also the time of year to check out your fire extinguishers, smoke and CO detectors, and dryer ducts to insure all are working for the upcoming winter when we use our furnaces, dryers, and fireplaces a lot more often.

Use the extra hour we gain to check them out, it could save your life!

Posted by Rob Read at 11:15 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Kidde Fire Systems Releases Product Bulletin

Download Attachment...

One of my strongest arguments regarding using manufacturers’ certified representatives to service your fire suppression systems is due to the fact that when products are found to be defective the manufacturer sends bulletins to their dealers so we can take the necessary steps to warranty the suppression system, or its components. Using a manufacture certified companies also maintains the 6 year warrant that comes with most suppression systems. As soon as a non-certified company inspects or services the system the warranty is gone, and the manufacturer no longer assumes any liability. This means if your restaurant burns down, you best hope that the company doing the work has enough, and the correct liability insurance to help you rebuild. One way of doing this is to ask for a current manufacturers certificate. In a world of faxes, and emails if they can't quickly and easily produce this document chances are they are not certified by the manufacturer.

The bulletin 11-55K that Kidde Fire Systems has released involved the System Valve Actuator. “Kidde® Fire Systems has identified a potential issue with the Spring Loaded Plunger on recently manufactured System Valve Actuators (SVA). The SVA is used to actuate all WHDR™ wet chemical and IND™ dry chemical cylinder assemblies. In some units, the plunger may not have been properly inserted into the actuator piston, which could prevent the SVA from locking in the actuated (extended) position.” This bulletin also applies to all Range Guard wet chemical suppression systems, and Industry Guard Dry Chemical Suppression systems.

The SVA’s in question were released from June-August 2011, and are marked on the top of the SVA to easily identify them. If you have had one of these suppression systems installed during that time I highly recommend you contact your local Kidde/Range Guard dealer to have the problem repaired.

Posted by Rob Read at 11:58 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Sprinkler Flush Investigations Can Save Your Business

We recently completed a flushing investigation for one of our customer’s sprinkler systems. They have multiple systems protecting a variety of building, and hazards. The reason we do the flushing investigation is to confirm there is no excessive build-up of rust scale and foreign material in the sprinkler piping that could prevent the sprinkler head from working as designed.

While doing these investigations we usually find some minor rust scale, but in doing these buildings we found all kinds of things inside the piping everything from coupons (These are the metal cut outs when adding branches to the piping), we also found gaskets, and in one system we even found about 4 cups of gravel. To say that in a fire these sprinkler systems might not have worked isn’t a stretch. What makes this worse is that the same procedure had been performed for this customer 5 years earlier by another company who missed all of these obstructions.

A flushing investigation is required after an obstruction investigation determines that it is required. The obstruction investigation is required every 5 years, is usually initiated by the insurance industry, and is a fire code requirement.

The main goal is to ensure a clean flow of water to the sprinkler head so they spray with the patterns, and pressures they were designed for. Without this the fire will take a much longer time to extinguish which leads to increased damage to the building and contents.

If you haven’t been obstruction, or flush tested in the last number of years this is a procedure that I highly recommend. Make sure the company you are dealing with is reputable, and has experience and proficiency when doing this type of testing.

2Gravel found inside sprinkler piping.Coupons, Rust & Sludge found in Sprinkler Piping.Pieces of Rust flakes found in Sprinkler Piping.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:37 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Protecting The Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport

The James A Richardson Airport has opened its new terminal. The new terminal replaces the original built in 1964 and expanded and renovated in 1984. The new building is a state of the art eco-friendly facility that will serve as the front door to all travelers arriving in Winnipeg and it’s a nice front door!

Our participation started a couple years ago when we were contracted by Ellis Don to supply the hose cabinets. These Larsen’s stainless steel cabinets are something you won’t see in many places as they are very high end cabinets that most buildings just wouldn’t want to pay for.

The second part of our participation in the new terminal was to supply and install the new kitchen fire suppression systems. These were unique installations because we had to supply two 3”, and one 2 ½” mechanical gas valves along with others. What makes these valves a little different is the size of these valves. With only 20+ years in the industry, and literally thousands of install behind me I have never installed 3” valves, and only one 2 ½” valve. They are passing some serious gas over there. Another interesting point was the exhaust hoods themselves. They come with UV filters in the exhaust ducts. These filters are used to “fry” the exhaust grease into ash. This allows the duct work to remain grease free, and also prevent the release of used cooking grease in to the air outside the building which is a part of the eco-friendly environment they have designed.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Dalton Burke our lead installer and my other suppression technicians for the many many hours of overtime that they put in to get this job done in time. Dalton has the honour of being the first person to sleep on the boarding gate lounge chairs while the other techs worked through the night helping him out. It’s this kind of dedication to our customers that keeps them coming back.

Dalton Burke installing at the Wpg JA Richardson AirportThese hoods use UV filters to remove grease.Manitoba's First TGI Friday's!

Posted by Rob Read at 2:32 PM 0 Comments