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The Importance of Testing Your Fire Pump

A fire pump is an integral component of a total fire protection system.  A fire protection system at a facility may include automatic sprinkler systems, standpipes, hose stations, and/or fire hydrants.

FirePumpTraining

The purpose of a fire pump is to provide or enhance the water supply pressure from public mains, suction tanks, gravity/elevated tanks, lakes, and other bodies of water.

The building owner or a representative (e.g., management company) is responsible for the maintenance of the fire pump.  Fire pumps should be inspected, maintained and tested per the manufacturer’s specifications.  If the manufacturer’s specifications are unavailable, refer to the standard for the maintenance of fire pumps NFPA 25 (Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems) or contact the Protegis Fire & Safety’s Automatic Sprinkler Systems Inspection, Maintenance, and Testing Department.

A comprehensive maintenance program is generally broken down into three components:  inspection, maintenance and testing.

Inspection.  A visual examination of the fire pump to verify that it appears to be in operating condition and is free of physical damage.  Examples include:

  • Heat in pump room is minimum 40 degrees F (70 degrees F for diesel engines)
  • Pump suction, discharge, and bypass valves are open.
  • Controller pilot light (power on) is illuminated.

Protegis also offers maintenance that is performed during this inspection.
Examples include:

  • Lubricate pump bearings
  • Clean pump room louvers
  • Clean coolant strainer in coolant system

Testing.  A procedure used to determine the status of the fire pump and auxiliary equipment by conducting periodic physical checks.  Examples include:

  • Conduct a routine churn test as required by NFPA 25
    (run pump without water flowing)
  • Conduct an annual full-flow performance test
  • Operate alarm, supervisory, and trouble signals

Measures should be taken during an impairment to ensure that increased risks are minimized and that the duration of the impairment is limited.  NFPA 20 provides a trouble-shooting checklist to help in identifying causes of pump problems.  Qualified personnel, such as Fireguard, must make the necessary repairs and adjustments to ensure proper pump operation.

Understanding the proper selection, installation, and maintenance of a fire pump can make the difference between business as usual and a catastrophe at a facility. Let Protegis Fire & Safety be there for you for all your needs. We are your one stop shop for all commercial fire protection needs. Our services range from the installation of fire protection systems in new construction projects to retrofits, to service, testing and inspection of fire sprinkler systems, fire pumps, fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, kitchen hood systems and emergency lights.

UL 300 Fire Suppression Systems

UL 300 Fire Suppression Systems for Restaurant Kitchens

UL 300 Compliance

It’s time to take a radical stance on restaurant fire safety.

Automatic fire suppression systems for commercial kitchen hoods—called “restaurant systems” in the fire protection industry—have been required to comply with Standard UL 300 since 1994. Older non-UL 300 systems are not designed to handle fires in modern kitchens, and keeping one of these systems in place typically costs more than upgrading to a modern model. Despite these facts, a dwindling handful of commercial kitchen operators continue to hold onto their old systems. With 7,600 restaurant fires occurring annually in the US, that’s a poor bet to take. Click below to learn more.

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The Most Common Misconception About Security Cameras

security camera can't see license plate on taxi

Today, I interviewed Peter Wood of Protegis Fire & Safety,  “I asked, what is the most common sales question you hear?”

His reply: “Will I be able to read license plates with this security system?”

Today, we’ll dive deeper into the question and give you clarity on what type of options businesses have.

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Annual Fire Extinguisher Service – What Actually Happens?

Today, we are going to take a closer look at each step involved in an annual fire extinguisher inspection. 

Annual Fire Extinguisher Inspection Steps:

1. Look for damage to extinguisher
2. Investigate the gauge
3. Make sure the pull pin works
4. Reseal the pull pin
5. Look for issues with the hose
6. Check for powder in the head
7. Make sure threads aren’t stripped
8. Check for the date (6 year and 12 year)
9. Invert the extinguisher
10. Remove last year’s inspection tag
11. One vast visual inspection
12. Clean with a rag!


Step 1: Look for Damage to Extinguisher

This first step to certify an extinguisher for the next year is to make sure there is no damage to the exterior. You want to thoroughly check it and make sure the instructions and serial number are on it.

Step 2: Investigate the Gauge

You want to make sure the gauge is in the green. If the indicator is off to the left, that means a recharge is needed. Factors that could lead to a recharge are:

• The extinguisher has been leaking
• It could be a factory defect

If the indicator is off to the right, that states the extinguisher has been overcharged.

Step 3: Make Sure the Pull Pin Works

Take off the tamper seal and make sure the pull pin has easy and clear access ‘back and forth’ through the place holder. Sometimes the extinguisher falls, or people knock them off, which can bend the pin.

Step 4: Reseal the Pull Pin

Once you are sure the pull pin is straight, insert the pin back into its proper place and reseal it.

Step 5: Look for Issues with the Hose

Hoses that are outside are exposed to bugs which can clog the hose. Insects like mud wasps can create nests inside of the hose.

The easiest way to clean a fire extinguisher hose is with a metal coat hanger.

To make sure the hose is clear, start by blowing air through it. Then, with your finger, see if you can feel the air come through on the opposite side you blew into.

Step 6: Check for Powder in the Head

Before you insert the hose back on, make sure there is no powder left inside of the head. If powder is visible, it could mean the extinguisher has been discharged before.

Step 7: Make Sure Threads Aren’t Stripped

Make sure the hose easily goes back into place. If not, the threads may be stripped and needing replacement.

Step 8: Check for the Date (6 Year and 12 Year)

This shows when a fire protection company will have to do extensive maintenance on the extinguisher. A 6 and 12 year inspection will need to be done.

Two easy ways to tell that a 6-year inspection has been done:

• There is a collar on the extinguisher
• There is a label, initialed by a service tech, saying inspection complete.

The 12-year test will be done in 2022 (for an extinguisher made in 2010) and this is when the hydrostatic test will need to be performed.

Step 9: Invert the Extinguisher

To avoid the powder from caking (as the result of sitting too long) you need to invert the extinguisher and strike it with a mallet or tap it on the ground.

Powder that has caked will not come out!

Step 10: Remove Last Year’s Inspection Tag

Insert your new tag, make sure it is punched for the correct date/year, and wrap the tag around the gauge.

Step 11: One Last Visual Inspection

Take one last look to make sure everything is in operating order and that there is no corrosion.

Step 12: Clean with a Rag!

Very, very important! Clean the fire extinguisher with a rag to make sure the extinguisher is clearly visible, and all the labels are visible.

Conclusion

The main idea is to get you aware of everything that goes into an annual fire extinguisher inspection. You can see why every step is important to keep the extinguisher in working order.

Three common steps routinely missed are:

• Making sure the pin is completely straight
• Removing the hose and check for clearance
• Make sure the head is clear, indicating no prior use

We hope you never have to use a fire extinguisher, but if you do, it would be devastating if it doesn’t work properly. Make sure you hire a reliable fire safety partner who follows all the necessary steps. 

What Goes into a Security System at a High School?

CCTV Installation at a Lakewood Ohio High School

 

I joined CCTV/Access Control Installation Specialist Matthew Henely as we met on the campus of St. Edward’s High School in Lakewood, Ohio.

Today, the goal is to add one new camera to an existing network by obtaining a license, and then installing the new camera overlooking an entrance.

But first, I had to get a tour, so let me show you some of the existing security equipment that was installed on this project.

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