Are you still Experiencing Sprinkler Resistance?

The statistics are clear: automatic fire sprinkler systems save lives. In fact, 80 percent of the 2500 people killed in house fires annually in the United States would have survived had a sprinkler system been activated.  That is to say, 2000 lives may have been saved if a fire sprinkler system was in place.

So why is there still so much resistance?

One of the main reasons is there is a lot of confusing information out there. Home owners are skeptical about it’s maintenance, cost, and the hazards that could come with owning a sprinkler system. And there is also a bit of false comfort created with fire alarms.

The Hollywood Effect

We all love a good movie! And there is almost nothing more dramatic than a fire, fire fighters, and sprinklers. But Hollywood goes for glamour and action, and the truth about automatic fire sprinklers isn’t really eye catching.

What’s depicted in Hollywood is often that automatic fire sprinklers are extremely sensitive for disastrous results. Fire sprinklers are seen to be set off from a wee bit of smoke or even a pulled fire alarm. This leaves consumers with the perception that the smallest thing can set the sprinklers off and that they are as sensitive as a smoke alarm.

Automatic sprinkler systems are designed to help put out fires. Individual sprinkler heads are triggered only when air reaching the sprinkler head is at a fire specific temperature, generally between 155 to 165 degrees.

But that’s not all, Hollywood loves drama! If there was an oven fire, all the fire sprinklers go off. Yikes! No wonder consumers are hesitant about installing them.  Since fire sprinklers are triggered by heat, they will only go off if they are close to the fire. They don’t discharge simply because the other sprinklers in the home were discharged.

Hollywood’s erroneous depictions are not the only challenge that prevents consumers from installing sprinklers. Consumers are wary about the cost of installing sprinklers in their home and whether the cost is a necessary one if there are smoke alarms in place.

 Automatic Sprinklers are Not Just for the Wealthy

New construction is one of the best ways to ensure that automatic sprinklers are installed from the get-go. Sprinkler companies would benefit by fostering relationships with construction companies and helping them develop financially accessible ways to offer automatic sprinklers as a home upgrade.

According to the Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment Report (2013), the average cost of installing home fire sprinklers is 1.35 cents a square foot. This cost is similar to upgraded flooring or a whirlpool tub.

Additionally, home owners with automated sprinklers installed often benefit from a reduction in home insurance premiums. They will also reduce their own property loss in the event of a fire. Educating builders on the added value of automatic sprinklers will help increase the number of homes with this additional protection. It really is a win/win.

A discussion about the fears of fire sprinklers wouldn’t be complete without mentioning accidental discharge. Don’t let this concern stop your customers from protecting their home. Instead, offer them the additional insurance of a Shutgun shut off tool, shutting off fire sprinklers fast in the case of accidental discharge.

Although rare, when accidental discharge does happen, the damage can be devastating. When a sprinkler head is accidently activated, water is released at pressures as high as 170 psi and up to 75 gallons per minute. This capacity is great for containing or extinguishing fires, but without the right tool, can cause a great amount of water damage. Fast shut off is critical to prevent extensive damage to homes and businesses.  “The Shutgun is insurance for homeowners and building managers and it has proven its value in real life situations,” says Technicraft Product Design President, Greg Patterson.

On September 24th to 27th, Technicraft Product Design will be exhibiting their line of products at the American Fire Sprinkler Association. Increase your sprinkler sales, by including a Shutgun Tool Shut off system in every package. Empower your customer and alleviate the fear of accidental discharge, by showing that all it takes to stop the water flow is a one-handed squeeze.

Are You Setting Your Moving and Storage Business up For Success?

Labour needs to be looked at as an investment in your operation. Hiring the right individuals and providing them with the right tools will ensure that your company runs both smoothly and efficiently. In 2015, Laborers, freight staff and material movers had one of the highest number of work place injury cases, with 4.5 cases for every 100 workers.

When it comes to investing in a business, most operations tend to focus on management and supervisors. However, did you know that focusing on the hiring, training and equipment for your general laborers can not only increase employee satisfaction but decrease work place injuries? The cost to operate a moving and storage company is at an all-time high with wage increases and incremental rises in the cost of fuel. Do not increase your costs by failing to invest in your employees and their safety.

Hire Right the First Time

The talent pool for general laborers is startlingly low, which can increase the risk of hiring quickly. Nobody wants to lose a potentially good employee, especially when they are limited, but hiring rashly can put your company at risk.

No matter how good a resume appears, take the time for an in-person interview.

When interviewing, include questions about how they work in a team, handle conflict and problem solve. How well do their responses fit with your company’s values?  Don’t forget to include real life scenarios to gauge if the potential candidate can think on their feet. Remember, moving items safely and securely requires planning, team work, and strong customer service skills. These individuals are the face of your company: take the time to ensure that they are the right individuals for the job.

Place a Value on Work Place Safety

The moving industry, by its very nature, puts your employee at increased risk for injury. Include work place safety in every conversation, so that your employee understands why it needs to be an essential part of their job. This includes having access to the tools, equipment and training, to keep themselves safe on the job. For example: Lifting belts, gloves and steel-toe work boots can help protect the employee with heavy lifting. Knowing the weight of the furniture in advance can help ensure that workers have the right equipment, like carts and dollies, so that the item is removed safely.

Protect your Investment

Most moving companies today recognize the value of including carpets, blankets and other protective tools on their trucks to ensure that both the materials and buildings are not damaged. When a sprinkler head is activated by either bumping, breaking or temperature fluctuation, water releases at pressures up to 165 psi or 65 gallons per minute. Quick shut off is critical to prevent damage of everything from furniture, equipment and valuables. Despite this there is still very little discussion of what to do in the case of accidental fire sprinkler discharge. In the majority of cases, accidental sprinkler discharge could have been prevented. Train your staff to watch out for doorways and sprinkler heads when moving tall equipment, and in the case of accidental discharge, ensure there is a sprinkler shut off tool on each truck.

To learn more about Shutgun tools at www.shutguntool.com

Are Canadian High Rises at Risk of Fire?

If you’re looking to live in Toronto, it is most likely that you will be moving into a high-rise building. High housing costs have brought condo living into the mainstream, with an anticipated 29 new building planned for 2017 alone. Currently there are approximately 260 high rise buildings in Toronto, and the new projects, just keep getting higher. In fact, there is currently 8 tower proposals pending that are more than 300 metres in height.

The recent tragedy in London with the Grenfell tower has caused several communities to take a deeper look at whether, they too, are at risk.  In the case of the Grenfell tragedy, it is believed that the external cladding, which is added to older buildings to increase insulation and improve the external appearance, increased the flammability of the building. Cladding is used in buildings to provide a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, provide insulation, and prevent water penetration.

Regulations in Canada specify that cladding can be used on buildings at least four storeys in height provided that they have a fire rating of at least one to two hours. However in a recent article by the Canadian Press, forensic engineer, Doug Pervoic, emphasized that challenges arise when builders try to cut costs by resorting to cheaper materials.

On a positive note, the high rise residential buildings in Canada are built with non-combustible construction,including materials like brick, cement, metal, glass or stone, and are built so that the fire can be contained within one or a few units.

In 2010, the Ontario Building code was amended to require that any building more than three storeys high include sprinkler systems. Prior to this change, Ontario was the only jurisdiction in North America where sprinklers were not mandatory. In fact, between 1995 and 2008, 89 people died in high rise fires in Toronto. More than 40 % of homeowners aged 65 and over live in high rises.

However the lack of sprinkler systems in the older buildings still place residents at risk.  The question is, why aren’t more building residents advocating for them?

There is no doubt that there is a substantial cost involved with installation. This is not a retrofit that can happen overnight, but it should be one that building managers urgently consider.

Can Safety Features Support an Ultra Luxury Experience?

The luxury hotel experience is about exceeding customer’s expectations. Every factor needs to be considered from the sheets on the bed to the foyer decor. This experience is exclusive, sophisticated and indulgent.

Traditional safety features, from the flashing neon exit sign to the obtrusive sprinkler head, detract from this experience.  Hotel guests don’t want to be reminded of the possibility of fire. But is it possible to have an aesthetically pleasing luxury experience that seamlessly integrates safety?

Absolutely! And for today’s guest experience it is not just possible but essential.

1)  Luxury Linens

Flame retardant materials no longer means uncomfortable linens and tacky patterns.  Be diligent and ensure that all décor from the curtains in the room to the furniture in the foyer mirrors the unique attributes of each hotel.   A good night’s sleep is one of the top priority for guests.  Well designed blackout curtains and comfortable linens will help take that guest’s experience to the next level.

2)  Less is More

When furnishing a room, think minimalistic.  A few strategically placed, well chosen pieces, makes the room seem larger and in turn more luxurious. As an added benefit, this open space creates a wider pathway in the case of an emergency evacuation.

3)  Seamless integration

Exit signs, emergency lighting, fire alarms and extinguishers are all necessary parts of a fire safety plan. Guests don’t want to be reminded of the possibility of fire. To impart that luxurious experience, look for ways that the safety equipment can be incorporated into the current hotel design.

When it comes to exit signs, they’ve come a long way from the garish ones in the past. Today’s hoteliers can opt for signs that will support that luxury experience from edge lit to recessed die cast signs.  And, instead of the clear glass case, place your fire extinguishers in easy to access cabinets that flow with the hallway design.

4)  Conceal your sprinkler heads

Semi recessed sprinkler systems are not only tacky they are easier to accidently activate. Concealed sprinkler heads offer hoteliers an aesthetically pleasing design while protecting both their guests and the property. These heads provide the needed function to extinguish potential fires while seamlessly integrating into the décor.

5)  Manage the Risk of Accidental Discharge

There is perhaps nothing more detracting from a customer’s luxury experience than having both themselves and their items soaked by a sprinkler. Especially, if the sprinkler was discharged accidentally. To manage the risk of accidental discharge, equip your hotel with the Concealed Head Shutgun tool. This tool is equipped with a longer probe to reach the opening of the water source recessed inside the sprinkler head.  Hotel maintenance staff can shut off the water flow with a one-handed squeeze, dramatically reducing the amount of water damage that occurs from an accidental discharge.

Offering an authentic luxury hotel experience to guests is about fluidly connecting design with high service levels. To guarantee that full luxury experience, hotels need to commit to offering both the design and service level that will exceed guests’ expectations.

Damage Prevention 101: Protect your Sensitive Documents in All Circumstances

Record management is a vital part of almost every industry and ensuring sensitive files or documents are safe and secure should be of top priority. When records are lost or damaged, it can put your company at significant risk, including operational, financial, and perhaps most detrimental, risk to your company’s reputation.

When companies are choosing a storage facility to protect their valued documents, they should be certain that in addition to security, it also has the proper equipment and personnel to ensure their assets are fully protected.

The challenge for these facilities is ensuring that the integrity of the documents is fully protected throughout the storage period.

Do you have the tools in place to protect your documents?

  • All documents and files are clearly labeled and stored, for easy retrieval and archival
  • Climate controlled facility to protect from damage, humidity and condensation
  • Fully secure to reduce the risk of stolen documentation
  • Clear fire prevention plan including automatic fire sprinklers
  • Responsive Risk Prevention Plan including what to do in the case of accidental fire sprinkler discharge

Automatic Fire Sprinklers are the best Protection

When it comes to protecting valued documents, the first thing individuals consider is protection from fire so choosing a place to store your documents where automatic fire sprinklers are installed should be on the “must have” list. The damage from fire can be extensive, costing thousands of dollars in both lost documents and devastating damage to the facility. To ensure your valued documents are protected, facilities should include a clear fire prevention plan including fire alarms and automatic fire sprinklers.

Automatic Sprinklers protect your documents by:

  • Targeted protection; only those sprinklers in the heat of the fire will discharge water
  • Decreasing the amount of damage by controlling the fire until emergency personnel arrive
  • Wet records may still be recoverable; burned records are not.

However; take the time to ask some additional questions of your facility, including what is their response plan for accidental fire sprinkler discharge?

 Accidental sprinkler discharge does occur.

Although not as destructive as fire, the impact of water damage from a fully flowing sprinkler head on equipment and documents can be extensive.

  • In October 2016, Houston Police Department found this out the hard way. Thousands of sensitive evidence files were significantly damaged when the sprinkler system was accidently discharged in the evidence room. This potentially impacted up to 4200 active cases.
  • In March of this year, sprinklers were accidentally discharged at the Wichita Falls public library damaging more than 3,000 books.
  • In September 2016, the atrium and basement of Vancouver’s downtown public library flooded damaging a section of the library’s automated sorting system, including approximately 1,000 books and DVDs from the library’s collection.

Whether you’re protecting paper, technology, or sensitive evidence, you need a storage facility that has a fully responsive system. This system should include a fire prevention plan, including automatic sprinklers, and a response plan for accidental sprinkler discharge.  Responding to accidental sprinkler discharge should not be an afterthought!

This is why Technicraft Product Design engineered the Shutgun line of products. These easy-to-use tools empower individuals to shut off sprinkler valves with a one-handed squeeze. It is a fast, easy, and responsive solution to accidental sprinkler discharge. When looking for a security facility, look for companies that include quick and effective shut off tools like the Shutgun. Having this fully comprehensive plan will provide you with the peace of mind that your documents are both secure and fully protected.

Managing Risk: The Problem with Management Tunnel Vision

Whether you’re employed in the hospitality sector, corporate world, construction or government, risk prevention is most likely a part of your daily routine. If it isn’t, it should be. In any of these industries the one thing that each share is risk. At face value, managing risk can appear very simple. Effective risk prevention strategies are about expecting the unexpected.  It is about looking at the action or decision made, asking ‘what are the potential risks’, and then putting the strategies in place to prevent them. It seems like a no-brainer.

But are you managing risks with a manager’s tunnel vision?

Evaluate your Risks

Far too often, companies begin a risk prevention plan at the management level.  To understand what the risks are, managers may rely on plans done for other locations, missing the unique factors in their own business.

When managers make the commitment to develop an individualized risk assessment plan, it will ensure that the recommended strategies will be both used and useful.  This plan needs to begin with connecting with the individuals who have first-hand knowledge of that environment.

In fact, the most effective practices are created when there is a dialogue between management and the front-line workers.

Create a Culture of Risk Prevention

Risk prevention needs to be a part of every job description beginning with understanding the potential risks in an environment. These safe management practices need to make sense not only for the management team but for the front-line workers. This engagement of front line staff is key, as they are the ones that will be putting these strategies into place. These individuals need to both understand the potential risks and what to do if the risk does occur.

When front line staff becomes involved in the conversation, they start to think of their role in risk prevention. These individuals will become aware of the potential risks in their environment and will communicate if a prevention strategy may be ineffective. This is when safety begins to evolve from a conversation into a behaviour.

Effective risk management cannot be a top down approach. It cannot be leaders and managers dictating terms and procedures. Instead, it needs to be a collaborative discussion where front line workers become actively engaged in both informing and mitigating the risks at their work site.

Having the Right Tools in Place

A risk prevention plan needs to be more than a written document. Safe management practices should include strategies, safety equipment, training and specialized tools. Tools like the Shutgun sprinkler shut off tool, which is specifically designed to mitigate the risk of accidental fire sprinkler discharge. A successful risk reduction plan should be a combination of having access to the right tools and an effective strategy. A strategy that makes incorporating safe practices a part of the routine.

For example: When looking at Fire Prevention, one of your solutions may be adding in an automatic fire sprinkler system.

This is an extremely effective solution to reduce the damage of fire, especially if connected to a local fire department. However; with sprinkler heads comes the potential risk of accidental discharge. A complete risk prevention plan should include strategies both on preventing accidental discharge and what to do if discharge does occur.

But, remember, even if all the right tools are in place, the plan will only work if everyone involved both understands and values it. This is why it’s important to not just create a risk prevention plan but instead, constantly cultivate a culture of risk prevention.

Five Excuses That Don’t Hold Water When it Comes to Early Fire Sprinkler Installation

There are five common excuses for why construction sites don’t install sprinklers. It could be that they cost too much money, or the construction company has never had need of them before; they could be seen as a waste of time, there’s already a clear fire prevention plan in place, or they don’t want to run the risk of accidental discharge.

While these excuses may have some merit, there is always greater reason to ensure added protection during your build by considering sprinkler installation early on in the construction process.

Excuse #1: Sprinklers cost too much

Perhaps sprinklers are expensive, but fires are often much more costly. According to the Arson Prevention Bureau, many buildings never fully recover from the devastation of fire resulting in losing orders, contracts, equipment, and key employees. Even a small fire can delay the completion of a building, potentially activating the penalty clauses of a contract, increasing customer dissatisfaction, and provoking negative reviews.

Excuse #2: We’ve been in the Construction biz for years and have never had a fire

Good for you! However, there are on average between 4500-4800 construction fires in the USA per year, which is more than a dozen construction fires per day! They can be the result of worker accidents involving equipment, extreme hot weather, or arson, while many causes remain unknown. It is not enough to bank on a fire-free record when it comes to future build projects.

Excuse #3: It takes up unnecessary time

When it comes to your site, stop thinking temporarily and install your permanent sprinkler system as you go. Many builders follow NFPA 241 which is the industry standard for safeguarding construction, alteration and demolition operations. Therefore, it would make the most sense to install the main piping system as soon as possible and attach the heads to where the drops are going to be positioned. The only additional time this takes would be installing and then removing these heads when it is time to drywall the ceiling.

Excuse #4: We follow NFPA 241 to give us a clear fire prevention plan that protects our sites sufficiently

Even when NFPA 241 is followed, construction sites by their very nature are at a high risk for fire. On top of that, according to a 2008 study by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), today’s lightweight construction materials collapse faster than traditional wood at a rate of 6 minutes vs 18-and-a-half minutes for the “legacy materials”. To reduce the amount of damage, a clear fire prevention plan must include a suppression strategy that responds before a fire can get out of control. That’s where proactive measures of early sprinkler installation are so valuable. Sprinklers are proven to do the best job of containing and extinguishing a fire if and when it happens.

Excuse #5: There’s the risk of accidental discharge with sprinkler heads

Fear of water damage from accidental sprinkler discharge is the number one reason sprinklers are not installed. While sprinklers help contain and extinguish a fire, in the case of accidental discharge, the key is shutting off the sprinkler head fast, rather than avoiding the installation of the entire sprinkler system. To respond to accidental discharge, have a Shutgun tool on every floor or in an easily-accessible location to shut off fire sprinklers fast without causing further damage to the site or equipment.

Protecting your site from fire begins with a plan. By not prioritizing fire sprinklers, your site is at a much higher risk of being damaged by fire, which can easily result in more time, labour, and money spent!

Vandalism and Arson puts Inmates at Increased Risk of Fires

In 2002, a fire at Mitchell County Jail, was unable to be contained. The older jail did not have fire sprinklers and a limited exit strategy, due to flight risks. As a direct result eight inmates lost their lives.

This past October, inmates at the Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro, North Carolina, set two separate fires, resulting in two injuries. The prisoners were safely evacuated and the fire was contained within four hours.

Fires at prisons are not a rarity. In fact, National Fire Protection Agency estimates that approximately 600 fires occur in prison facilities each year.  One out of four of these fires is intentionally set. In these buildings, which by their very nature are designed to keep people contained, a clear fire reduction strategy is key.  Automatic fire sprinklers and clear evacuation strategies help ensure that tragedies do not occur.

However, with fire sprinklers comes the additional risk of vandalism. In fact, vandalism to sprinkler heads remains one of the primary reasons that prisons may delay the installation of fire sprinklers. The cost from the resulting water damage, even if just left running for a few minutes can be substantial.

The installation of institutional grade sprinkler heads makes it more challenging for inmates to break the sprinkler heads.  However, for the persistent prisoner, damage can still occur.  In fact, in 2015, newly built prison, Orleans Parish Prison which was equipped with institutional sprinkler heads,suffered extensive water damage when an inmate vandalized their in-cell sprinkler head. The water only ran for a few minutes, but to respond to the damage, the prison needed to shut off their fire suppression system.

Vandalism in prisons is a reality, whether it’s arson or damaging sprinkler heads. The institutional sprinkler head on its own does not ensure that a facility is safe from the extensive cost of water damage. To respond to this valid concern, Technicraft Product Design Inc. knew that they needed to have a shut off system that would work for the institutional sprinkler head.

The Institutional Shutgun was launched this past summer providing an essential, cost saving tool for correctional facilities, mental hospitals and homes.

Easy to use, with a one-handed squeeze, the Shutgun tool can quickly shut off water at the source. As an added security, this tool – equipped with a fusible link which will release in the event of a fire – will allow correctional facilities to still run their fire suppression system ensuring that inmates remain protected in case a fire does occur.

Ensure that your facility is fully protected from both vandalism and fire, with automatic sprinkler heads and the institutional Shutgun Tool close at hand. Shutgun will help stop water damage in its tracks.

Why Moving Companies Should Equip Trucks with Fire Sprinkler Head Tool

Moving companies work hard to ensure that customers’ belongings are protected, from placing items securely in the truck, to transporting it.

To further put their customers at ease, movers use equipment specifically designed to decrease the risk of damage. These include quilted blankets, bubble wrap, ropes,  shoe covers,  safety ramps,  carpets –  even removing the front door at times!

So why is it, that so many trucks are missing the essential equipment to respond to accidental fire sprinkler discharge? 

Automatic sprinklers are now standard in offices, hotels, apartments, condos and an increased number of residential homes across North America.   And rightly so, automatic fire sprinklers save lives! However; when accidentally discharged, the damage can be financially devastating!

Water from a sprinkler head is released at pressures of more than 165 psi and 60 gallons per minute, which can easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars in damage. The durable cast aluminum Shutgun is the best multi tool that allows movers to shut off an activated sprinkler with a one-handed squeeze.

It only takes one hit from a ladder or heavy piece of furniture, to set these fire sprinklers off.  This is why we recommend, a Shutgun for every truck in your fleet. And be sure to bring your sprinkler shut off tool into the residence so as to not waste time going back to the truck to get it!

At $1,000 per minute in damage for every minute that the water is left flowing – 2 or 3 minutes can add up to disaster.

Are your Clients’ Documents Safe from Water Damage?

If you’re in the storage industry, you’ve made it a top priority to provide peace of mind for your clients. Businesses are looking to place confidential records in your hand. But before doing so, they need the reassurance that these items will be protected from theft and damage.  They are looking at the competition, diligently comparing each company to see which will provide the service that they are looking for.

So how do you ensure that these clients choose your storage company over others in the market? By clearly demonstrating that you are a leader in protecting and retrieving documents!

Five Key Items your Customers are looking for in a Security Facility

1)      Theft Protection

2)      24-hour security system in place

3)      Controlled Physical Access

4)      Ease in Document Retrieval

5)      Protected from Internal Damage

When it comes to damage, fire is the first item that comes to mind.  Your customers need to know that there are fire protection and suppression systems in place.  This includes fire proof rooms and automatic sprinkler systems.  But if you want to be a leader in this market, you need to have a strategy to respond to accidental fire sprinkler discharge.

Sprinklers systems are in place to stop the devastation from fires. However; there a few factors that could erroneously set these systems off, including being impacted.  With the water released at extremely high pressures, the damage to paper and electronic records could be devastating. The solution: having a proactive plan on site which includes the Shutgun tool.  This simple tool will provide your customers peace of mind, knowing that they chose a security company that has defined themselves as a leader in document protection.