5 Ways to Avoid Sprinkler Accidents in Cold Weather

Don’t let Winter Temps Be The Cause of Accidental Sprinkler Activation.

As the temperatures plummet, the risk of accidental fire sprinkler discharge increases.  Regular maintenance and testing is critical to ensure that the automatic fire sprinkler system is functioning properly.  However; the cool temperatures bring with it the additional risk of frozen pipes and damaged sprinkler heads.  Every year, the news is filled with stories about pipes bursting, sprinkler heads rupturing and the extensive, costly, water damage that results.

Don’t be the next news story!  This winter put a prevention plan in place to keep your building protected from accidental fire sprinkler activation.

5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Sprinkler Accidents

1) Check for drafts which could let in cold air, and then seal them.  Open windows, cracks in foundation, missing insulation, and lack of weather stripping can make the room cooler and increase the risk of frozen fire sprinklers or pipes.

2) Close any cold weather valves.

3) Keep the room temperature above 40 degree Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius)

4) Keep secondary heating units away from the sprinkler heads to prevent accidental discharge from overheating.

5) In the case of accidental discharge, keep a Shutgun sprinkler shut off tool nearby for fast and easy shut off.

Most winter freeze ups tend to occur in the nooks and crannies that may miss a quick visual scan. Attics, basements, and wall and floor joists are often the more vulnerable areas. The key to avoiding the extensive damage from accidental fire sprinkler discharge is having a strategic prevention strategy.

Cold weather doesn’t have to be the arch nemesis for automatic fire sprinklers if the right steps are taken.

For more information visit: http://www.ecclesiastical.ca/2012/avoiding-freeze-ups-and-malfunctions-of-automatic-fire-sprinkler-systems/

Shutgun exhibiting at AMSA: March 20th to 23rd

On March 20th to 23rd, Technicraft Product Design Inc. will be demonstrating their line of products at the American Moving and Storage Association Conference. Protect your investment by keeping a Shutgun tool in every office and on every truck.

Come by and visit, President, Greg Patterson at Booth 702 and share your Shutgun story!   While at the booth, why not fill out a ballot to be entered into a draw to win a Microsoft Activity Band!

Moving companies and storage facilities are in the business of protecting other individuals’ investment. People are coming to you to both store and transfer their valuables. They want to ensure that everything arrives safely. Fire prevention strategies, such as automatic sprinklers, are one of the best ways to foster this reassurance for your client. No matter how diligent the moving team is, it is always possible to inadvertently hit the sprinkler head with a piece of furniture or other equipment.

Accidents happen. Mitigate this risk by having the Shutgun tool on hand.

Thankfully accidental discharge does not happen often, but when it does occur, the last thing you want to do is scramble to find the tool.Water from a sprinkler head is released at pressures as high as 170 psi and up to 25 gallons per minute, which can easily result in tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Every second wasted increases the amount of damage exponentially. This is why Shutgun has developed a bright yellow protective case specifically designed to hold all their tools whether it’s the original Shutgun, the Sheared head Shutgun, or Concealed head Shutgun.

We firmly believe that the Shutgun is only as good as its closest toolbox and at the $50 price point, it’s insurance that lets you place one on every truck.

Shutgun’s #OneOnEveryFloor campaign

We’re very thrilled, for a couple of reasons, to be heading to Hawaii later this week in order to not only exhibit at the Hawaii Lodging Hospitality and Food Service Expo on July 9 and 10 (Booth 219) but to take time and visit with as many of our valued hotel clients as possible.

We will be promoting our #OneOnEveryFloor campaign in order to bring awareness to the cost and time saving benefits of having multiple Shutguns accessible on your hotel or resort property.

By having one Shutgun tool on every floor of your hotel, you will eliminate time wasted in retrieving your sprinkler shut off tool – thereby minimizing potential water damage to your resort or hotel rooms.

We will also be taking some time to walk through the hotels Fire Sprinkler Emergency Procedure as well as update managers on our recent additions to the Shutgun.

These tips will not only save time and avoid stress in an emergency, but makes economic sense for the hotel as well.

Shutgun will also be launching a new tool for concealed fire sprinkler heads this year, increasing the likelihood that you will be able to shut off an accidental activation on any concealed sprinkler model in your hotel.

 

Shutgun will be exhibiting at BOOTH #219 on Wed July 9 and Thurs 10th at the Hawaii Lodging Hospitality and Food Service Expo in Honolulu. For information visit #OneOnEveryFloor 

Cost benefit of purchasing multiple Shutguns – we did the math

Many of our clients have done a great job at not only stocking a Shutgun along with their fire boxes and annunciator panels, but also in training their staff and front line personnel on the proper use and procedures in a sprinkler-related emergency.

We would like to applaud you – and although yes, it is a good idea to have a Shutgun tool at the annunciator panel, it actually is more cost effective to invest in multiple Shutguns per property, having one with each fire extinguisher box. Here is the ‘official’ formula:

$ cost benefit = Shutgun x Floors + Time ($1,000 per minute)

Allow us to explain…don’t worry, there will not be a test later!

Take the example of having just ONE fire extinguisher for an entire building. If a small fire broke out on floor #7 but the extinguisher was on floor #1, the amount of potential damage that could be inflicted in the time it takes to run down and back up with the extinguisher, could be severe.

Similarly, it is estimated that the cost of clean up, repairs and water damage related to accidental fire sprinkler activation can run up to $1,000 per minute for every minute that a sprinkler is left running. (That’s about $17 per second if you don’t have your calculator handy)

Here’s the math in action – see which scenario makes more sense to you:

SCENARIO A:

1 Shutgun x 4 Floors = $50

(savings of $200 for buying only 1 tool)

+          If it takes at least 5 minutes to go down several floors, get the Shutgun and come back –

5 minutes = potentially $5,000 in damage

=          $5,050 in damage and time wasted.

SCENARIO B:

5 Shutguns x 4 Floors (+ 1 for panel) = $250

+          0 minutes to run and get Shutgun = $0/minimal in damage

=          $250 (and minimal damage to rooms/floors.)

*Essentially, the savings on purchasing tools is negated by the resulting damage of time wasted in retrieving the tool.

Economic sense? We think so too! The simple solution: a Shutgun for every floor.

For a gold star – please stock your condo, hotel, and high rise with multiple Shutguns – as well as share/tweet/tag this post with the hashtag #OneOnEveryFloor

Lastly, for our existing customers – be sure you have your Shutgun Sheared Head Attachment for recessed fire sprinklers in walls, ceilings.

CHECKLIST – for engineers, safety managers and risk managers.

Property owners and managers can reduce the possibility of extensive losses through a water damage mitigation program. The program involves a detailed checklist specific to your facility. This analysis gives risk managers, safety managers, building engineers and other professionals more control over potentially paralyzing situations.

 

• Are small leaks promptly repaired?

 • Is the cause of any leak analyzed to determine if it was an isolated occurrence,

or a symptom of a system-wide problem?

 • Are housekeeping personnel instructed to immediately notify maintenance when

any type of dripping, leakage or clogged drains is found?

 • Is there close monitoring of the work of outside contractors and vendors that may

affect piping systems (sprinklers, water, etc.)?

 • Are there any liquid storage tanks or vessels (hot water, condensate, boilers, fuel

oil, etc.) inside the building, mechanical penthouse, or on the roof?

 • Are pipe diagrams or prints up to date, and showing the location of valves for all

liquid carrying systems?

 • Are shut off valves “exercised” (closed and reopened, lubricated as needed)

at least annually to verify they can be quickly closed during an emergency?

 • Is someone available on all shifts trained to respond immediately to any leak?

 • Is someone immediately available at all times with authorization

(24 hours x 7 days) to call and bring in the professional clean up

and restoration companies?

 • Do you have a proper sprinkler shut off tool in place in case of accidental sprinkler discharge?

 

As part of pre-loss discussions with your insurance carrier, a thorough and specific checklist assessment for your facility should be developed for major areas of concern.

 

 For more information: www.ZURICH.com and www.shutgun.ca

http://www.zurichna.com/internet/zna/sitecollectiondocuments/en/knowledge%20center/whitepapers/real%20estate/water-damage-prevention.pdf

A Case for Water Protection Kits and Staff Sprinkler Training

Recently, Shutgun chatted with Thomas Riegelman, VP of Engineering and Facilities Management for White Lodging properties about his experience in placing the Shutgun Water Protection Kit into over 170 of his properties.

 

Like any property owner in the hotel or lodging industry, Thomas has had his run-ins with sprinkler mishaps, most often due to brides and grooms using it as a garment hanger.

 

But what struck us was the emphasis that Thomas put on training his staff in cases of sprinkler emergencies.  The decision to purchase the water protection kit was one of pure necessity.

 

All of White Lodging Shutgun sprinkler shut off tools are placed next to the main fire panel box, so if a sprinkler is set off, the closest staff member can view the panel, grab the water protection gear and go investigate. They also ensure that each staff member is trained in how to use the Shutgun tool as well as procedures to follow.

After all, shouldn’t it be standard as part of facility management training for all front desk and night shift staff?

 

For many smaller properties, staffing during off hours is limited, sometimes just one person.  Having not only the proper tools, but the proper protection gear would allow them to feel more confident in investigating these types of sprinkler related incidences.  

 

The Shutgun Team