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The Smart Way to Find a Fire Sprinkler Contractor

Fire Safety Stressed As Fatalities Increase

Wednesday

According to the New York Garden City News online: "A substantial jump in the number of house fires with fatalities nationwide this month has fire chiefs across the country reaching out to the public to emphasize the importance of fire safety.

"We have lost too many people in home fires in the last two weeks," said President Chief Jim Harmes, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. "Six people were recently killed in a house fire in Louisiana, two in house fires in Tennessee and one in my own community in Grand Blanc, Michigan. We have got to do something."

"People now have more protection available for their homes than ever before and yet they are losing their lives because they are not taking this protection seriously," he continued.

A quick check of media reports for the first 16 days of February reveals 59 house-fire fatalities across the country. Thirty fatalities were single or double fatalities, and 29 deaths resulted from just six house fires and were counted as multiple fatalities (three or more individuals).

"These are not just numbers; these are personal tragedies that each of us as a fire chief feels every time a life is lost," said Harmes.

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posted by ConstructionDeal.com, 11:40 AM | link | 0 comments |

Fire Safety Prevention

Tuesday

From the Current Online.com "What do you need to know about fire prevention? And more importantly, do you know what to do should you need to get out?

Getting out takes practice, according to Tom Harwin, fire chief for the Normandy Fire Protection District. "No matter what your plan, when smoke fills the hallway, you become disoriented," said Harwin. "Practice in perfect conditions."

While in perfect conditions without a fire, know your route, and count the doors from where you are to the hallway or exit. Smoke is the greatest risk in a fire situation. Heat and flames are not normally the cause of death. Fires give off several gases, including carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide.

"Smoke is hazardous, for inhalation, and because it blinds you," said Harwin. The smoke can disorient you, then the carbon monoxide can impact your body's systems, making an escape more difficult to achieve.

Harwin said the best prevention is to protect yourself. "Smoke detectors are the best protection we have. And they do work as long as they are maintained," he said. In that maintenance, the batteries should be checked and the detector regularly tested.

Fires can occur at any time of day, but according to Harwin, nights are usually worse than days. People are asleep, so there are less people around when the fire is still at the incipient stage and able to be seen from first signals. There is also the trouble of rousing individuals to get out.

Early detection products, such as smoke alarms, can help act as a witness to a developing fire when people are not awake or around to do so.

Aside from smoke detectors, sprinkler systems are some of the best protection against fire available. According to Harwin, 95-97% of fires that are sprinkled are contained to that area. He said that most fires can be contained with no more than three sprinkler heads.

If a fire is between two, two will activate, at most three. The sprinklers keep the developing fire in check until the fire department can arrive.

Harwin said that the majority of fires happen in the kitchen, which is primarily why there are not kitchenettes in most dorms.

People will set something on to cook late at night, sit on the couch while the food is cooking, then doze off.

"Usually the food is just smoking, but people have perished in kitchen fires," he said.

Of all kitchen fires, Harwin said, "Grease fires are terrible." If using an open skillet instead of a contained heating coil, such as one found in a fry daddy, the oil can splash over the side and ignite. The entire pan of oil then combusts into flame and can easily catch the cabinetry nearby.

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posted by ConstructionDeal.com, 10:58 AM | link | 1 comments |

Downtown Austin Adding Fire Safety

Friday

Fire safety news from the Post-Bulletin.com: "Austin's effort to revitalize downtown is confronted with several long-range problems, such as parking and access to upper levels of buildings, according to city officials.

A third issue relates to finding ways to help older, downtown structures meet today's building codes, particularly by installing fire sprinkler systems, and Austin City Council is supporting a proposed program to help in that endeavor.

Council members voted 6-1 at a work session Tuesday to recommend Port Authority designate an initial $200,000 in funds for low- or no-interest loans to owners of older buildings downtown to install sprinkler systems. The proposal is for buildings 80 years or older.

Several downtown buildings date to the 1880s and 1890s.

The 10-year loans also could be made to upgrade electrical systems in the older buildings, which would decrease the risk of fire, City Administrator Jim Hurm said.

The program could help revitalize downtown and save lives and structures, Hurm said. The fire department is concerned with an entire downtown block burning down, as the buildings are connected, he said.

In a memorandum to the council, Hurm stated the loan program's first priority should be the older buildings that are connected.

The nonprofit Austin Main Street Project, which aims to revive downtown, would administer the funds. Money for the program would come out of Port Authority's budget, which would be in addition to the roughly $760,000 it already has for downtown revitalization, officials said.

Council member Dick Pacholl voted against supporting the program, saying he wouldn't get that kind of loan offer as a homeowner. It's the building owner's problem to handle, he said.

His son and fellow council member Scott Pacholl disagreed, saying the program makes sense considering the money the city already has invested in reviving downtown. If buildings burn down, the city's investment is wasted, he said.

Several insurance agents, according to Hurm, have told him an older building's insurance rate could be reduced by 20 percent to 50 percent with the installation of a sprinkler system, depending on various factors. An electrical-system upgrade could lead to another 7 percent to 10 percent decrease in insurance for an older building."

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posted by ConstructionDeal.com, 9:42 AM | link | 0 comments |

Cost of Fire Sprinkler Installation

Tuesday

How much will it cost you to install a fire sprinkler system in you home? The cost is surprisingly low for a home that is or will be under construction. All the pipes and fittings can be installed before ceilings and drywall are in place and it can be very affordable. The cost average is usually less than 1% of the your total building price. Another way to look at it would be an installation and materials charge of about $1.00 or less per square foot.

That is for new construction, however, and many are interested in finding out the costs to install a fire sprinkler system in their current home. The prices generally go up when it comes to retrofitting an existing house. Mostly because of the work involved to replace drywall or plaster in all the rooms, which involves a lot of labor and additional materials. Costs can run from $2 to $5 per square foot in a retrofit, and jump up as high as $10 per if the work needed is more specialized and difficult. Of course, these costs are comparable to adding carpeting or hardwood flooring per square foot -- and they can save your life and property. A large suburban home retrofit could run about $8000.

Keep in mind that there can be significant insurance savings whenever you add a residential fire protection system. You're cutting the chances of a property being lost in a fire, which saves insurance companies money, and they'll reward you for adding a system. Check with your company or shop and compare insurance providers for the best deals before you check with an installer. And sprinklers can reduce the costs associated with fire damage by 40 to 70%.

If you'd like to talk with a local fire sprinkler company about a possible installation, post your request on ConstructionDeal.com - it's a fast, free service to find a sprinkler contractor. And you're under no obligation to hire anyone.

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posted by ConstructionDeal.com, 12:51 PM | link | 0 comments |

Fire Sprinkler Rules, Regulations and Laws

Thursday

Of the many questions we get at ConstructionDeal.com, one of the most common is 'Why are sprinklers required in some areas and not in others?" What is the reason for all the various rules, regulations, and laws? We decided to check with the American Fire Sprinkler Association:

According to the AFSA, "Fire sprinkler systems are installed in accordance with consensus standards developed through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.)

These standards are very specific in defining how sprinklers are to be installed in different types of occupancies and different hazard classifications.

The three primary standards that define the installation requirements are NFPA-13 (Installation of Sprinkler Systems); NFPA-13R (Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies Up to and Including Four Stories in Height); and NFPA-13D (Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.)

The standards adopted by NFPA represent the best recommended practices, but the standards by themselves are not 'law.' Development of the consensus is a dynamic process and the standard is changed to reflect new technologies, science, and experience. Every three years a new version of the standard is issued that contains changes and updates.

The requirements for the installation of fire sprinklers are adopted as law by state or local jurisdictions as a part of their building code or local ordinance. At times jurisdictions may vary some of the requirements contained in the NFPA documents. Differences in requirements will vary from city to city based on local changes made to the NFPA standards, or the year of the standard adopted by the local jurisdiction.

For example, if one city adopts the 1999 NFPA 13 standard, and another city adopts the 2002 issue of the same standard, there will be differences."

If your city requires fire sprinklers in your commercial or residential building, you can use Construction Deal to help you find a quality sprinkler installation company. It's a free service for you. You'll be matched with several installation companies and their multiple bids means you'll have the best price to choose from.

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posted by ConstructionDeal.com, 1:44 PM | link | 0 comments |