July 2009 - Kidde has announced a voluntary recall of their PI 2000CA smoke alarms.  These are the dual sensor models and can be readily identified by the "hush" and "push and hold to test weekly" buttons located in the centre of the detector.  You can read more about this recall, and what you should do!



June 2009 - Underwriters Laboratories (UL) have issued a notification which alleges that the manufacturer of the fire extinguishing agent Fire Blockade™, Working Chemical Solutions, Inc., has been using the UL Listed mark illegally.  You can read the full text of the notice here.  The Canadian Distributor, Orion Fire Distribution Ltd., has been contacted by FireTechs.Net via email but has yet to respond.  Keep watching this spot for developments!



What tools do you need to perform proper testing and service of fire protection equipment?  When I was involved in the aircraft crash investigation field, one of my colleagues boasted that there wasn't a helicopter built that he couldn't salvage with an adjustable 1" wrench (he referred to it as a "Mexican Speed Wrench"), and a hack-saw.  Granted, most of the aircraft dismantled in this fashion would never fly again, but what about the damage inflicted on servicable parts?

Recently I had occasion to witness the attempts of a local fire department practise using a hydrant located in a mall's parking lot.  This was a "private hydrant" as opposed to the ones you see on practically every street corner in a city, and was last "serviced" by an ASTTBC Registered Fire Protection Technician (RFPT) in March 2009.  The efforts of the fire fighters to use the hydrant were hampered by the fact that the technician had "tested" it using an adjustable pipe wrench instead of the proper hydrant wrench.  The valve stem was damaged so as to render it almost useless.  When asked, the mall staff could only produce a service invoice relating to the time and date of the last "test".  There was no other paperwork available and no tag on the hydrant.  Obviously the "test" peformed by the servicing agency (and for which the customer paid) amounted to nothing more than opening the valve (with the pipe wrench) and allowing water to flow for a few minutes.

In a high-rise building in another jurisdiction, the annual test of the sprinkler system is severely hampered by the removal of the ball valve handles and the fact that the previous servicing agency's technicians used pipe wrenches to activate the valves.  Several shut-offs to floors couldn't be used at all.  When a sprinkler head "let go" in a suite on the first floor, the fire department had to turn off the building's main sprinkler valve to stop the flow of water.

Which brings us to the subject question of this article:  What tools are YOU using to test and service fire protection equipment?  And what should you do when confronted by a previous technician's monkey-wrenching?  In communities that have adopted By-Laws requiring certified technicians, you should follow the guidelines established by the agency (or association) through which that technician is registered.  It's not your job to "police" previous inspection oversights but there is an established protocol that must be followed in most jurisdictions as well as the one outlined in the Practice Guidelines.  It is through this means that we can demonstrate our commitment to helping improve the professional practice of individuals (and agencies) engaged in this industry.  It's only when we're all playing on a level field that the practitioners of shoddy service will finally be weeded out.



Recently, an individual using tags bearing the name of Paul's Fire Prevention has been the subject of an intensive investigation by ASTTBC and several local jurisdictions.  His typical "MO" involves walking in to a large mall (or small strip mall) and offering to "service" the tenant's extinguishers and emergency lights for a substantially reduced cost.  He's improperly tagged off on extinguishers that require six year maintenance or hydrostatic testing, clearly doesn't understand (or lacks the proper training to service) unit emergency lighting equipment, and isn't properly certified to work in jurisdictions that require ASTTBC registered technicians.  The telephone contact number on the tag is bogus as well (I know, I tried it).  If you see a Paul's Fire Prevention tag on any fire protection equipment, please notify your local fire prevention office (who may ask you to provide details).  In most cases, the tenants will have to have the equipment retested by a qualified technician at (unfortunately) their additional expense.



Notifier's latest addition to their already well established product line is the FireWarden-50C (the "C" stands for "Canadian"). It's a small addressable panel that incorporates a UDACT communicator and is ideally suited for small projects that would normally have utilized a conventionally wired panel or in retrofit/upgrade applications. You can read more about this new product here!



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July, 2009



Points of Interest:
Stir up the Gray Matter with
Nick Markowitz &
Al Colombo

Smoke Detector Cross Listing Information:
ULC Smoke Detector Compatibility Index
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