Fire Safety For Retailers: Audit, Servicing & Maintaining Retail Fire Systems

retail-fire-safety

 

Everything happens faster these days, and retailers need to be conscious of keep up with changing demands and consumer trends. Maintaining a fresh store keeping customers engaged whilst showcasing their brand helps to keep one step ahead of competition.

It’s simply a way gaining the emotional connection between shoppers and brands.

Retail shops, whether developed as standalone properties or leased shop fronts within mixed use centres, the owners of shops, hotels, malls and office buildings must protect customers, staff from the threat & harm of fire.

To ensure the protection is maintained at a high level, emergency prevention measures and early warning fire detection for retail properties can protect high value stock & equipment from loss or significant damage and prevent un-necessary evacuation of premise and loss of business earnings.

As shop owners look to make changes to shop layouts, it’s important to understand the possible impacts this might have on exit pathways and location of water mist sprinkler systems.

Other considerations might be storage and how this could possibly provide further hazards to fire prevention.

There are constant fire safety challenges in relation to preventative actions of fire safety protection systems.

For instance, where layout changes have occurred, it would most likely require water mist sprinkler heads to be relocated.

For large shopping centres, the risk of fire is still prevalent.

The potential for devastating loss of business would be costly for retailers.

 

retail-fire-protection

 

Four people treated after Sydney Westfield fire.

As reported by the Daily Telegraph, Four people have been treated for minor smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a stairwell at the Westfield in Parramatta, resulting in hundreds of shoppers being evacuated from the mall.

Fire authorites were allerted to an automatic alarm with smoke seen on two levels, sources suggest.

Fire and Rescue later said in a tweet the fire had already been extinguished by staff members before firefighters arrived.

Shoppers were able to return about an hour later once the area was ventilated and the smoke cleared.

So what seems to be a relatively small fire has cost retailers an hour of consumer trading. The take awy though was the early smoke warning detection that alleretd authoites to the impending dangers.

Therefore it is critical that routine preventative maintenance of smoke detection systems and fire protection equipment is carried out on-time, regularly and thoroughly. By way of audits & inspections, these actions help to ensure the systems will perform as intended in the event of a fire.

LPG Fire Safety For Retailers Audit & Maintenance Programs

LPG Fire enables retailers to be proactive with their compliance policies and code of practice ensuring standardised methodologies are established, and proactive identification of fire safety risks

LPG Fire Safety Audit & Maintenance Programs enables retailers to manage key fire protection control areas including document systems such as policies, procedures and record-keeping related to retail shop fire safety; providing awareness among retail workers on fire safety policies; shop evacuation plans and procedures; fire protection equipment; and correct handling of flammables existing within the premises.

Benefits include:
• Develop standardised methodologies, plans, checklists and evaluation parameters for audits.
• Proactively identify fire risks
• Enhance audit efficiency with reporting and analytics
• Mitigate fire risks with quick and prompt corrective and preventive actions from audit results, which enable an improvement to current auditing practices.

LPG Fire is ready to support your fire safety, service and maintenance program. Retail stores can make requests about our fire protection programs and workshop testing facilities 24 hours a day.

Ready for complete fire protection for your Retail Store?

Contact LPG Fire today!

Water Mist System Working Principle

Functioning Principles of a Water Mist Fire Protection System

These little water beads (fog) quickly absorb the energy (heat) existing in the environment and vaporize, ending up being water vapor (gas). The energy (warmth) made use of to change the water to a gas is eliminated from the setting, hence the air is cooled down.

Mist Water Cooling works by forcibly pushing water via our specifically developed misting nozzles; this produces a mist (haze) of ultra fine water droplets with a typical size of 25 microns or less. With high pressure mist cooling you will obtain an even smaller droplet dimension, just 5 microns.

If we were to take marine vessels as an instance, engine room fires represent a hazard for team members functioning onboard ships & ferry’s as well as heavy monetary loss for the ship owners or operators. Examinations expose that aroiund 56% of all engine room fires were triggered by the combination of oil leak onto a warm surface area. Elimination of warm surfaces and also appropriate installation of couplings and tubes in fuel oil system has actually reduced the danger of fire substantially. In case of an engine room fire, a local water mist fire protection or extinguishing system can be utilized to prevent the acceleration of fire as well as keep the temperature levels reduced.

Key Equipment Conponents

System Components
1. Key Control board
2. Water Pump (For High Pressure Application).
3. Fire Detectors (Detects Fire in Specific Area).
4. Solenoid Valve (One For every Specified Location.
5. Water Nozzles (Creates Water Mist).

How does A Water Mist System operate?

The water mist fire fighting system includes 2 detectors positioned over the area to be secured (such as primary engine, auxiliary engines, burner, auxiliary central heating boiler, purifiers, and so on). Of these 2 detectors, one is a smoke as well as the other is a fire detector.

In the event just one detector is turned on in a protected area, it offers an emergency alarm as a pre caution. In instances where both the detectors are triggered, the details are transmitted to the main control board of the water mist fire control system and it then begins the water pump, and opens the solenoid shutoff to the protected area. Water at high pressure (around 10 bar at the nozzle) is pumped through specially design pipework to each water mist nozzles and creates a fine mist which is enveloped over the protected area. Water mist is released until all signs of smoke or fire has been eliminated.

Incase of instances where an automatic system start-up does not function or the detection systems has not yet triggered, a Manual Procedure is generally operated through the Manual Start button on the local or push-button control panel for the specific location, which will immediately start the pump and also trigger the solenoid valve for that specific area.

Particular Area on Marine Vessels that utilise water mist systems will include:.

– Burner space.
– Auxillary boiler systems.
– Purifier areas.
– Auxiliary generators.
– Inert gas generator spaces.
– Main engine cylinder head spaces
– Steering equipment rooms.
Source: http://marineengineeringonline.com/

The image below depicts exactly how the Water Mist System Concept Functions;

 

water mist system working principles

 

For reliable operation of any kind of Water Mist Fire Security Equipments, the adhering to guidelines ought to be kept:.

– Power supply needs to be available.
– The location around the active water mist water pump must be clear of any kind of obstructions.
– Enough water level must be retained in the marked fresh water tanks.
– Drainpipes and maintenance shutoffs have to be closed as well as well labelled.
– The emergency alarm system needs to be in operation.
– A clear operation process for manual and auto operations should be documented and be displayed.
Source http://marinestudy.net/

LPG Fire Australia has designed, developed and also supplied water mist fire protection systems, both low and also high pressure into Australia for Atriums, Information Centres, Heritage Structures, Diesel Generators, Oil Transformers, FPSO, and also Vessels.

Our High Pressure AQUAFOG as well as Low Pressure VID Fire-Kill allows us to supply a system suitable for your application.

To find out more, see our Water Mist Product page http://lpgfire.com.au/products/high-pressure-watermist

Kitchen Hood Suppression System Inspection & Maintenance

Helpful guidelines for maintaining & inspecting kitchen hood fire suppression systems

As restaurant owners much of your responsibility is to make the restaurant comfortable, inviting and an all round great place to be.

Nothing could be worse than the outbreak of a sudden dangerous fire. Fire threatens lives, destroys property and brings fear to what should be a safe haven.

Maintaining a safe restaurant kitchen is paramount not only for your employees, but for all other occupants of the premise.

Restaurant fire suppression systems are engineered to include the most advanced technology and are manufactured with the highest quality materials however they cannot provide optimal protection without your involvement in the maintenance of your system.

What is your responsibility?

As owners, you are responsible for maintaining your fire suppression system and making sure that it is working at its peak and learning what help is available what so you can ensure that your system continues to provide protection.

The following is as summary of what you as the owner must have completed on at least a monthly basis to help ensure proper operation and efficient functioning of your ANSUL fire suppression system.

It’s important to note though the process of inspecting and maintaining fire suppression systems should be outsourced to experts in this field.

kitchen-fire-suppression-maintenance

Monthly Pre-operational Inspections & Guidelines

By way of a pre inspection, make sure that all inspection seals are attached, be certain not to allow obstructions to block access to the manual pull station, check to see that it has not been tampered with and is ready for operation.

Verify that the maintenance tags supplied by the certified distributor are in place.

Look for any obvious damage that might prevent proper operation.

Make certain that your hood is clean and in good condition.

Take careful attention to discharge nozzles and gas flues.

Make daily examinations looking for loose pipes and missing or grease covered nozzle gaps.

Make sure nozzle caps are in place.

Place over the ends of each nozzle if you determine that the caps are damaged or missing, immediately contact your authorized distributor for a replacement.

Periodically you should check the visual indicator on the system release, to be certain the system is cocked.

Visually inspect pressure gauges on your hand portable extinguishers.

When cleaning your cooking equipment never use flammable solvents or cleaners. these can leave dangerous flammable residues that can lead to fires in the kitchen.

Do not store flammable materials near your cooking equipment or near gas flues.

Be sure your hood-cleaning vendors never use high alkaline cleaners or otherwise corrosive cleaning solutions on the fusible links or cables.

While cleaning your filters in the hood, check to see that there is no corrosion on any of the components of the detection systems.

Keep pots, pans utensils and cooking materials in locations where they will not block the spray from the fire suppression discharge nozzles inhibiting the effectiveness of the spray pattern.

To prevent excessive heat buildup, which will activate the system, be sure to operate your exhaust system whenever you are free heating, heating, cooling or cooking.

Do not operate equipment without the filters in place, this can cause excessive grease build up in the hood and duct systems.

Cooking with filters removed can affect air movement and temperatures resulting in unwanted fire suppression system activation

Before you make changes to your layout, which may affect the basic configuration of the protected area, contact your authorised ANSUL distributor to give you a system update evaluation.

What should you do if you require maintenance on your systems?

Only a trained and authorised ANSUL distributor should perform maintenance on the system, to ensure that your installation is maintained properly and that there has been no change in hazards

All detectors will be examined as well as expelling gas and agent containers, piping, releasing devices, nozzles, hose assemblies, signals and all non pressurized white chemical containers.

An authorised ANSUL distributor on a semiannual basis should perform the following inspection:

The service technician will check the weight & seal of each cartridge.

He will check agent level and color in each tank.

Metal fusible links must be replaced on a semiannual basis or more frequently if necessary.

Should these links deteriorate they could cause the system to malfunction or actuate accidentally.

The technician will check their release mechanism to ensure that it is not been tampered with and that all functions on the release operate properly

The mechanical bull station will be operated to ensure that it trips the system.

The technician will verify proper operation of the mechanical or electrical gas valve.

The technician will ensure that the distribution piping is properly secured, quick seals are in place and nozzles are correct for the hazard they are protecting

Where inspection reveals defective parts that may cause failure of the system, the affected parts must be replaced or repaired.

The rubber blow off caps are checked for brittleness and are replaced annually
Metal blow off caps or check to be sure that they turn freely on the nozzle and are replaced if there is any damage.

The technician will attach a tag or label verifying the date of the inspection and identify who performed the inspection

It is the responsibility of the owner to maintain the records of the inspections.

Once a year in addition to performing all the steps necessary for semiannual maintenance, your ANSUL distributor will perform the following annual maintenance procedures.

First they will disconnect the agent discharge piping from the storage tank outlets and verify the agent distribution piping is not obstructed

If nozzles show signs of cooking grease migration into the orifice of the nozzle or if there is evidence of agent residue in the nozzle or the inlet to the agent distribution piping, some or all of the piping may be dismantled to verify that the piping is not obstructed.

They will also blow dry air or nitrogen through the agent distribution piping verifying that the dry air or nitrogen is discharging at each nozzle location

Finally they will replace all rubber nozzle blow off caps in

In addition to performing all the steps necessary for semiannual and annual maintenance, the following maintenance procedures will be performed every twelve years

Your distributor technicians will hydrostatic lead test the stainless steel liquid agent tanks and refill them with a fresh charge of low PH liquid fire suppressant.

Each quarter inch gas hose assembly will be hydrostatically tested, the date stamped on the cartridge will be verified, the cartridge must be hydro tested at least every twelve years

If the system contains an agent distribution hose, a hydrostatic test for the hose assembly is performed. The regulator must also be flow tested at least every twelve years.

Complying with maintenance schedules will ensure that your ANSUL fire suppression system will provide reliable fire suppression when it’s called upon.

Of course as an owner it is important that you make sure employees are trained in proper procedures in case of a fire.

Post the operating instructions in a prominent place so that in an emergency your employees will know what to do.

Always make certain that hand portable fire extinguishers are properly placed and compatible with your restaurant system.

Follow common sense and these guidelines in the event of a fire.

What should you do in the event of a kitchen fire?

Evacuate others from the premises.

If automatic actuation has not yet taken place, operate the system manually by pulling the ring straight out from the manual pull station with enough force to actuate the fire suppression system

Call emergency services.

Stand by with a chemical hand portable fire extinguisher.
Do not attempt to extinguish a grease fire with a hand portable fire extinguisher before the fire suppression system has been manually or automatically actuated.

By actuating this system the fuel source to the appliance will shut down.

With proper maintenance and a few simple precautions your ANSUL system will be armed and ready to suppress fire in your restaurant cooking equipment.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact LPG Fire. As authorised ANSUL distributors, we can evaluate your restaurant kitchen and provide advice & solutions to maximise the safety of your staff and customers.