Five Goals To Consider When Upgrading Your Fire Alarm

Imagine this fairly common scenario: Your facility’s fire alarm system has reached the end of its operational life. Constant troubles and service calls for the system are becoming a regular part of your life. Frustration and stress is heightened and the building’s maintenance budget is lowering. If this is the case, it’s probably time to upgrade the system. The first question you need to ask is whether you actually know what those organizational fire protections goals are. If you do not know, now is the time to investigate. If you find that maybe your organization doesn’t have any, then now is definitely the time to create some. The analysis of your organizational fire protection goals will center on the following 5 categories: life safety, property protection, mission continuity, heritage preservation and environmental protection.

  • Life Safety: The main focus surrounding your fire alarm system is providing life safety to the occupants of your building. Early detection is the absolute key to being successful in meeting this goal. Sometimes electronically supervising your fire sprinkler system is enough, while some situations may call for smoke detection, and others may need heat detection.  It is important to discuss your buildings needs with a firefire safety protection engineer to help determine the best methods for detection. Remember, the intent of this life safety goal is to provide early detection and early notification for the occupants of the facility and the responding public fire department. The more capable your system is in accomplishing this, the better. The protection of lives has to be the number one priority for any system upgrade.
  • Property Protection: With a property protection goal, building owners and representatives are seeking to limit the damage to the facility and meet all the insurance company’s requirements. Meeting this goal, property protectionrepresentatives of the building may choose to detect fires of a certain size or rely on the capabilities of an automatic sprinkler system. If the idea is to detect the fire before sprinkler system actuation, then the design of the fire alarm system will require more detection than building code’s minimum requirements for detection. Again, depending on the type of detection and the limits of the size of fire detected, limiting the extent of damage may provide equal benefits for the environment as the life safety design.
  • Mission Continuity: The goal of mission continuity is to retain your organization’s ability to keep business activities intact after a fire. The average building code fire alarm system design will not always meet this goal. The detail of the detection type needed to meet this goal, in a lot of cases, greatly mission continuityexceeds the design used for detection to meet a life safety goal. Fires cause intense and often irreparable amounts of damage. Having the proper types of fire detection gives your building the chance to have a fire stopped in the time necessary to prevent such damage. Not committing to strong mission continuity goal can lead to major costs and significant down time.
  • Heritage Preservation: In some instances an owner/representative could be dealing with a historic building. In these cases, the fire protection required for heritage preservation involves a detailed analysis of what elements inside a facility that need to remain intact following a fire. This will also impact how the installation is completed making sure the new fire alarm system is installed in a way that does not damage the building. Even if your facility does not have any historical significance, your building may have records or documents you will want to protect, often buildings with data centers may use fire suppression systems in order to protect the buildings important data saved on its servers.
  • Environmental Protection: When the goal of environmental protection is primary, the impact a fire could environmental protectionhave on the environment in certain types of facilities trumps other goals. A fire in a paint warehouse could cause an environmental disaster if the water runoff used during firefighting efforts contaminates the water supply. Some buildings were built in an era where the building materials used were found to be poisonous when exposed to fire. Smoke control is a major item to look into and will require meeting with an air handling contractor/engineer to better understand what types of damper, shut downs, and fans are needed to control smoke. A lot of research is required with older buildings when trying to discover what sort of environmental impact could be in play. With such cases, every part of the fire protection design needs to be considered to ensure the fire is contained to the smallest possible area within the facility, and promptly automatically extinguishes the fire.

As it goes with any system in your building, it is always best to avoid the “crisis” type of installs. Without a good plan or the right goals in mind, a last minute install could prove to be quite costly. If someone tells you or you feel it is time to upgrade your system, it is imperative to counsel with a fire protection professional you trust. Navigating through the required codes and meeting the five fire protection goals for your organization (life safety, property protection, mission continuity, heritage preservation and environmental protection) will come easier, and at a better price point with professional help.

If you have more questions about fire alarm or fire protection installations, or want to know more on how to maintain these systems, contact us. We would be happy to discuss your project with you to see how we can help.

ecs Maintenance Programs

ecs has preventative maintenance programs that focus on electrical systemsfire protection services, and arc flash.

Instituting a preventive maintenance program will have a direct, measurable economic benefit for your business, such as the reduced cost of repairs to equipment and less downtime, especially when your company needs it most.

ecs  can also develop a custom maintenance program designed for your specific facilities management needs. Preventive Maintenance is an important part of a Facility Manager’s responsibilities resulting in:

  • Reduced costs of repairs related to breakdowns and unexpected emergency maintenance
  • Minimize equipment downtime so that your systems keep your building up and running.
  • Help reduce insurance premiums through fewer personnel injuries and property loss claims
  • ecs provides peace of mind by providing 24/7 emergency service for your facility to minimize downtime in the event of an incident

Let ecs help you develop a preventative maintenance program to fit your needs. 

Contact us to learn more

Download our White Papers

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Preventative Safety Measures for Arc Flash Hazards

arc flash, electrical services, arc flash dangers An arc flash is a dangerous safety hazard associated with the release of energy caused by an electric arc. An arc flash is an explosion that can cause severe burns, injuries or death depending on the severity. These incidents typically occur in applications above 120 volts and can take place at any time especially when electrical equipment is being inspected or serviced.

Arc flash safety concerns exist when a person is working on or near exposed electric conductors or circuit parts that have not been de-energized and placed in a safe work condition such as lockout tagout.

Safety & Risk Mitigation For Arc Flash Hazards:

  1. An arc flash hazard study should be performed to evaluate accurate labeling of electrical equipment.
  2. To be in compliance with OSHA & NFPA 70E Standard, arc flash labels should be created and placed on all pieces of equipment analyzed as part of an Electrical Safety Program.
  3. Contact ecs to request an Arc Flash quote. We will determine the arc flash boundary detailing the safe distance from equipment and provide arc flash labels as well as a short circuit equipment evaluation to help you evaluate your electrical system. We will also perform an arc flash risk assessment which includes the following elements:
    • Provide an up-front explanation of the requirements of NFPA 70E 2018
    • Survey existing or new electrical systems to collect data necessary to perform a short-circuit analysis, protective device coordination study, and arc flash analysis
    • Develop a plan to correct any repairs, system updates or deficiencies necessary to meet NEC and NFPA guidelines
    • Update building electrical one-line diagrams to depict current system
    • Deliver the completed arc flash risk assessment and install NFPA compliant labels identifying protection levels
    • Optional – Comprehensive three (3) hour training covering OSHA Regulations and NFPA 70E – perfect for anyone working on or near energized electrical equipment

Benefits of an ecs Arc Flash Assessment include:

  • Improved safety for people maintaining your electrical system so they will know the level of risk involved with each piece of equipment
  • Electricians will know what PPE (personal protective equipment) is required to safely work on your system
  • You will have current documentation of your facilities electrical system for future moves, adds and changes

 

Additional Resources

Download our Arc Flash White Paper

Request an Arc Flash Quote

NFPA 70E Training

Download NFPA 70E Training White Paper

Request an NFPA 70E Training Quote

 

 

Advantages of a Preventative Maintenance Program

We understand how important it is to keep your building running safely and efficiently 24/7. An ongoing maintenance program that goes beyond the day-to-day tasks by focusing on predictive and preventive maintenance services make ecs the most efficient service in the industry.

ecs has maintenance programs that focus on electrical systemsfire protection services, and arc flash. We can also develop a custom maintenance program designed for your specific facilities management needs.

ecs recognizes how important it is to keep your facility up and running. Because of this, ecs offers nationwide preventive maintenance services that increase safety, protecting your facility against incidents, lost production time and profits. Some of the services we provide are:

  • Manage, maintain, inspect and service buildings (over 100 million square feet annually)
  • Electrical systems testing and maintenance
  • Fire protection and alarm systems
  • Arc Flash risk assessment

Preventive Maintenance is an important part of a Facility Manager’s responsibilities resulting in:

  • Reduced costs of repairs related to breakdowns and unexpected emergency maintenance
  • Minimize equipment downtime so that your systems keep your building up and running.
  • Help reduce insurance premiums through fewer personnel injuries and property loss claims
  • ecs provides peace of mind by providing 24/7 emergency service for your facility to minimize downtime in the event of an incident

Instituting a preventive maintenance program will have a direct, measurable economic benefit for your business, such as the reduced cost of repairs to equipment and less downtime, especially when your company needs it most.

Let ecs help you develop a preventative maintenance program to fit your needs. 

Contact us to learn more

Download our White Papers

 

  

Tom Wellen Appointed to Project Manager at ecs

Earlier this week, ecs welcomed Tom Wellen as a Project Manager. He will be working with our Fire Team and helping with various projects.

Tom currently resides in Double Oak, Texas and will work directly with facilities in that region and will work with our team remotely. He has 25 years of experience in fire protection and was also a volunteer firefighter and EMT basic.

In his free time, he works on home improvement projects and yard work, as well as attend the gun range when he is able.

Welcome to the team, Tom!

Arc Flash Training – Seth & Kevin

The engineering team is continuously improving processes by cross training all members of the team in various aspects of project work. Throughout this summer, there have been many scheduled training sessions for this group from Arc Flash data collection to applying Arc Flash labels on the equipment.

Kevin Shriver, an ecs field technician, was able to walk through the data collection process with Seth, an engineer, to collect data from equipment on site to calculate an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis.

Parsons’ 17th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Earlier this month, ecs employees participated in Parsons’ 17th Annual Charity Golf Tournament at Oak Marsh Golf Course. The funds raised at this event go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

On site Annual Fire Systems Test Training

In July, Lisa Bohmert joined Andy during parts of the Annual Fire Systems Test. Lisa was able to observe how the testing of smoke and water flow risers show up on the fire panel. She was also able to watch the annual pump house flow test and learn how all the systems tie together. Andy was able to explain how everything works in test mode versus a real life situation.

Additionally he covered information about the differences of wet and dry systems, PIVs, Road Boxes, and how the technicians enter the report information onto an iPad.

Lisa shed some light on her experience, “It was an excellent way to see how the work I do in the office will affect the technicians and end users. I love learning so this made for a great first week!”

Lisa Bohmert appointed Project Coordinator at ecs

Lisa joined us in July as a Project Coordinator for the fire team working on preventative maintenance. She will be coordinating the annual, semi annual and internal pipe inspections while assisting in other tasks as needed.

Lisa has previously worked for an engineering firm for 16 years and also has a few years of Project Coordination under her belt. Lisa offers ecs her skills in communication, organization, and dedication and is committed to supporting our team to the best of her ability.

In her spare time, she enjoys biking, hiking, fishing, and camping.

Welcome to the team, Lisa!

Lucas Rouen appointed Project Coordinator at ecs

ecs welcomes new employee, Lucas Rouen!

Lucas Rouen joined ecs as a Project Coordinator for the electrical team. He will work closely with deficiencies Lucas Rouen, Project Coordinator for ecsand scheduling repairs. In addition, he will also provide support to the other electrical Project Managers and assist them with ongoing projects.

Lucas’ work history began in active service for the Marine Corps and transitioned into the electrical field, working with automation, controls, and robotics. Afterward, he began working in the field for Parsons and has now found his way to ecs.

Based on his prior experiences and work history, he has strong work ethic, leadership skills, and the ability to learn at a fast pace. In his free time, he enjoys playing hockey, golfing, disc golfing, and fishing.

Welcome to the team, Lucas!