That Time Our Fire Sprinkler Saved Someone's Life.

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On October 24, F.E. Moran Fire Protection got to see their fire protection in action, and it saved someone's life.

Brian Gale, a Superintendent for the Morton office had recently changed the dry pendants at an assisted living facility in Peoria, IL.  The facility had ten year testing and inspections done and failed.  To get the system working, they needed to change out the dry pendants.

Electrical work was being done at the facility after the replacement.  New electrical panels were being installed.  Once installed, they turned on the panel and it blew up and started a fire.

The electrician who turned on the panel was trapped.

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He was caught in a small electrical room with no way out.  He began to pray.

When he looked up, he saw a fire sprinkler head.  He told himself, "If this doesn't go off, I will be dead."  Less than a minute later, it activated.

The sprinkler head went off and the fire was extinguished.  The electrician got out of the room unharmed.

The F.E. Moran Fire Protection fitter showed up a short time later and the electrician thanked him.

Brian Gale said, "It is rare for us to actually hear about the systems that we physically have worked on putting out fires and saving a life.  We hear it on the news occasionally, but I thought this was great."

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VIDEO: Indiana Plant's Deluge Fire Sprinkler Test

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F.E. Moran Fire Protection Northern Illinois completed a deluge fire sprinkler system and the mechanical, alarm, and detection design on a Hammond, IN plant.

Hey, Property Managers - join this NFSA Seminar on Fire Sprinkler Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance

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NFSA's Illinois Chapter and Illinois Fire Inspectors Association is inviting AHJ's Code Officials, NFSA Contractors, and Property Managers to a FREE seminar.

Inspection, Testing, & Maintenance for Building Owners & Managers

Speaker:  Ron Ritchey, NFSA

The seminar will take place on Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 8am to noon at Medinah Banquets.

Did you know?

  • The building owner is the single most important individual in the inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems.
  • NFPA 25, Standard of Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of water-based fire protection systems contains numerous detailed requirements that are the responsibility of the building owner, yet many building owners are not familiar with these requirements or with the fire sprinkler system in their building.
  • This half-day seminar will provide an overview to fire sprinkler systems and the owner's requirements and limits when it comes to inspection, testing, and maintenance.
  • The seminar will help building owners/managers better understand your local inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) requirements for their fire sprinkler systems.

Interested?  Register by emailing Tinucci@nfsa.org 

Read more about Fire Sprinkler Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance

Three Moran Companies Join Forces on Tenant Buildout

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F.E. Moran (HVAC), F.E. Moran Fire Protection, and F.E. Moran Plumbing have been hired as a team to support the build out of Constellation Brands on Dearborn in Chicago, IL.  

The building is 150,000 square feet.  F.E. Moran will be building out the HVAC, F.E. Moran Fire Protection will be building out the fire sprinklers, and the plumbing department will build out the plumbing on five floors.

How did our HVAC, fire protection, and plumbing divisions get the opportunity to work together again?

Communication is a priority, even before they get the project.

When a project gets on the radar of the Moran Group, they begin communicating immediately.  They begin to discuss if a GC or owner would benefit from a partnership.  

Is this a project that makes sense to partner on? 

How can our partnership positively impact the GC or owner?

Will our partnership make job site coordination easier?

Why did the GC decide to hire the HVAC, fire protection, and plumbing divisions of The Moran Group?

The Moran Group companies begin communicating and coordinating before they even involve the GC.  It takes work off of the GCs plate.  When else can a GC get contractors who are going to pre-communicate and help each other out?  Moran Group companies want each other to succeed, so they work together to make that happen.

Why do Moran Group companies enjoy working together?

Gavin Hansen, Vice President of F.E. Moran Fire Protection Northern Illinois said, "We know each other.  We're a team.  Our focus onsite is to work together to ensure the job flows more efficiently for the GC.  Our goal is to make all divisions succeed."

 

Learn more about Chicago construction projects...

Fire Sprinklers are the Key to Safety in Apartments & Condos

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When it comes to apartment and condo living, there are a lot of things to consider. The pros and cons can be long lists, depending on what a person likes and what might bother them. But one of the biggest issues that some people overlook when deciding whether to live in a condo or an apartment is safety. A large part of that safety is the potential risk of fire, because getting out of a large complex is far different than fleeing a burning home. That's why sprinkler systems are such valuable keys to safety for anyone who lives in a condo or an apartment building.

What Do Fire Sprinklers Offer?

A fire sprinkler system can offer people who live in apartments or condos, whether they rent or buy, two very important things: Increased safety in the case of a fire, and peace of mind.

But not all complexes have fire protection at this level. When there are small apartment buildings that only have a few units, fire suppression through a sprinkler system may not technically be required. Older buildings may also be “grandfathered in,” and not required to have these systems installed. Current code in most locations calls for fire sprinkler systems on larger, newer apartments and condos, though—and it's a good standard to have when looking for places to live, regardless of a place's age.

It depends on the size of the building, its age, and the state, city, or county codes where that building is being constructed. While not always required, though, fire sprinkler systems can definitely make a big difference when it comes to how well a building and its occupants survive a fire. These systems can also go a long way toward protecting people's belongings and lowering insurance rates for the buildings' owners as well.

How Do These Systems Work?

Fire sprinkler systems are installed in the ceilings of buildings, and the sprinkler heads protrude through the ceiling a few inches. They are out of the way and unobtrusive, but they are also strategically placed where they will do the most good and provide the most coverage during a fire. This is to help save lives, but also in an effort to save the building if a fire should break out. Most of these systems are set up to detect heat, so the sprinklers automatically go off if they are triggered.

This can be a problem if the sprinkler heads or other sensitive equipment is not placed correctly, because too much heat from a stove or other appliance could potentially trigger a fire alarm. That's something that engineers and installers work to avoid when they put a fire sprinkler system into a building. It helps reduce the chances that there will be false alarms that can cause a lot of water damage even when there was no fire to put out.

What to Look for Before Signing the Lease or Buying a Unit

When moving into an apartment or condo, potential renters or owners should look to see if there are fire sprinkler systems in place. Asking about these systems is also important, because some are more obvious than others. Additionally, some buildings may have fire suppression in place in common areas but not in individual units, and some may have a mix of older and newer buildings in the complex. It's important to ask about this issue, because there is a difference between having adequate fire sprinklers and only having the bare minimum needed, or none at all in the case of a smaller or older building.

Not Real. ⇩ ⇩ ⇩

Among the best things that buyers and renters alike can do is to work with a good real estate agent when they are looking for a new place to live. This can help them find the apartment or condo they really want and need, and can also keep them more mindful about any issues that are going to be important to their safety, such as fire sprinkler systems (or a lack thereof) in each place they view.

Gary Ashton is the CEO and owner of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage. His real estate team is #1 in Tennessee, Nashville and now #4 in the world.

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The Story Behind Fire Prevention Week | October 8-14, 2017

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NFPA has been sponsoring Fire Prevention Week since 1922, when it began.  Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health observance.

The first National Fire Prevention Week was October 4-10, 1925, proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge.  This proclamation began a tradition of the president of the United States signing this proclamation each year to recognize the occasion.

It is recognized each year in memory of the Great Chicago Fire, which began October 8, 1871.  This fire killed 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed 17,400 structures.

Let's take a look at the cow that started it all.

Fire investigators determined that the fire did start near Mrs. Catherine O'Leary's barn at 137 Dekoven Street on the southwest side of Chicago.  However, Chicago historian Robert Crombie has helped debunk the rumor that the cow started it.

The legend of Mrs. O'Leary's cow started for a reason.  The Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Ahern published a report that the fire started when a cow kicked a lantern over while being milked.  Ahern didn't name Mrs. O'Leary, but soon it was determined that she was the person in the story.

In 1893, Ahern admitted to making the whole story up, but the story lives on.

Read more about the story behind fire prevention week here.

Check out F.E. Moran Fire Protection's Fire Facts Video

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4-Alarm Warehouse Fire in Baltimore

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Baltimore, Maryland -- On Monday, Baltimore fire crews fought a 4-alarm fire at a warehouse.  

The fire started Monday morning, and covered Baltimore in a plume of smoke.  Firefighters were on the scene overnight.

The call on the fire came in at 6:45am, and 118 firefighters went to the scene with 36 pieces of apparatus.  The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Baltimore Fire Department.  No injuries were reported.

 

The warehouse is 94,000 square feet and owned by a secondhand textile company called Whitehouse and Schapiro LLC.  The warehouse contained toys, clothing, and packing supplies.

The company president, William Schapiro said, "The damage looks extensive and we won't know full extent of it until tomorrow.  Our concerns right now are for our employees...suppliers and customers worldwide.  Finding alternate ways to process our merchandise during the rebuilding of our plant."

Parts of the warehouse roof and wall collapsed.

"This is a very labor intensive situation we have right now," said Roman Clark, spokesman for Baltimore Fire Department.

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5 Blogs to Keep Property Managers at the Top of Their Game

5 Blogs to Keep Property Managers at the Top of Their Game

Property managers are tasked with taking care of an enormous range of responsibilities.  You need to be people-oriented, taking care of your residents.  You need to stay on top of regulations.  You need to be superbly organized, ensuring that units are in move-in condition and maintenance personnel are readily available in case a unit needs fixed.  In short, property managers have a lot of pressure to be on top of a wide range of subjects.  I have compiled a list of the best property manager blogs around.

1.     Appfolio Blog 

Appfolio posts blogs a few times a week on topics such as, leasing processes, renovations, networking events for property managers, growing your team, and much much more.  The topics are timely and relevant.  I, personally, have managed my own properties before, and I found this blog bingeable. 

 

2.     Multifamily Insiders

This blog is in the form of a community forum.  Owners, property managers, and investors share their experiences, advice, and tips for renting a multi-unit property.  They share underserved markets, marketing, and controversies in the market.
 

3.     All Property Management

This blog, updated weekly, has some interesting articles that will get you thinking.  Recent blog posts were on the topics of what to do if you suspect a tenant is dealing drugs, what to do if your tenant goes to jail, and screening factors that SHOULD outweigh the credit score.
 

4.     Property Management Insider 
 

PMI gives great advice on branding your property community, renting to the aging community, technology in property management, and more.  The topics are extremely useful with original topics (such as how an apartment added $2500 a week in revenue by adding a vending machine).
 

5.     Let’s Talk Property Management 

Let’s Talk is geared toward both landlords and property managers.  This site has hundreds of articles on a variety of hot topics in property management – whether it be how to prep for a fall rental, how to attract long-term renters, or educating renters.

Property management can be a tough job.  You are dealing with regulations, the human-touch with landlords and tenants, and property maintenance.  However, these blogs can help you along in the ever-changing landscape of property management.

F.E. Moran provides HVAC for multi-unit and high-rise construction, F.E. Moran Mechanical Services provides HVAC maintenance for multi-unit and high-rise properties, and F.E. Moran Fire Protection Northern Illinois provides fire protection installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance for multi-unit and high-rise properties.

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Hospital Fires: What are the hazards?

hospital fires

In 1929, a Cleveland clinic fire killed 120 people when they ignored NFPA recommendations for storing their x-ray film (made of nitrocellulose).  Several tons were stored in the basement, a few feet away from a heat source.  When nitrocellulose reaches 300 degrees, it turns into an explosive gas.  The heat source caught the film on fire and toxic, explosive gas spread through the floorboards, causing explosions throughout the hospital.

Since 1929, fire and building code has changed a lot in hospitals.  In 1980-1984, data shows that an average of 7,100 hospital fire happened annually with 5 deaths per year.  In the study for 2006-2010, fires in hospitals went down to 1,400 with an average of 1 death per year.

The main reason fires reduced in hospitals so much during this time was smoking being banned from hospitals.  When that ban took effect, fires caused by smoking materials in hospitals went from 35% to 7%. 

Currently, the top causes of fires in hospitals are

·      Electrical Equipment

Hospitals have a lot of electrical equipment, and often have overworked sockets and cables.  They sometimes use extension cords and daisy chain them together, which is a violation.

·      Kitchen Facilities

Fires in kitchen facilities are common because of cooking fats, electrical ovens, toasters and open flames.

·      Cigarette Smoke

While cigarettes are banned in healthcare facilities now, people still sneak them or, while smoking outdoors, don’t properly dispose of them. 

·      Specialized Medical Equipment

Lasers and electrosurgical tools are an ignition hazard, especially near oxygen tanks, surgical clothing, and flammable sterilizing liquids.

A study done on fire code violations in hospitals showed that the top fire safety violations were

·      Extension Cord Daisy Chains

Because of the need to have equipment plugged in, hospitals will use extension cords and daisy chain them together, which is a violation and can cause them to become overheated, sparking a fire.

·      Fire Door Compliance

The Fire Marshal who collected data of the most violations in hospitals said that many fire doors were not closing or latching correctly.  They also had holes in them, which would cause them to no longer be fire proof.

·      Fire Exit Obstructions

Carts, wheel chairs, and medical equipment were found blocking fire exit doors.

 

·      Hand Sanitizers

Alcohol based hand rubs are all over hospitals.  However, they are flammable and need to have a 6-foot breadth between the sanitation station and any ignition sources.

 

·      Gas Cylinders and Medical Oxygen Compliance

Gas cylinders and medical oxygen need to be properly stored and secured.

 

·      Portable Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers were missing, obstructed, improperly mounted, previously discharged, past due inspection, improperly signed, or not enough were in the hospital.

From 2009-2013, only 4% of fires went beyond the point of origin thanks to the increase in fire sprinklers.  Today, 79% of hospitals are protected by fire sprinklers and it has greatly reduced the spread of fires and fire-related death in hospitals.

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Trench Safety - Is trench safety being ignored in construction?

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Kansas City -- Last year, D.J. Meyer died in a trench accident while working for a plumbing company.  That company received $700,000 in fines from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA claims that the company seriously and willfully neglected the trench safety rules.  

Jordan Barab, the former deputy assistant secretary of labor for OSHA said this is, "sad and infuriating.  He continued, "Being put in a position to choose between your jobs and your life is not a position anyone should be in."

 

The White House has not appointed a permanent leader for OSHA and this has caused some issues for the department.  OSHA's rule making agenda has been cut in half by the current administration.  On top of these issues, the administration also cut the budget for OSHA.  OSHA is at a point where they are considering rolling back regulations because they don't have the budget to implement them.

What can companies do to keep their workers safe in trenches?

OSHA requires that all trenches have a means to prevent cave-ins by 

  • Sloping or benching - forming an incline on the sides of an excavation.
  • Shoring - Using site built structures made with timbers, planks, or plywood to support the sides of an excavation.
  • Shielding - Using trench boxes or trench shields to prevent the walls from collapsing.

Read more of the trench safety regulations here.

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Infographic: The Ultimate Fire Safety Guide for Young Families

family fire safety

Every twenty-five seconds, a fire department responds to a fire.  That is especially scary when you have children that live in your property.  In fact, 60,000 children die in fire and fire-related events each year.

To keep children safe in your property, make sure all smoke alarms in the complex are working.  In addition, having a clear fire plan is important.  Have the plan posted at all exits.

Residents in apartment buildings can help keep their building safe from fire by always being present when the oven/stove is in use, burning candles safety, professionally repairing appliances with electrical issues, and not smoking in the residence.

See more safety fits in this infographic by Contractor Quotes.

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Honolulu Postpones Actions to Require Fire Sprinklers

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Honolulu -- The Honolulu City Council has postponed needed actions to move a bill forward that would require fire sprinklers in older high-rise buildings.  Recently, a 36-story high-rise fire killed three people in Honolulu.  The high-rise did not have fire sprinklers.

Council members made the decision to wait for more information from the Honolulu Fire Department before making a decision.  They did, however, hear from apartment owners on fixed budgets who said they would rather live with the risks than pay to retrofit fire sprinklers.

Councilwoman Kymberly Marcos Pine is concerned about the homeless population and the possibility that it could increase if homeowners can't afford to retrofit.  "My concern is we have some of the highest homeless population per capita, and it's never a good thing if we have a government mandate on people.  So how can we solve this problem that we all agree needs to be solved without hurting people?"

Right now, Honolulu has a law that fire sprinklers need to be installed in all buildings built after 1975.  To approve the bill that would add fire sprinklers to newer builds, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to find a way to make fire sprinklers more affordable to low-income homeowners.

Read more about this at U.S. News.

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Is it time for a career change? Learn about the fire protection design career path.

fire protection design

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fire protection designer?  F.E. Moran Fire Protection has a design training program to learn how to be a fire protection designer from the best of the best. 

I interviewed Cordell Beache and Wayne Conrad, our main fire protection designer trainers.

 

1.      You two are both fire protection design trainers.  What is your favorite part about being a trainer?

Cordell Beache (CB):  I derive a great deal of pleasure seeing someone progress from not knowing anything about fire protection, to developing into a legitimate designer.

Wayne Conrad (WC):  I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned, and seeing designers apply what they’ve been taught.

2.     In your experience, what qualities do great fire protection designers have?

CB:  A good mechanical aptitude is essential and a strong desire to learn.  The ability to communicate well. The fire protection industry does not get as much recognition as most other mechanical professions. There are opportunities to learn the required skills through online or in classroom courses. However it is incumbent that someone new to this business be motivated to seek any opportunity available to master their skills.

WC:  A very detail-oriented individual with good communication and multi-tasking skills who takes ownership of his projects, and produces code-compliant shop drawings on time, consistent with best practices of their office and installation teams, while managing design and material budgets….. Drawings fully coordinated with building components and fully coordinated with the other MEP trades….. Thorough stocklisting and planning so all materials arrive at the jobsite at the optimum time to allow the fitters to perform at a high-level, with results being minimal / no rework in the field.

3.     In the last class you taught, what background did your students have?

CB:  I have a trainee who has a graphic design background and who has very good computer skills. His progress is moving forward at a very good pace. One of my other trainees came from the carpentry trade, this is his second career. He is very familiar with working in a construction environment and understands how to work with other trades.

WC:  The last class (Standpipe Design with Calculations…..9 students) had a fairly wide range of experience in fire protection.

 

4.     If you could tell someone who was interested in going into design one thing they should learn today, what would it be?

CB:  AutoCAD with an emphasis on BIM. The fire protection industry seems to be late adapting to new technology. We were the last trade to embrace AutoCAD and we seem to be the last with BIM also. 3D design is the future of the construction industry and we need to be focused on hiring people with those skill sets.

WC:  I typically describe Fire Protection Design as a great career for those individuals who are detail-oriented, and like the challenges of problem-solving and time management, while working in a team environment. They must be willing to apply themselves in a significant manner toward learning a very challenging business as there is a significant learning curve.

Wayne Conrad started his fire protection career in 1976 at F.E. Moran.  I attained his NICET Level 4 Certification in 1989.  He now has 41 years of fire protection design experience and enjoys using his experience to benefit his students.

Cordell Beache began his career in London in 1973.  He has since continued to grow his fire protection design experience, and has been designing and training at F.E. Moran Fire Protection National since 2016.  He uses his extensive experience to help trainees grow their fire protection design knowledge base.

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Fires in History: Binghamton Clothing Company

Binghampton Fire

 

The Scene

On July 22, 1913, the 110-125 women working in the Binghamton Clothing Company, a former cigar company in Bingham, NY, were sweating through their clothes.  It was a hot day, and windows were propped open throughout the factory.  The cross-breeze was making the unbearable heat a little more livable. 

Lunch time came and went, and it kept getting hotter in the factory.  Young women were sneaking into the breezy stairwell for a smoke and some reprieve from the heat.  It just kept getting hotter.  Around 1pm, a worker noticed it was much hotter inside than outside.  An hour later, she noticed smoke rising up from the stairwell.

The Fire

At lunch, an employee was smoking in the stairwell, and dropped it down to the second floor landing.  The landing was full of flammable, plush material.  The fuel, along with the ventilation from the windows, and the ignition source (the cigarette) caused a massive fire that spread quickly.

At 2:30pm, Reed Freeman, the owner of the building, raised the alarm and began pouring buckets of water on the fire.  However, most of the women sat.  They didn’t move from their machines.  Why?  The fire drills the women had been doing used a gradual alarm that changed for every stage of the fire drill, but this alarm was continuous.  Because it wasn’t recognizable, it went ignored by many.

Nellie Connor, who was known as the “mother” of the workers, helped guide women out of the building.  She worked for the company for 31 years.  She went back in to help more, but the building collapsed within 20 minutes of the alarm sounding.

Sidney Dimmock, a 15-year foreman at the company, carried two women out of the building and went in for more.  He was also inside the building when it collapsed.

Fire crews in Bingham were at another fire when they got the call for the factory fire.  By the time they arrived, the fire was out of control.  They couldn’t enter the building or attempt rescue.  They attempted to keep the fire away from the other buildings, but the water pressure was too low due to drought.

By 4pm, the property was destroyed and thirty-one women died.

 

The Aftermath

After the fire, witnesses took the stand to determine who was at fault for the tragedy.  The owner said that materials were always picked up and put away at night.  By code, flammable waste needed to be put in fireproof receptacles and removed 2+ times a day.  However, a witness said that flammable materials, cuttings, and rubbish were all over the floor.

The staircase was not fireproof and acted like a chimney, shooting smoke and fire into the air.  At the time of the fire, the State Factory Investigating Commission drafted a bill to make staircases fireproof, but it hadn’t been voted on yet.

This fire in combination with other major fires of the time led to three code changes in Building Exit Code (NFPA 101-T) 1927.

1.     Changes in construction for stairways and fire escapes.

2.     Code for fire drills in various occupancies.

3.     Construction and arrangements for exits in factories.

The reports were adopted by NFPA and published as “Outside Stairs for Fire Exits” in 1916 and “Safeguarding Factory Workers from Fire” in 1918.

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3 Things to Do This Month to Improve Your Fire Protection System

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Not too long ago, we had to take care of a completely preventable emergency.  What could have been the cost of a $5 door sweep cost $50,000.

The building was designed to have the fire pump room next to the drive through that went to resident parking.  The fire sprinkler contractor basically said, bad idea.  However, the builder moved forward with his plan.  He placed a door in the fire pump room that went to this outdoor area.  The door had a 1 inch gap. 

Can you see where I’m going with this?

One day, there was an unexpected cold spell.  The heat wasn’t on.  The fire pump room was set off, away from the rest of the building.  No one was aware of a problem until water started leaking through the door.

The cold air was coming in through the 1 inch gap in the door.  Everything froze.  All of the pipe in the fire pump room.  The 6 inch pipe was frozen solid.  The control valve could not be closed until the pipe thawed, so the water just kept flowing.

In the end, the backflow, fire pump, dry valve, and everything else needed to be replaced.

Not wanting to spend $5 or listen to the fire protection contractor led to a $50,000 bill.

 

What are 3 things you can do this month to protect your fire protection system?

1)     Inspect your gauges, control valves, dry pipe valves, and exterior pre-action valves. 

Valves must be accessible, open and close properly, be free of leaks and damage, and labeled.  Gauges need to be inspected to ensure they’re in good condition and that water pressure is maintained.

2)     Test electric motor-driven fire pumps.

Complete a 10 minute run & flow test.

3)     Inspect your pump systems

Inspect fire pumps to ensure they are working properly.

 

Check out a more detailed description of inspection needs at Hanover Insurance.

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From Firefighter to VP, Meet Gavin Hansen

F.E. Moran Fire Protection

We’re continuing our series The Faces of F.E. Moran.  This week, you’re meeting Gavin Hansen, the Vice President of F.E. Moran Fire Protection.

Q:  How did you hear about F.E. Moran Fire Protection and end up working here?

A: Through a mutual friend, they thought I’d be a great fit with my background as a Firefighter.

Q:  You were a firefighter not too long ago.  Can you tell our readers about your experience with that?  Any good stories?

 

A: I was a Firefighter for 10 years, started at the age of 17. I loved it, it’s a brotherhood. Through the years I grew a deeper passion for the fire protection industry. I carry a great deal of pride and ownership from that experience. Which has carried over to my career at FE Moran. I have a bunch of stories, the first one that comes to mind was my first fire.  It was the dead of winter, we had a basement fire that spread through the house. Onsite the entire house was engulfed, after we were able to get the fire under control, we entered into the basement (which was safe to enter), to attack the seed of the fire. With the nozzle in hand standing in four feet of water, we advanced and were able to put a knock in it. Your adrenaline is going so fast you don’t even think twice about entering.  Weather becomes a non-factor.  You go in and do your best to save life and property.

Q:  What is your favorite part of your job?

A: Working with the team, solving problems. The industry that we work in is extremely fast pace and I love it.

Q:  What is your leadership philosophy?

A: Lead by example, set the tone. Opportunities present themselves every day, take ownership and pursue them!

Q:  What is something you can tell our readers about yourself that might surprise them?

A: As of this month, I’ll be turning 30 years old. In ten years I’ve held multiple positions, each of them being an opportunity.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Gavin.  See our video below to get to know him a little better.

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VIP Program Case Study

shopping mall maintenance contract

A struggling American economy forced businesses into a less than desired approach to fire protection inspections, potentially putting the safety of themselves and the public at risk. F.E. Moran, Inc. Fire Protection liberated these malls and shopping centers from their reluctant inaction toward fire protection solution maintenance with the Very Important Partners (VIP) program.

The Great Recession

According to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, the Great Recession began in December, 2007. Since then, many malls found it infeasible to maintain their fire sprinkler inspection schedule. One mall, located in Chicago Ridge, IL was among the malls striving to continue their proper fire sprinkler inspection schedule. Since 1981, this mall has been providing a home for over 120 retailers in the Midwest. While malls and shopping centers throughout Illinois were faced with diminishing fire protection budgets, this retailer hub chose to partner with F.E. Moran Fire Protection for an innovative solution.

Mall Fire Protection Budgets Slashed

Beginning in 2008, shoppers were disappearing. The once bustling malls of America were now sparse. Malls and shopping centers were cash strapped. This caused a snowball effect; proper fire protection inspection schedules were no longer feasible. Proper quarterly inspections became once every six months or even once every year. Issues found during the rare inspections were improperly remedied instead of rehabilitated by a professional.

Ignoring or patching a fire sprinkler issue can lead to failure. In June, 2012, a Napa Valley shopping center went up in flames, destroying six businesses. The fire began in a restaurant without working fire sprinklers. It was noted that no businesses within the shopping center had working fire protection equipment at the time of the fire. If this building had fire suppression equipment and fire walls to prevent the fire from spreading business to business, this tragedy would not have happened.

Another issue malls and shopping centers were facing was a bombardment of contractors. When it came time for a mall or shopping center to build out or replace their fire protection system, they were confronted by 5-10 sprinkler contractors who were unfamiliar with the facility. In the event of a build out, the still cash-poor malls would choose the lowest bid general contractor. In turn, the general contractor would choose the lowest bid sprinkler contractor, whether they were qualified or not.

 

F.E. Moran Fire Protection's VIP Facilities

In 2009, F.E. Moran Fire Protection found the solution: The Very Important Partners (VIP) program. The VIP program offers free inspections; ensuring malls and shopping centers are code compliant. In exchange for free inspections, malls and shopping centers utilize F.E. Moran Fire Protection as their required fire sprinkler contractor.

One of the first malls to take advantage of this innovative solution was a Chicago Ridge, IL mall. They experienced enormous benefits from the VIP program. Not only were they guaranteed timely sprinkler and fire pump inspections, they no longer had to concern themselves with numerous sprinkler contractors. Without knowledge of the fire sprinkler contractors' expertise or reputation, facilities only had price to determine their course of action. With the VIP program, general contractors no longer need to wade through quotes, and malls and shopping centers have the peace of mind knowing that their sprinkler contractor has in-depth knowledge of their facility and are invested in ensuring superior fire protection systems.

Satisfied Facilities and General Contractors

The VIP Program has now been in effect for three years and has a 100% rate of contract renewal from malls and shopping centers. Facilities have seen the benefits of having a relationship with F.E. Moran Fire Protection; they know that they have one, trustworthy fire sprinkler company to work with. Through the inspection process, F.E. Moran Fire Protection becomes an expert on the individual site's standards, and relationships are built with the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Facilities save an average of $10,000 a year on inspections. Additionally, general contractors appreciate that they no longer need to analyze 5-10 bids for fire sprinkler contractors; now they have one fire protection contractor who is invested in the facility. F.E. Moran Fire Protection's personal investment in their VIP program facilities provides assurance to the general contractor that they will have a seamless working experience.

F.E. Moran Fire Protection has been providing fire protection services to the retail, residential, commercial, manufacturing, storage occupancy, education, and healthcare facility markets since 1970. With over forty years of experience, F.E. Moran Fire Protection has the expertise to provide paramount fire protection and customer service.

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Bethany Terrace Case Study

assisted living fire protection

Written By:  Sarah Block, Director of Marketing & Education

When an existing long-term care facility needed to complete their partial fire sprinkler system in an occupied facility, F.E. Moran Fire Protection and Michuda Construction worked together to solve the issues that naturally arise when working in existing, occupied spaces.

Holistic Care for Patients with Special Needs

As a holistic, long term care facility in Morton Grove, IL, Bethany Terrace has a unique population of occupants that may complicate construction projects within the facility. Bethany Terrace caters to Alzheimer Disease and Dementia patients as well as residents who appreciate the peace of mind of having medical, rehabilitation, and therapy options close at hand. This facility is ideal for those who need assistance in day to day life. However, because of the needs of the residents, construction must be coordinated carefully in order to have little to no impact on the occupants.

When Bethany Terrace decided to expand their fire protection system, they hired Michuda Construction to head the project. In turn, Michuda Construction hired F.E. Moran Fire Protection to design, install, and manage the fire protection project. With a reputation for quality work and respect for assisted living facility residents, F.E. Moran Fire Protection exceeded their expectations.

Complications Spurred from Existing Site

 

With a facility that houses patients that may either be immobile or have cognitive deficiencies, coordinating a fire protection project can be complicated. Because Bethany Terrance is an existing, running site, the installation needed to work with both the already existing fire sprinkler infrastructure and the resident's schedule and occupancies.

The first challenge began with the design of the fire protection system. Bethany Terrace was already partially protected with fire sprinklers, so F.E. Moran Fire Protection needed to work with the existing sprinkler system in order to make the property a 100% sprinklered facility. In order to merge the old and the new system, the original system, risers, and fire department connection needed to be re-worked to accommodate the new system. While the design was being created, it was discovered that the area above the ceiling had limited space with the I-beam construction.

Another challenge began in the coordination of the installation phase. The majority of the space that needed to be sprinklered was occupied by residents. In order to limit the impact on residents, F.E. Moran Fire Protection needed to strategically schedule installation and store equipment.

Working Together to Solve Coordination and Design Issues

With the help of Michuda Construction and Bethany Terrace, F.E. Moran Fire Protection re-routed the piping and minimized, and, in many cases, eliminated, the need to install soffits to conceal the piping. F.E. Moran Fire Protection was hired as a design-build contractor, so they were able to complete hydraulic calculations to minimize the pipe sizes in order to fit the small above ceiling space.

In order to accommodate the occupied areas during construction, F.E. Moran Fire Protection modified the phasing schedule to work with the patients' schedules. They worked closely with Bethany Terrace to create a schedule that would not impact the residents' daily activities and limited the duration of the project. With the combined efforts of F.E. Moran Fire Protection's office, design, and field staff, Michuda Construction's Superintendent, and Bethany Terrace personnel, the fire sprinkler installation schedule was able to be adjusted without extending the project.

Through the challenges of installing in an existing site with limited above ceiling space and working in an occupied facility, F.E. Moran Fire Protection, Michuda Construction, and Bethany Terrace were able to work together to install a fire sprinkler system on time and without impacting the special occupants residing within Bethany Terrace. Project Manager Pat Horan stated, "I thought the working relationship was very good and the owner was happy with our work." Ryan Johnson of Michuda Construction added, "The entire team worked together to provide a positive product in a timely manner."

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Highland Park Parking Garage Case Study

parking garage fire protection

When a Highland Park parking garage closed due to fire protection needs and neighborhood shop sales declined, F.E. Moran Fire Protection had ten days to complete the massive project to allow the parking garage to re-open and help the struggling shopping district regain its revenue.

 

Parking Garage Closure Snowballs to Falling Sales

 

A parking garage in Highland Park, IL, 23 miles outside of Chicago, was the only parking lot for several businesses in the main shopping district in town. With the parking garage out of commission, local businesses saw a 50% drop in business. With business struggling and the city losing revenue, time was of the essence.

Tom Dennis received a call from the director of facilities at 9am on a Thursday, and by 2pm, he was at the parking garage performing a job walk. Because of the financial strain the closed parking garage was causing, the project needed to get started immediately and the bid was due the next day by 4pm. F.E. Moran Fire Protection was awarded the job at 3pm on Saturday and by Sunday at 7am, demolition began.

The project involved removing and re-installing four complete dry sprinkler systems in the large 2-story parking garage. This involved approximately 1,500 sprinklers and all associated piping. In order to get the downtown district's business quickly back in line, the timeline was extremely tight. The entire project needed to be completed within ten days. 

 

Project Completion Pipe Dream

 

In order to meet the ten day deadline, the F.E. Moran Fire Protection crew had to work around the clock, and procure a large amount of materials quickly. Mr. Dennis and his team scoured the Midwest and all available suppliers, searching for materials. Galvanized pipes and fittings were lacking in the Midwest, making the ten day deadline seem like a pipe dream.

 

 


Problem Resolved with Teamwork

 

By utilizing all suppliers to support this project, F.E. Moran Fire Protection was able to complete the project within the ten day timeline. After exhausting all Midwest resources, the galvanized pipes and fittings were finally acquired. All factions of the company - starting with the service department and supported by the in-house fabrication shop, design team, and field management - pulled together to make this project a success. 

At the end of this project, the city of Highland Park got their parking garage back, enabling the local businesses to regain their sales. The project finalized within the ten day timeline and under budget.

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Boys and Girls Club Case Study

Boys & Girls Club fire protection

Written By:  Sarah Block, Director of Marketing & Education

The John Will Anderson Boys and Girls Club chose to fulfill a need for the youth of Gary, IN by providing a program of mentorship to guide children into becoming productive, well-rounded adults. The Boys and Girls Club overcame budget constraints and designing hurtles with the help of charitable contractors and opened their doors at the start of 2014.

Northwest Indiana's Boys and Girls Club

In Northwest Indiana, there is a place where kids can go to keep their noses clean and develop honest character. That place is the John Will Anderson Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana. With programs centered on leadership, education, career, health and life skills, arts, and athletic development, the Boys and Girls Club provides a healthy environment for local kids. The Boys and Girls Club recognized a need for their program in Gary, IN and bought the building of a former high school to see that dream fulfilled. With the help of contractors who worked to stay within their tight budget, the club was able to open their doors at the start of 2014.

A Tightened Budget Brings out the Best in Contractors

The Boys and Girls Club had a challenging budget of $6 million to start, provided by the Community Block Grant Fund, a City of Gary grant. However, it was trimmed to $5.3 million after the initial planning stage had been completed, causing a huge challenge. They needed to scale back the scope and work with contractors to stay within budget.

Another challenge, from F.E. Moran Fire Protection's point of view, was that no drawings existed of the school that was being converted. They had no way of knowing where existing mechanical systems were located in the ceiling. The drawings and design had to be completed by field surveys as the GC was removing the ceiling.

Additionally, to keep with code, fire sprinklers needed to pass through unheated areas of the building. If they didn't resolve the heat issue, they would risk severely damaging the building if a fire sprinkler froze and burst.

Creative Solutions for Budget Shortfalls

To accommodate the Boys and Girls Club's new budget, F.E. Moran Fire Protection provided Value Engineering suggestions to cut costs in materials and labor. Additionally, even though there was a nine month gap between bid and project start, all contractors honored their original quote, adhering to their new budget.

In order to resolve the issue with unheated spaces that needed wet-pipe fire sprinklers, F.E. Moran Fire Protection brought in an insulation contractor to wrap the piping and keep it above 40 degrees.

"The project was a great success story due to the collaborative efforts by all contractors, community members, staff, and the visionaries that made this project a reality," said Dion Katsouros, project manager at The Skillman Corporation.

With the help of contractors who wanted to give back to the community, the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana were able to build their club house and provide a much needed service for area youth. In January, they opened their door to the children of Indiana, providing a future generation the needed skills to succeed.

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