Friday, October 30, 2015

Fike Presents FAAST

Fike's FAAST Detector featuring the latest in fire alarm air aspiration sensing technology, provides very early warning fire detection.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Different Types of Fire Alarm Systems For Your Business

There are many different fire alarm systems to choose from when it comes to protecting your business and valuable assets in the event of a fire. Not all are created equal and depending on the nature of your business there are many considerations when choosing a system that is right for you.

For most office buildings, the standard fire alarm system is adequate protection in the event of a fire and usually involves a centrally located panel that controls the system. Utilizing sprinklers to put out the fire, the sprinklers are activated when a fire is detected through the use of a smoke or heat detector. Since most smaller office buildings don't use chemicals to suffocate or smother the fire, this is usually the least expensive and cost effective solution.

For larger companies with varied work environments, the fire alarm system must be more sophisticated and designed with diversity in mind to protect not only the structure itself, but also the equipment and data it contains. In the case of a datacenter, standard sprinklers would cause significant damage to computer systems so many companies use a fire suppression system that removes oxygen from the room, effectively starving the fire. This method leaves both the equipment and data in tact and in most cases only leaves a fine powder to clean up after deployment. Since this particular method deprives the area of oxygen, there would need to be some sort of warning mechanism in place so that employees would have time to evacuate the area before deployment.

For businesses dealing with hazardous chemicals such as in the case of manufacturing, there are fire alarm systems that are specialized to effectively suppress fire that involves toxic chemicals. Understandably, there are tighter laws governing the use of these chemicals and the fire suppression technology needed to insure that any fire in this environment poses a minimal risk to employees and the public in general. Many of these chemicals can be explosive in nature when on fire and it is essential that all safety precautions possible be utilized when providing protection for the business.

Obviously the larger the business, the more complex the fire alarm system would be. Often, the system is set up to monitor and deploy only for specific zones. This way, if there were a fire in one side of the building, the sprinklers or fire suppression chemicals would only be deployed to that portion of the building. This minimizes damage to valuable equipment and furniture by fire retardant or water in locations that are untouched by the fire.

An important aspect to any fire alarm system is the human element involved. Yes, you want to make sure that assets are protected as much as possible, but you also need to consider the impact of any fire suppression deployment on anyone who might be in the location at the time of deployment. Obviously water is the safest for human exposure in the event of a fire, but safety becomes even more paramount when using chemicals. Additionally, there should be visual indicators of fire in addition to audible alarms. This way, those who are hearing or vision impaired will be notified of the fire and know that they need to evacuate the building. Most fire alarms involve the use of audible sirens or bells, but having visual indicators such as flashing lights assists those who may be hearing impaired.

Completing a careful analysis of what has higher priority in terms of needing protection in the event of a fire will help you determine which of the fire alarm systems will provide you with the protection you need while keeping your costs at a minimum. Keeping the company's essential data protected should be a high priority as equipment and furniture can be replaced but customer lists, accounting data or inventory numbers can be impossible to replace. Fire alarm systems are an essential and often legally required way to protect both your business and the people who work there in the event of a fire.

I suggest you take the time to visit the website of Steve Mike levy at and learn more about the changing world of Fire Alarm Systems If your looking to purchase a Fire Alarm System you may also receive access to instant price quotes at:
Article Source:

Article Source:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

3 Kinds Of Reasons To Do Fire Risk Management - Business Fire Safety Training

Fire risk management is often considered the best starting point when trying to prevent fires. There are several reasons for carrying out fire risk management and some of the reasons can be categorized in the following 3 ways:


Moral considerations should be the prime reason for managing risk. Persons should not be exposed to intolerable risk while resorting to premises or in the employ of others. A moral code exists in most countries; therefore we expect employers or other responsible persons to treat the health and safety of occupiers of the premises as being of greater importance than financial profit.
Moral considerations are based on the concept of the 'Responsible Person' owing a duty of reasonable care to relevant 'Persons'. A person does not expect to risk life or serious injury as a condition of resorting to a premises or whilst in employment.


Where a business is unfortunate enough to suffer a fire, there is a very strong possibility that it may never resume. Even a small fire can cause severe disruption. Apart from the physical and costly effects of smoke and heat, fire may also cause costly and lengthy interference to services such as electrical, telecommunications, heating etc. leading to a temporary shutdown of the facility and an immediate loss in revenue.

When a business is part of a supply chain, the loss of that particular business can have a knock on effect on other businesses reliant on the supply of products, leading to a wide spread financial loss. Even if a business is brought back into operation, it is quite conceivable that customers have moved their buying power to other suppliers. Unless the down time caused by a fire is minimal, skilled staff are quite likely to move to new positions elsewhere therefore leading to a skills\shortage on re-start.

The loss of a major employer can have a detrimental financial impact on the local community. The impact on an individual will be devastating, however the knock on effect caused by the loss of the individuals spending power will also affect other local businesses and services that in turn may have to downsize or could close altogether. This can lead to an economic downward spiral plunging an area in to social deprivation. In certain circumstances, the stigma associated with a fire ravaged premises can mean that it never fully recovers even after being rebuilt. There could be a strong negative effect on revenue when prospective clients would learn about a previous fire in a care home for example.

When a building suffers from a fire, it is almost guaranteed that insurance companies will increase insurance premiums and any excess on the policy. Additional safeguards will also be expected to avoid repetition.


When an establishment provides a unique or vital service, the loss of that provision can have a severe detrimental effect on the local community or in some cases a much wider area. The disruption caused to the public or service continuity when a hospital or a school is closed down for a few weeks can have severe consequences on the society's health and wellbeing, both physical and mental stress. These events can lead to a lack of confidence in the society's ability to manage itself, which would also have a negative effect on the society's economic climate if people become more reluctant to use the services provided locally and travel elsewhere to fulfill their needs.

For FREE hassle-free quick reference health and safety information in small easy to understand bite size chunks, go to To learn more about fire risk management go to
Article Source:

Article Source:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fike Impulse Valve

IMPULSE Technology -- Efficient and Cost Effective

As with previous Fike systems, the Impulse Valve Technology continues to allow for a flexible, modular design -- not available with traditional solenoid-activated systems. Our systems can be configured to match specific application needs, while using less piping and check valves ... saving installation time and costs. The simplicity of the valve means fewer parts to maintain and greater reliability. And as a result of Fike's advanced rupture disc technology, there is less agent loss. That efficiency translates into a fire protection system with longer pipe run capability and flexible installation options.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed

CSB safety video about a fatal combustible dust explosion at the AL Solutions metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia. The December 9, 2010 accident at the facility that milled and processed scrap titanium and zirconium metal killed three employees and injured a contractor.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fike Explosion Protection Solutions

As part of a complete line of explosion protection products, Fike's proven explosion isolation systems prevent the propagation of flame from one part of the process to another through the use of fast-acting explosion isolation valves and/or chemical barriers. This video features Fike's newest addition to the mechanical explosion isolation product group -- the Explosion Isolation Pinch Valve (EIPV).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dust Deflagration Hazards in Pharmaceutical OSD Facilities and the Requirements of the New NFPA 652

Many of the powders that are used in the production of pharmaceutical oral solid dosage (OSD) formulations are combustible, and since most operations in pharmaceutical facilities can create explosible atmospheres, dust cloud explosion hazards should be expected. 

Explosion hazards associated with powders will influence the specification of operating procedures, process equipment, HVAC systems, electrical area classification, and room construction. It is therefore necessary for OSD manufacturers to clearly understand the deflagration hazards presented by the powders utilized in their processes and be able to assess the level of deflagration risk that their operations may present.

Deflagration is a term describing subsonic combustion propagating through heat transfer (i.e., hot burning material heating the next layer of cold material and igniting it).

It is the expectation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that employers maintain a workplace free of hazards that are likely to cause injury or death to employees, including combustible dust deflagration hazards.

In addition, OSHA expects employers to assess dust explosion hazards and apply appropriate safeguards in keeping with current codes, standards, and best practices to prevent injuries. One new standard that is applicable to all powder handling/processing operations, including pharmaceutical solid formulation operations, is NFPA 652—Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dusts, 2016 Edition (Ref. 1), which states that the facility, processes, and equipment shall be designed, constructed, equipped, and maintained. And management systems shall be implemented to:

  1. Reasonably protect occupants not in the immediate proximity of the ignition from the effects of fire for the time needed to evacuate, relocate, or take refuge.
  2. Prevent serious injury from flash fires and explosions.
  3. Ensure the ongoing production/operating capability of the facility.

Dust Cloud Deflagration Hazards

When finely divided combustible powder particles are suspended in air in sufficient concentration and ignited by a sufficiently energetic ignition source, a combustion reaction can propagate through the dust cloud. If the speed of the flame-front through the unreacted medium is less than the speed of sound, the event is, by definition, a deflagration.

These rapid combustion processes create extreme temperatures (and possibly combustion gases) which cause a pressure wave to precede the flame-front. The pressure wave moves through the unburned dust cloud at the speed of sound. This pressure wave and the resulting fireball can cause significant damage and severe injury to personnel.

The new NFPA 652 requires the owner/operator of a facility with potentially combustible dusts to determine whether the materials that they are handling/processing are combustible or explosible and, if so, to characterize their ignition sensitivity and explosion severity properties, as required to support the dust hazard assessment (DHA).

NFPA 652 further states that the evaluation of the hazard of a combustible dust should be determined by the means of actual test data. Where dusts are determined to be combustible or explosible, additional testing shall be performed to acquire the data necessary to support the compliance requirements of this standard.

The testing requirements will vary depending upon the process operations, but relevant data typically includes the Deflagration Index (Kst), Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE), Minimum Ignition Temperature (MIT), Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC), and Limiting Oxygen Concentration (LOC).

If the material is determined to be sensitive to ignition from electrostatic sources (i.e., typically having an MIE of less than 25 mJ), electrostatic properties, such as the Volume Resistivity and Chargeability (mass charge density) of the powder, should also be considered.

NFPA 652 allows the use of historical facility data or published data only if it is deemed to be representative of current materials and process conditions. However, as these properties are strongly dependent upon specific parameters, such as particle size, moisture content, oxidant concentration, and the presence of flammable vapors, caution should be exercised in its use.

Specific particle shape and size distribution will vary from operation to operation and can make a significant difference in explosion properties. If a deflagration hazard is suspected, it is recommended that a qualified laboratory determine these explosion properties via experiments, using site-specific samples.  

Dust Deflagration Hazards in OSD Operations

When handling combustible solid materials, a deflagration hazard is present whenever fine powder particles (dust) become suspended in air. This may be intentional, for example during fluidized bed drying, or unintentional, such as powder transfer to vessels or powder blending. NFPA 562 requires that the safety of the occupants, facility, processes, and equipment shall be achieved by either a prescriptive approach or a performance-based design approach.

The prescriptive approach involves:

  • Determination of the combustibility/explosibility characteristics of process dusts and powders.
  • Performing a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA).
  • Conducting a documented risk assessment to determine the level of building design and protection features needed.
  • Establishing a written management systems and procedures for operating the facility and equipment to prevent or mitigate fires, deflagrations, and explosions from combustible particulate solids.

Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) is a systematic review to identify and evaluate the potential fire, flash fire, and explosion hazards associated with the presence of combustible particulate solids in a process or facility, and to determine what safeguards could be implemented to prevent or mitigate the hazards.  DHA must be conducted by someone who, by education, certificate, professional standing, or skill and who, by knowledge, training, and experience, has demonstrated the ability to deal with problems related to processing and managing combustible particulate solids.

A DHA does not need to comply with the Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) requirements of the OSHA regulation, 29 CFR 1910.119 (e). NFPA 652 requires that for existing processes that are not undergoing material modification, exceeding 25 percent of the original cost, the owner/operator shall schedule and complete dust hazards analyses (DHA) within a three-year period of the effective date of the standard.

Additionally, the DHA should be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes to the process, the equipment, and process materials, as well as any new learnings related to operational safety to ensure that the DHA continues to be an accurate and up-to-date reference for continued safe operation of the process. The review and update could be conducted on a repeat frequency of five to seven years.

If the prescriptive method proves to be impractical for some reason, NFPA 652 permits the use of a performance-based alternative design approach for a process, or part of a process, specific material, or piece of equipment in lieu of the prescriptive requirements of the standard. The performance-based design shall be based on the appropriate combustibility/explosibility characteristics of the dusts and be prepared by a person with qualifications acceptable to the owner/operator.

Additionally, all calculations, references, assumptions, and sources from which material characteristics and other data have been obtained, or on which the designer has relied for some material aspect of the design, shall be documented in accordance with the requirements of this standard.

Operations where dust deflagration hazards must be considered during the design of an OSD facility will typically include:

  • Powder transfer operations
  • Blending
  • Granulation
  • Drying
  • Milling
  • Sieving
  • Compression/coating
  • Packaging
  • Dust collection 
During the design (or review) of the process(s), Basis of Safety needs to be defined and documented for each unit operation. A basis of safety is the logic, systems, and procedures (safeguards) in place to ensure that an ignitable atmosphere does not occur, or if it cannot be avoided, that an effective ignition source is not present.
Beyond prevention, protection features may also need to be considered to mitigate the effects of ignition. The selected basis of safe operation will be a function of the type of operation, potential ignition sources, the flammability properties of the materials being handled, and the tolerable risk level. Typical bases of safety used in the pharmaceutical industry are shown in Table 1.

When selecting a Basis of Safety, consideration should be given to the effectiveness of each method, reliability of the system, and the personnel hazards inherent in each method. Further guidance on the applicability and design of such systems can be found in Industry or commodity-specific NFPA standards and guidelines such as:

  • NFPA 68 Guide for Venting of Deflagrations
  • NFPA 69 Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems
  • NFPA 70 National Electric Code
  • NFPA 77 Recommended Practice on Static Electricity
  • NFPA 499 Recommended Practice for the Classification of Combustible Dusts and of Hazardous (Classified) Locations for Electrical Installations in Chemical Process Areas
  • NFPA 652 Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dusts
  • NFPA 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids

Other Facility Design Considerations

The processing of combustible materials can also require modifications to the design of the facility. In areas of the facility where dust deflagration hazards can exist, external to processing equipment, the NFPA standards require the process room to be provided with explosion venting and damage-limiting wall construction, which could prove to be costly and difficult to achieve. Recognizing the potential for deflagration hazards early and improving process containment during the design may avoid this situation.

In summary, key measures for deflagration hazard control associated with operations and processes where potentially combustible/explosible powders are present include:

  • Investigation of the validity of any available laboratory data to support the compliance requirements of NFPA 652.
  • Identification of any gaps that might exist in the required laboratory data.
  • Identification of the dust sample(s) that need to be tested and performance of the necessary laboratory tests.
  • Conducting a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA).
  • Identification of the gaps in the dust fire, explosion prevention and protection requirements.
  • Identification of the gaps in the dust hazard management systems.
  • Implementing effective measures for ensuring safety of personnel, operations, facility and the community, and assurance of compliance with the requirements of applicable codes and standards.

By applying the above measures, the deflagration hazard associated with the manufacture of pharmaceutical OSD forms can be effectively controlled and risk minimized.


  1. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169-7471
Dr. Vahid Ebadat Ph.D., M.Inst.P, MIEE, C.Eng., C.Phys. is the Chief Technical Officer of Chilworth and CEO of Chilworth Asia Pacific. He has worked extensively as a process and operational hazards consultant for the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries. Dr. Ebadat is a member of NFPA 77 Technical Committee on Static Electricity, NFPA 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particular Solids and ASTM E27 Committee on Hazard Potential of Chemicals.

Click here to read the September edition of Pharmaceutical Processing

Article Source: