What to Do With Outdated Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers play a vital role in any Phoenix, Mesa, or Tucson-area business’s fire protection plan. However, they don’t last forever. Even if you’ve never had to use one, the life expectancy of a fire extinguisher is only about 10-12 years.

Once they’ve reached that age, you’ll need to test the fire extinguisher to verify the integrity of the canister. If it’s still in good condition (the shell should be able to withstand a pressure of up to 500 psi), you can recharge the unit and possibly extend its lifespan by a couple of years.

Signs It Is Time for an Extinguisher Replacement

Besides testing the canister, there are other factors indicators a fire extinguisher needs replacing. They include:

  • Cracks in the shell
  • Clogs or cracks in the nozzle or hose
  • A missing inspection tag that indicates the last time a unit was inspected or received maintenance
  • Damage to the pin or a missing pin
  • A broken or unsecured handle


How to Dispose of Your Expired Extinguisher

When the day finally comes to send a deceased fire extinguisher to that big firehouse in the sky, you’ll want to make sure you do it safely — don’t throw it out with rest of the trash, as it still may contain pressurized chemicals that can cause injuries or property damage if mishandled.

If the extinguisher still has a full or partial charge, try contacting your local fire department to see if you can drop it off at the station for disposal. If the department does not accept expired extinguishers, take it to a nearby hazardous waste disposal facility. If the extinguisher is empty but there is still some pressure in the unit, release it by squeezing the unit’s handle, then remove the head. Contact a recycling plant in your area to see if you can drop off the empty canister.

Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. for more advice regarding how to dispose of your outdated fire extinguishers. We’ll also be happy to schedule a safety inspection to ensure your Phoenix or Tucson company’s fire protection system is in peak operating condition.

Other Helpful Tips About Fire Extinguisher Safety

Essential Sprinkler System Facts

It’s no secret that the sooner a fire receives a good dousing of water, the less likely it will spread throughout a home or business facility. Sprinklers can play a critical fire containment role — they will automatically activate during the early stages to keep a blaze under control until firefighters arrive at the scene. In many cases, sprinklers can even extinguish the flames.

Here are a few sprinkler system facts you might not know:

  • Sprinkler systems are proven lifesavers. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there has never been a recorded incident of more than two people being killed in a fire where there was a sprinkler system functioning at maximum capacity.
  • They cut down on fire-related injuries. The injury rate in fires where the building has a working sprinkler system is 41 percent lower than in buildings without one.
  • They can increase your chances of surviving a fire. The fire fatality rate in homes with a sprinkler system is 81 percent lower than in homes that don’t have one. However, only about seven percent of homes in the U.S. currently contain sprinklers.
  • Sprinkle systems can cut down on water damage after a fire. On average, firefighters use more than 3,500 gallons to put out a fire. Sprinkler systems typically use less than 300 gallons, significantly reducing the risk of water damage.
  • They can decrease your overall expenses surrounding fires. Fire-related property damage is around 70 percent less in homes with functioning sprinkler systems than in ones without them. Medical costs are 53 percent lower on average.
  • Sprinkler systems can save money in the long run. Many homeowners’ and business insurance providers offer premium discounts to building owners that install sprinkler systems. Consequently, sprinklers often pay for themselves in only about four years.
  • They’re extremely effective. In 60 percent of situations where sprinkler systems do not activate during a fire, it’s because someone had previously shut the system off.
  • They are set off by heat. Despite what many people believe, only the heat generated by a fire will activate sprinklers — smoke will not set the system in motion.

Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. to Learn More About the Sprinkler System Benefits

Titan Alarm can help you choose the ideal sprinkler system for your Phoenix- or Tucson-area home or business. Don’t postpone this potentially lifesaving step any longer — contact us for more information and to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.

Learn More About Fire Sprinkler Systems

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Smoke Detector Placement Tips

Installing smoke detectors is one of the most important safety steps any homeowner can take. But even the most reliable detectors won’t deliver maximum protection if you don’t locate them properly. The National Fire Protection Association recommends placing smoke detectors in these sections of your home:

  • Sleeping areas: Installing detectors in your home’s sleeping quarters is paramount — if a fire breaks out while you’re sleeping, you might not be aware of it until it’s too late. Place a detector in each bedroom and in the hallway where the bedrooms are located.
  • Non-sleeping areas: Install one detector on every level of your home that does not include sleeping quarters. Key areas include the living room/family room, near a stairway that leads to the upper level and the basement. Place the basement alarm on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairway that leads to the ground level.
  • Cooking areas: Make sure any alarms installed in or near the kitchen are at least 10 feet away from the stove or other cooking appliance to reduce the chance of false alarms.

In addition to strategic placement within your home’s layout, it’s important to arrange your smoke detectors so they can function properly. Follow these guidelines to ensure successful smoke detector placement:

  • Mount them high: Keeping in mind that smoke from a fire will rise, mount your detectors high on a wall — no more than 12 inches from the ceiling. If you’re installing an alarm in a room with a pitched ceiling, place it within three feet of the peak but not within the peak’s apex.
  • Keep them away from doors and windows: Avoid installing your detectors too close to doors, windows or air ducts — they’re prone to drafts that could interfere with the alarm’s function.
  • Consider installing interconnected smoke detectors: An interconnected smoke alarm system offers enhanced fire protection. When one unit detects the presence of smoke, it automatically transmits a signal to all the other connected devices. If you choose to install this type of system, make sure all your detectors come from the same manufacturer to ensure consistency and reliability.

Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips

Most of us know that smoke detectors save lives. They detect the early warnings of fire, which can provide enough time to escape before the flames engulf the structure. They can also prevent deaths from smoke inhalation.

The problem with smoke detectors is that we tend to forget about them once we install them. The only time many of us pay any attention to our detectors is when we hear that annoying chirping sound that warns us of a dead battery!

The Importance of Regular Smoke Detection Maintenance

As with any mechanical device, a smoke detector can malfunction at any time. It’s important to check they are functioning properly, since they play a crucial role in the safety of you and your family.

The following maintenance tips can ensure your detectors will function properly when you need them most:

  • Test your detectors at least once a month: Testing your detectors regularly will give you peace of mind and let you know if there are any potential maintenance or repair issues. Testing a detector is easy — with most models, you only need to press and hold the button that protrudes from the cover of the unit. If the alarm sounds, your detector is working properly.
  • Replace the battery once a year: By replacing your smoke detectors’ batteries on an annual basis, you’ll always have a fresh battery in the unit. Avoid using “long-life” batteries in older models, as this can inhibit their performance and even render them inoperable during a fire.
  • Vacuum them annually: If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your detectors, you’ll probably notice a collection of dust and debris in and around the unit. Excessive debris can cause detectors to malfunction. By vacuuming them once a year — a good time is when you change the batteries — you can prevent the build-up of dust.        
  • Replace them when the time comes: Most smoke detectors experience a 30 percent failure rate after 10 years of service, so upgrade all the units in your home at least once a decade.

Top 10 Smoke Alarm Facts

Smoke alarms may be the most essential home security feature when it comes to keeping your family safe. They provide an early warning of the presence of fire that enables everyone to get out of the house before the blaze spreads. They’re also required by law by most jurisdictions in Arizona and across the U.S.

Here are 10 facts that will help you get the most benefit from your smoke detectors:

  1. There are two types of smoke detectors — photoelectric and ionization. Photoelectric alarms are better at detecting slow-burning, smoldering fires, while the ionization version typically provides a faster response to flames. The ideal home security setup includes a combination of both types.
  2. One smoke alarm in a home is not enough to provide sufficient protection. Install one detector on each floor, as well as in hallways outside of bedrooms. Place them on the ceiling or as high up on the wall as possible.
  3. Test each alarm at least once per month. Many detectors have a button built into the unit you can press to hear if the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t, you may need to replace the battery.
  4. Speaking of batteries, replace them in all your detectors once a year. Most detector models also produce a chirping sound that indicates the battery is running low.
  5. You should replace your smoke alarms about once every 10 years. This reduces the likelihood of failure during a fire and gives you access to the latest upgrades in safety technology.
  6. Strongly consider interconnecting all your home’s smoke alarms — with an interconnected system, when one alarm detects smoke, it will cause all the others in your house to sound as well, increasing the level of protection.
  7. Carbon monoxide, an odorless, invisible, highly toxic gas, is another threat to your family’s safety. Consider installing multifunctional smoke alarms that also have carbon monoxide detection capabilities.
  8. If you plan to paint the interior of your home, be careful not to paint over your alarms. Paint can block the airflow, making it more difficult for the unit to detect the presence of smoke.
  9. Because of the importance of smoke alarms in ensuring the safety of your family, you don’t want to run the risk of an improper installation. Unless you have the necessary expertise, you should have a professional installer handle the task.
  10. Your smoke alarms should be part of a comprehensive security system that also includes central monitoring. When your alarms detect the presence of smoke, it will trigger an alert to a remote monitoring team that can immediately determine the nature of the threat and dispatch first responders to your home. Professional monitoring can also reduce the likelihood of false alarms.

Contact Titan Alarm for More Information About Smoke Detectors

If you own a home in the Phoenix or Tucson area, Titan Alarm, Inc. can install a state-of-the-art security system that includes smoke detection and 24/7/365 monitoring. Contact us to schedule a free in-home consultation today.

Learn More About the Importance of Smoke Alarms and Fire Safety

Page Updated November 1, 2018

Fire Prevention Tips for Offices

fire evacuation at business

We may think of an office as a safe work environment, especially when compared to job sites such as construction zones, mines and manufacturing plants. But offices pose a unique set of safety hazards, with fire among the biggest risks. According to National Fire Protection Association statistics, fire departments respond to an average of 3,340 office building fires each year, resulting in an annual average of $112 million in property damage.

If you own or operate an office or office building, implementing the following fire safety steps can substantially lower the risk of a fire on your business property:

  • Monitor cooking areas: Approximately 29 percent of office fires start in the kitchen area and are caused by unattended cooking or faulty equipment. Make sure your employees are following safe cooking practices and inspect the stove regularly to be certain it’s in good working order. Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand in the kitchen and provide training for your employees on how to use it properly.
  • Check your electrical, lighting and heating equipment: Occurrences such as frayed electrical cords, overloaded circuits and malfunctioning heating units account for about 23 percent of office fires. Be certain your equipment is in good condition and that you are not overburdening your electrical outlets, especially at workstations and in computer/data rooms.
  • Don’t allow trash and paper to accumulate: Trash, especially paper items, can pose a significant fire hazard in an office. Make sure you dispose of trash properly and do not allow it to pile up. Converting to a paperless office environment can help you cut down on the paper flow.
  • Police your smoking areas: If your office has a designated smoking area, make sure it is cleaned regularly and that your employees do not leave smoldering butts lying around. If your employees smoke outside, be certain they do so at a safe distance from your building.
  • Have a fire emergency plan in place: If a fire breaks out, your employees must know how to respond. Make sure they are familiar with the fastest, safest evacuation route based on their location in the building. Stage regular fire drills to ensure your workers are prepared for a fire emergency.

For further tips and assistance for your Phoenix-, Mesa-, or Tucson-based business, contact Titan Alarm today.

Learn More About Fire Extinguishers

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Choosing a Hood Cleaning Service for Your Restaurant

keep new restaurant secure

Any restaurant owner understands the importance of regular range hood cleaning as part of the establishment’s maintenance program. Keeping the hood and connected ductwork clean is essential for staying compliant with all national, state and local safety standards — a dirty hood will undoubtedly attract some unwanted attention from your friendly neighborhood health inspector.

Dirty hoods that have accumulated layers of grease can also pose an additional fire hazard that you don’t need — you already have enough to worry about with the fire-related risks that come with cooking and food preparation. Regular cleaning will help to prevent grease fires and improve the air quality in your kitchen.

How Often Should You Clean Your Hood?

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s most recent guidelines for commercial cooking operations, the appropriate frequency of your restaurant’s hood cleaning depends on usage and the volume of cooking you do. They recommend:

  • Monthly: For range hood systems in solid fuel operations
  • Quarterly: For systems that serve high-volume restaurants, like 24/7 diners
  • Semi-annually: For systems in cooking operations with moderate-volume
  • Annually: For systems in low-volume operations

What to Look for in a Hood Cleaning Service

Using a qualified, experienced professional hood and duct cleaning service can ensure your hood system remains in peak operating condition and will also significantly reduce your fire risk. But not all hood services are created equal — to find a reputable company in your area, start by checking with some of your fellow restauranteurs for recommendations.

You should also seek satisfactory answers to the following questions:

  1. How long has the company been in business in the area? A local company will understand all applicable fire codes, safety requirements, etc.
  2. What professional certifications does the company have?
  3. What are some of the other restaurants in the area that the company serves?
  4. What documentation does the company provide? A reputable hood cleaning company will furnish a detailed service report after completing the job.

If it’s time for a restaurant hood upgrade in Phoenix, Mesa, or Tucson, AZ, Titan Alarm can provide a state-of-the-art system specifically designed for your establishment. Contact us to learn more today.

Learn More About Kitchen Hood Systems

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Fire Alarm System Technologies

fire alarm security system

Fire alarms have come a long away in their 65+ years of existence. Today’s fire alarm and detection systems are better and more reliable than ever — they’re able to notify first responders more quickly and even provide guidance to individuals as they attempt to escape a burning building. Alarm products are also available that can detect threats other than smoke and fire.

Advanced technology is at the heart of the improvements in fire alarm system performance. Examples of some of the more recent technological innovations include:

  • Phone apps: Virtually everyone carries a smartphone these days. Many fire alarm systems now provide access to downloadable apps that deliver instant alerts whenever a potential fire emergency arises. Company owners or property managers no longer need to rush to a fire alarm panel — which could be a great distance away — to investigate the situation. If the threat turns out to be real, the individual can also notify first responders promptly.
  • Carbon monoxide detection: Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and potentially lethal gas that may be produced in harmful amounts from malfunctioning heating systems or appliances. CO is often referred to as the “silent killer” because its victims may not notice its effects until it’s too late. The latest fire alarm solutions now include carbon monoxide detectors that can alert building occupants regarding unsafe CO levels.
  • Voice evacuation units: Emergency voice alarm communication systems (EVACS) are now available that can deliver pre-recorded or manual voice messages during a fire. They provide vocal reminders to all occupants regarding the safest evacuation route to take in an emergency. These systems are especially beneficial in buildings with visually impaired occupants.
  • Aspiration detection: Aspiration detection systems represent the latest development in fire alarm technology. They can determine the existence of a potentially dangerous environment — they’re even sensitive enough to tell the difference between smoke and dust. Aspiration detection devices are typically used to protect areas containing mission-critical assets — examples include computer rooms and data centers.

Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. to learn more about how the most recent advancements in fire alarm technology can benefit your business.

Learn More About Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 2, 2018.

Fire Drill Tips for Schools

schools protect students

While many school systems these days are understandably focusing their safety training initiatives on how to respond to active shooter situations, fires still pose a significant risk. According to National Fire Protection Association statistics, fire departments in the United States responded to an average of nearly 5,000 structure fires per year in educational institutions from 2011-2015.

How to Prepare Your School for a Fire

Fire drills are an essential component of fire safety in schools. Regular drilling trains students and staff members on how to evacuate the building promptly during a fire emergency. Elements of an effective fire drill program include:

  • Consistent drilling. This is crucial for reinforcing the appropriate actions during a fire. According to NFPA guidelines, schools should stage drills once a month while school is in session. Schools located in areas with severe climates may drill less frequently based on the weather conditions.
  • Constant awareness. It is impossible to anticipate when a fire will break out. Thus, it is important to hold drills during different times of the day and under varying conditions to ensure students and staff members are prepared for every contingency.
  • Accessible plans of escape. Every room in the building should have a fire evacuation map posted in a visible location. The map should indicate two escape routes in case one path is blocked or inaccessible.
  • Calm procedures. Staff members should oversee the procession of students leaving the building and ensure they are moving in a quick, but orderly fashion. Rushing could cause a panic that leads to injuries.
  • Adequate staffing and planning. Students will special needs may need assistance during a fire drill. Designate a staff member or student “buddy” to be responsible for helping these individuals get out of the building safely.
  • School-wide participation. Everyone must leave the building during a fire drill — no exceptions. Use student rosters to account for every student.
  • Clear plans. Once the students have exited the building, make sure they remain at a predetermined location until they are cleared to go back inside.

Titan Alarm, Inc. can provide your Mesa-, Phoenix-, or Tucson-area school with a reliable fire alarm system that will enhance your safety efforts. Contact us for more information and to schedule a no-obligation fire safety consultation today.

Learn More About Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 2, 2018.

Seven House Fire Prevention Tips

You might think that it will never happen to you, but a house fire can break out when you least expect it. According to National Fire Protection Association statistics, the average homeowner will experience five residential fires in their lifetime. Even more alarming, there is about a 10 percent chance that you or someone you know will be injured in a home-related fire incident.

The following tips can help you reduce your odds of becoming another household fire victim:

  1. Never leave cooking unattended and teach your children to stay away from the stove. More fires occur in the kitchen than any other areas of a home. Keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach in the kitchen.
  2. Regularly inspect all electrical cords for wear or fraying and replace any that show signs of damage. Don’t cover cords with rugs or carpeting.
  3. Consider consulting with a professional electrician regarding the capacity of your home’s electrical circuits. The modern home contains a host of electronic gadgets that can overload the electrical system and potentially cause a fire.
  4. Try to smoke outside whenever possible and properly extinguish and dispose of butts and ashes. Careless smoking is another leading cause of house fires, especially when people fall asleep while smoking in bed.
  5. Carefully follow the instructions for installing your dryer’s ventilation system. A surprising number of fires result from clothes dryers. Remove the lint from the trap after each cycle, and periodically clean the area under and behind the dryer.
  6. Have your home’s heating system inspected by a professional during the fall, just before the cold weather arrives. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, including the regular changing of the unit’s filter.
  7. Avoid using older models of space heaters to supplement the main heating system. Many older models may not have all the safety features that are included with modern units. Keep the heater away from curtains, furniture, newspapers or other items that could easily ignite.

Contact Titan Alarm, Inc. for more fire prevention tips for your Phoenix, Mesa- or Tucson, AZ-area home. We can also assist you in upgrading your fire prevention systems.

Learn More About Fire Alarm Systems

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Why You Need to Keep Fire Extinguishers in Your Home

fire extinguisher safety

If you’re like many homeowners, your fire defense setup consists of a few strategically placed smoke detectors and perhaps a fire alarm connected to a home security system. But when you consider that more house fires start in the kitchen than any other area (faulty equipment and unattended cooking are typical causes), it is also important to be able to stop a fire in the early stages. Many kitchen blazes are fueled by grease and can spread quickly. And as most of us learn at an early age, the last thing you should do is attempt to douse a grease fire with water.

A fire extinguisher is an inexpensive piece of home protection equipment that should be part of every household. You can purchase a small extinguisher designed for kitchens for as little as $10. Keeping one near the stove or cooking area enables you to react immediately and put out a fire before it can spread to walls or curtains.

Fire extinguishers are easy to use — you can even teach your children to operate them safely. With most models, you only need to pull the pin, point the nozzle toward the base of the flames while standing approximately eight feet away from the blaze, and squeeze the trigger while making sweeping motions with the nozzle.

Other Areas to Place Fire Extinguishers

While the kitchen is the most crucial location for an extinguisher, you should consider installing them in any areas that are prone to fires. These include near a furnace or heating unit and inside a garage (many garages serve as storage areas for products containing chemicals that could easily ignite). Other ideal spots include the hallway outside of the bedrooms and in any rooms where you or other members of your household might smoke. All homeowners should also have a fire evacuation plan — place an extinguisher along the escape route.

Contact Titan Alarm to Learn More

Titan Alarm, Inc. offers reliable extinguishers and other fire safety equipment as part of a comprehensive fire protection package for homeowners in Phoenix and Tucson, AZ. Contact us to learn more today.

Learn More About Fire Extinguishers

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

What to Look for in a Fire Protection Solutions Provider

Has the time come to upgrade your business’s fire protection system? Are you constructing a new building and need to install reliable, code-compliance equipment that you can trust to safeguard your investment — and your employees?

Given the importance of fire safety for any company, your choice of a provider is one of the most critical decisions you’ll need to make. Careful consideration of these factors can simplify the process:

  • Flexibility: No two businesses have the same fire protection requirements — a restaurant faces a much different set of risks than an office building, for example. A reputable fire protection company will work with you to design a customized solution that addresses your most daunting fire safety challenges, instead of trying to push a “one-size-fits-all” system that could leave your facility vulnerable.
  • Access to technology: Fire protection system technology continues to improve — the newest equipment on the market can detect fires earlier, which can minimize property damage and save lives. Select a provider that offers the latest advancements and knows how to apply them to meet your unique needs.
  • Response time: Suppose the recent results of a fire inspection have determined that you need to make some upgrades. You will typically have a short time frame to make the changes and get your building up to code — or risk having your facility shut down. Ask all prospective solutions providers about how quickly they can respond in these situations, as well as how many trained field technicians they employ in your area.
  • Reputation within the business community: Gauging the satisfaction level of other customers is invaluable when evaluating any company. Make inquiries to other business owners regarding their choice of fire protection solutions providers. This will help you determine which companies are likely to provide the best service — and which ones to avoid.

Titan Alarm, Inc. has been providing prompt, reliable commercial fire protection systems and services to all types of businesses in Phoenix and beyond for more than a decade. Contact us to learn more about our services and to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.

Learn More About Fire Protection

Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.