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FAQs

A Fire Prevention FAQ for San Diego Residents

faq
Building fires can be terrifying disasters that sometimes lead to property destruction and even loss of life. While there’s always the possibility of an accident, there are some steps you can take to lower the chances of a destructive blaze in your home or office. For more than two decades, FireWatch has served as a trusted provider of firefighting and suppression equipment in the San Diego community, and we’re happy to use our industry experience to help your family stay safe. Here are a few fire prevention frequently asked questions, and the answers you need to protect your structure.

Answers to Common Fire Prevention Questions

How do I use a fire extinguisher?
If you’ve ever wondered how to use a fire extinguisher, operation can be summed up with the acronym PASS, which tells you to pull the pin, aim at the base of the flames, squeeze the trigger and sweep back and forth.
What are the most common causes of fires?
The most common causes of building fires are cooking accidents, malfunctioning or improperly used heading devices, and human error such as overloaded circuits.
Do I need to service my fire extinguisher?
You should have your extinguishers serviced annually to ensure proper operation and arrange for hydrostatic testing every few years to verify the structural integrity of the device.
How does a fire sprinkler system work?
Sprinklers work by using plugs to hold water in a series of charged pipes. When the temperature gets high enough, the plug melts and the system discharges.
What are the different types of fire extinguishers?
There are different types of extinguishers that are rated for different materials, such as ordinary combustibles, cooking oil, flammable liquids, metal and electrical equipment.
What are the different Classes of Standpipes?
The Three Types of Standpipe Systems
Class I System is a [2-1/2" (64mm)] fire hose connection that is provided for use by the responding fire departments. Beyond the reach of fire department ladders, Class I systems provide water supply for the primary means of fire fighting.
Class II System is a [1-1/2" (38mm] fire hose station that supplies water for use by trained building occupants until the fire department arrives.
Class III System shall provide a [1-1/2" (38mm)] hose stations to supply water for use by trained building occupants and hose connections to supply a larger volume of water for use by fire departments.
What different types of Fire Extinguishers are there?
Water, Foam Spray, ABC Powder, Carbon Dioxide and Wet Chemical
A.) Paper, Wood, Textiles & Rubbish
B.) Flammable & Combustible Liquids
C.) Electrical Equipment
ABC.) All of the Above
F.) Cooking Oils & Fats
Is the smoke detector in my unit tied into the Building’s Fire Alarm System?
NO. The smoke detector in your unit is a standalone detector that is powered by 120VAC, 9 Volt battery or both and NOT part of the buildings fire alarm system.
Do I have a fire alarm mini-horn with-in my unit?
Typically any condo/apartment building that has 15 or more units will have a fire alarm mini-horn within the bedroom, hallway and/or living room.
Is it required to use a man-lift to inspect each individual sprinkler head?
NO. Inspections are performed from common area access ways.
How do I read my Fire Extinguisher Tag or know when it is due for annual maintenance?
The date the fire extinguisher was last serviced will be punched into the card. Reoccurring maintenance will be due one year from the date punched on the tags.
What is a fire alarm mini-horn?
A mini-horn is an appliance that sounds when a fire alarm device is activated. These horns are typically located in the bedrooms, or hallways, approximately seven (7) feet above the floor, and are the size of a single wall switch. These are life safety devices, designed to save YOUR life in the event of a fire, or other emergency. When operating properly, these sounders produce a loud, high-pitched sound capable of waking you and/or alerting of a possible emergency. These alarm mini-horns are all electrically connected to each other in a continuous low voltage parallel circuit, which starts from the control panel.
The control panel is, constantly supervising each mini-horn, as well as the circuit. Should an alarm mini-horn inside your unit be removed, or disconnected, a trouble condition will occur, and the control panel will sound an alert. Even worse, however, a disconnection may cause other alarm mini-horns to fail in the event of an actual alarm or emergency; in effect, someone removing or disconnecting a fire alarm mini-horn is risking the life of his or her neighbor.
Is an inspection of my fire protection equipment required?
YES.
OFFICIAL CALIFORNIA CODE OF REGULATIONS
TITLE 19. PUBLIC SAFETY DIVISION 1. STATE FIRE MARSHAL
§ 1.14. Maintenance. Every fire alarm system or device, sprinkler system, fire extinguisher, fire hose, fire resistive assembly or any other fire safety assembly, device, material or equipment installed and retained in service in any building or structure subject to these regulations shall be maintained in an operable condition at all times in accordance with these regulations and with their intended use.
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REMEMBER THE ACRONYM, P.A.S.S.

PULL the Pin
AIM the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the flames
SQUEEZE the handle or trigger while holding the extinguisher upright
SWEEP the extinguisher from side to side, covering the base of the fire with the extinguisher agent
Special Note: Some special purpose fire extinguishers such as Wet Chemical (Class K) and Class D extinguishers have special use instructions. It is always best to familiarize yourself with the extinguishers located in your workplace. Read the operating instructions found on the extinguisher nameplate or label.

Call Us Today

If you have more fire prevention questions after reading this FAQ, contact FireWatch to speak with a member of our staff. Trust our two decades of experience serving the San Diego community, and let us help you keep your loved ones safe. To learn more about our fire extinguisher company or to schedule an appointment, call us today at 619-299-3473.