Fire Protection Industry Suffers a Tragic Loss

Posted on October 13, 2016 5:27 pm : Blog

foustIn February of this year, two Orange County New York fire protection technicians suffered life-altering injuries when an extinguisher exploded during servicing. The younger of the two men, a 23-year-old named Frank Buono, lost one of his legs in the accident. The older was a 35-year-old named Chris Foust, and he lost both legs. On September 23, 2016, Foust was found deceased of unknown causes.

The ABCO Fire family is deeply saddened by the loss of what was by all accounts a promising and dedicated young man with a passion for fire safety. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Chris Foust, and the entire community of Orange County, New York. Chris wasn’t just a fire extinguisher technician, he was also a father, and until his injury was a volunteer firefighter. According to reports, he never fully recovered from the incident last February.

Most in the fire protection industry spend at least a portion of their careers in the “powder room,” the area of the shop dedicated to servicing fire extinguishers. All of us can relate to the hazards of handling pressurized cylinders, especially during testing and recharging. While we may never know exactly what happened in New York last February, we can all appreciate the importance of doing our jobs safely. Our customers and our loved ones are all counting on us to be fully present in everything we do, because lives—sometimes our own lives—are at stake.

For more on Chris’ life and the accident that altered its course, view the following links:

News 12 Westchester: Funeral held for former Warwick firefighter

Seacoast Online: Rookie New York State Trooper Responds to Explosion

Metropolitan Engineering Consulting & Forensics: News Regarding Explosion at Oprandy’s Fire & Safety


Posted on September 27, 2016 8:36 am : Blog


Want to win a free steak dinner? To promote their new “Wood-Fired Grill”, a major restaurant chain was recently dishing out free meals to customers with “Wood” or “Fire” in their name. Wood-fired cooking, however, needs little promotion right now with diners craving the rustic sights, scents, and flavors of foods prepared over a hardwood flame. Unfortunately, this type of cooking comes with additional fire hazards not seen in more conventional methods of commercial food preparation.


Last month, Retail & Restaurant Facility Business invited ABCO’s Alex Garrote to share his thoughts on the hazards posed by wood-fired cooking, and how those hazards should be addressed. From restaurant roof fires started by floating embers, to methods of handling a fuel source that can be difficult to extinguish, his article offers some insights every prospective wood-fired chef should think about.

If you are considering adding a wood-fired appliance to your commercial cooking operation, contact ABCO Fire early in the process to ensure the new hazard is properly protected. Contact our Restaurant Installation Department at 800-875-7200 for more information.


Posted on September 26, 2016 8:38 am : Blog


Colleges and universities are typically held to stringent fire safety standards. Fire protection devices must be in place in classrooms and dorms, and safety drills may even be required to ensure everyone is prepared if something goes wrong. In fact, there hasn’t been a single fire fatality in on-campus university housing since 2005. However, the US Department of Education states approximately 2/3 of college and university students don’t live on campus. So who is watching out for their safety?

The short answer is the students are responsible for their own safety, and the numbers reflect this. According to the US Fire Administration, a whopping 94% of fatal campus fires between 2000 and 2015 occurred in off-campus housing. Students may be unaware of lacking fire safety features, may use high-risk appliances like halogen lamps and space heaters, and may bring high-risk activities like drinking and smoking into their living space. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), “Providing students with Fire Safety education upon their arrival to the university may help increase awareness and prevent fires.”

The National Institute of Fire and Safety Training (NIFAST) is giving parents and universities the ability to follow FEMA’s advice and hopefully help improve these statistics. NIFAST offers the FLASHPOINT Program, an easy-to-use online fire safety training program geared toward college and university students. The FLASHPOINT online course is followed by an interactive test that offers targeted remediation if a student answers a question incorrectly. “The FLASHPOINT Program is designed to help students prevent fires, and survive a fire if one should occur,” says Steve Smith, executive director of NIFAST.

In addition, this year Campus Firewatch has launched the “See It Before You Sign It” campaign to encourage parents to investigate the fire safety features of their college student’s housing. Before signing a lease for off-campus housing, the organization encourages parents to view the housing themselves to look for working smoke alarms, two means of egress, and safe kitchen appliances.

For more information on campus fire safety, visit NIFAST at, or call them at 1-877-347-3702.


Posted on September 25, 2016 8:41 am : Blog


Last week, Delta Airlines was the focus of scrutiny as computer problems delayed or grounded hundreds of flights over several days. Turns out those problems may have been caused by a “small fire” in their data center, but Delta has refused to offer more details on the topic. This recent event is one of several publicized data center fires that have occurred this summer, including one at a Canadian Government facility, and another in the server room of an Oklahoma TV station. As a result of the recent highlight on these events, many data center operators are asking themselves if their facilities are adequately protected.

Jeff Keller is a Mission Critical Fire Suppression Specialist at ABCO Fire, with extensive experience in protecting data centers. When it comes to Delta, Jeff says it’s hard to know what went wrong.

“We don’t really know enough about their situation to judge what could have been done differently, but there are ways to detect issues before a fire even breaks out in a data center.”

According to Jeff, Air Sampling Smoke Detection, or ASSD, is the most effective way to detect fire conditions before flames break out.

“Unlike passive smoke detectors which sit and wait for smoke to pass through them, ASSD is an active detection method,” says Jeff. “A box about the size of a laptop computer constantly samples air that is brought into the sampling chamber from ASSD piping network that extends throughout the room. Smoke detection is much, much faster giving the facility personnel that added time to investigate before an issue occurs.”

How much faster? An active ASSD system is several hundred times more sensitive than conventional passive smoke detectors, and can alert personnel to the presence of invisible smoke particles over an hour before a fire occurs. This sensitivity can be used to draw attention to issues without activating the fire suppression system, making unnecessary discharges less likely while enhancing the ability to respond to fire conditions early.

Contact ABCO Fire for more information on ASSD systems, or for an assessment fire protection in your mission-critical data center.



Posted on September 24, 2016 8:42 am : Blog


With incidents last week in Columbus, IN and Sacramento, CA, it seems no restaurant is safe from troublemaking criminals posing as fire officials. Every few months similar stories surface, where pranksters call restaurants and tell employees to activate the fire suppression system by pulling the pull station. This thoughtless act can cost the restaurant thousands in unnecessary lost business, lost food product, and recharge fees.

What You Can Do

If you own or operate a restaurant, ensure your employees are properly trained on when and how to operate the fire suppression system. The only time the pull station should be pulled is in the event of a fire, or during testing of the system by a licensed fire protection technician. Even a fire official will typically not operate a restaurant fire system pull station unless a fire protection technician is present. Employees should also be made aware of the importance of pulling the pull station FIRST before using portable extinguishers. This will ensure electricity and gas are cut to all appliances beneath the hood, preventing fuel from continuing to feed the fire.

Remember, there is NO circumstance under which a real fire official or fire protection technician who is not physically present on site will call and tell someone to activate a fire protection device. By ensuring your team is aware of this fact and properly trained on the use of fire equipment, you can prevent these pranksters from any future success.

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