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Get Ready For Winter
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by Rich Watson – ABC Fire, Inc., North Royalton, Ohio

winter truck Winter always brings a unique set of challenges. Besides being no fun to drive in, snow, ice, and subzero temperatures require special care and maintenance of our vehicles. Exposed extinguishers can be rendered ineffective by the freezing cold. And heating bills can be a headache.

Make sure to winterize your business before problems arise! The following is a list of items you should think about when the temperature starts to fall.

Service Trucks

  • Check antifreeze. -35° is good.
  • Use non-freeze window washer fluid.
  • Fill tires with nitrogen instead of air.
  • Remember to stock vehicles with snow scrapers and brushes.
  • Pack an emergency kit. Each truck should have a flashlight, road flares, a warm blanket, and jumper cables.

Antifreeze Sprinkler Systems

CPVC: Sprinkler systems and fittings should be protected from freezing with glycerine antifreeze only. Do not use diethylene, ethylene, or propylene glycols, these products are not approved for any CPVC piping and fittings per NFPA 13, 7.62.

Steel: Steel sprinkler systems and fittings should be protected by propylene glycol only.

Note: Annually, when testing antifreeze systems, always use an approved hydrometer or refractometer.

Outside Fire Extinguishers and Equipment

WILL Freeze Below 40°   Temperature Range
Class K   +40° to +120°
AFFF Foam   +40° to +120°
FFFP Foam   +40° to +120°
Water Mist   +40° to +120°
Pressurized Water   +40° to +120°

WILL NOT Freeze   Temperature Range
Pressurized Water with
antifreeze (8 oz.)
  -40° to +120°
Halotron   -40° to +120°
Halon   -65° to +120°
CO2   -40° to +120°
Class D   -40° to +120°
Dry Chemical   -65° to +120°

Note: General portable hydrostatic testers will freeze; they must be at 40° or more to operate. Do not store in trucks outside.

Heating and Insulation

Check with an HVAC company to make sure the heating function of your building is optimized. Leaks or poor insulation can cause heat to seep out and make it harder to maintain your office at an optimal temperature. Keeping the heat in will also keep down your heating bill!

Article published in Firewatch! December 2009. Copyright NAFED 2009. Do not reuse without permission.
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