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One Size Sprinkler System Does Not Fit All

May 9, 2016

by Robert Lacy

A company’s storage design (what they’re storing and how they’re storing it) determines the sprinkler system for a building. The amount of combustibles stored based on height, storage arrangements and materials all affect how fast a fire grows and thus the amount of water needed.

We have all had the experience of drinking from a water fountain and having someone use the one next to you at the same time. The resulting difference in water pressure for both fountains also applies to sprinkler systems as more sprinkler heads open to control a fire. Sprinkler system designers must take all the above mentioned information into consideration to effectively determine the proper size pipes and type of sprinkler heads.

The best time to determine the correct sprinkler system is when a building is new because the business owner can more accurately give a clear idea of what they will be doing. Over time, it’s common for usage to change; a successful manufacturing business may need more supplies on hand, increasing the height of storage, or a totally new business could move in, bringing plastic goods with them which burn very hot.

An insurance or fire inspector will compare the design of the sprinkler system to the current occupancy conditions. If the automatic fire sprinkler system is no longer able to protect the building, the insurance rating credit may be pulled, the business may be required to limit and/or change their storage configuration or the building owner may be required to upgrade their sprinkler system.

Automatic fire sprinkler systems are designed to control a fire by throwing water directly on the fire to cool it as well as surrounding areas of the fire making it harder for the fire to spread. Sprinklers are activated by the heat let off from a fire below the sprinkler head which then opens and water is discharged. As a fire grows, more sprinkler heads activate and more water is delivered. Many don’t realize the goal of most systems is to slow the fire to give time for the fire department to show up and fully extinguish the fire. Something to look out for are new systems with extra-large heads designed to completely extinguish the fire.

As mentioned above, as tenants change typically so do the materials they store. We recommend you order a new report every time this happens to ensure the right coverage. Reports are free for WSRB Subscribers. For more information about how to subscribe, contact Tracy Skinner. For more information about sprinklers, contact Robert Lacy.

St. Petersburg Russia - November 21 2008: Forklift palletiser carrying palletising on the territory of the warehouse with pallet storage rack system. The interior of a large goods warehouse with shelves of pallet rack system storage.

An example of a building requiring a more robust automatic sprinkler system to account for the large amount of contents and their height.

Attend Our Upcoming Webinar: Restaurant Suppression (UL 300)!

March 9, 2016


There are over 1 million restaurant locations in the United States and that number is expected to rise to over 1.7 million by 2026. These restaurants employ 14.4 million people and generate $782 billion in revenues. With about 8,000 restaurant fires happening each year, causing over $246 million in property damage, it is critical to understand and implement all the safety precautions. Almost all fires start in the kitchen and food preparation areas showing you how important a working kitchen fire suppression system is.

The Restaurant Suppression (UL 300) Webinar will give you the basic knowledge of these systems so you know what’s needed and what to look for. Join us for this free webinar during one of the two sessions offered!

Wednesday, March 30, 1:30-2:00 pm PT

Thursday, March 31, 10:00-10:30 am PT

New Year’s Resolutions

January 5, 2016

Portraits of people thinking

Happy New Year! While we can’t tell you what your New Year’s resolution should be, we can tell you what the most popular resolutions were from 2015. Maybe the list below will inspire your 2016’s focus. We would love to hear which ones you go with this year.

As an office, we thought about what our new year’s resolutions for 2016 are and here is what we came up with:

  • Lose weight/eat better
  • Run a full marathon again with an improved time
  • Read (at least) 24 books
  • Pay down student loans
  • Give back to society (serve on a committee, be a volunteer, or make regular donations to the groups in my community that work to make our community a better place, etc.)
  • Improve processes and to make tasks more efficient thus gaining more time back
  • Enjoy myself more and see the fun in everyday tasks
  • Show more appreciation to everyone in my network
  • Keep an open mind and to avoid the “same old rut”
  • Talk less, talk later and listen more!

We’re Hosting a Webinar: Earthquakes Explored!

December 1, 2015


Living in the Pacific Northwest, we anticipate that earthquakes will occur. Every so often we even hear about “The Really Big One” that will inevitably hit and change our landscape. We would like to invite you to a webinar hosted by our very own Tracy Skinner, discussing all things earthquake: types, fault lines and buffers, local tectonic plates and Modified Mercalli Intensity. We also will review how WSRB’s GIS mapping tool, PropertyEDGE®, can help you evaluate a property risk and increase your DIC cross-sales.

Option 1: Thursday, December 10, 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – Register Now!

Option 2: Tuesday, December 15, 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Register Now!

WSRB Team Recognition – Jim Antush

November 18, 2015

Jim Antush – Northwest Chapter Regional Director of Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP)

Jim Antush, our Compliance Manager, is starting the second year of his two-year term on the National Board of Directors of the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP). He is the Northwest Chapter’s Regional Director. The Northwest Chapter, one of nine regional chapters that make up the AICP, includes the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.  Last year, the Northwest Chapter received a first place incentive award for having the highest percentage of AICP membership renewals.

As Regional Director, Jim represents the Northwest Chapter at National Board of Director meetings and is the liaison between the local chapter and the national board. The Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals serves the insurance compliance community by providing learning opportunities and promoting relationships between compliance professionals and regulators. It is a forum for exchanging important information and discussing pressing issues.

Here are some photos from a chapter event at the AICP Annual Conference in New Orleans. This was a cooking demonstration of  bananas foster at the New Orleans School of Cooking!


WSRB Team Recognition – Robert Ferrell

November 16, 2015


Robert Ferrell – Board Member of Washington State Association of Fire Marshals

We are proud to announce that Robert Ferrell was elected earlier this month to serve as a member of the board for the Washington State Association of Fire Marshals (WSAFM). Robert began serving on the WSAFM board earlier this year when he was appointed to fill a vacant position.

WSAFM is an association of fire marshals, code enforcement, and fire prevention professionals (inspectors, educators, engineers, etc.) working together to improve codes and standards, provide professional development opportunities and promote community safety. It was originally established to coordinate efforts to improve fire safety through prevention.

FEMA Fraud Watch

October 6, 2015

Unfortunately there is a common trend of fraudulent activity after natural disasters. FEMA recently published a press release warning wildfire survivors of fraud dangers, giving a few common post-disaster practices to avoid fraud issues of your own should you be affected.

Often someone trying to scam you will call or visit you. When people visit your home, make sure to always ask for an official photo ID badge (all federal employees carry one), as their attire with logos is not proof of affiliation. Another thing is to pay attention to what they offer you, what information they ask for and what they ask to get from you. The questions they ask shouldn’t include anything about your Social Security number or bank information, as this is only asked for when you initially register for FEMA assistance. It is absolutely a scam if someone offers to speed up the process in any way, or if they request money to speed up the process or increase the amount of assistance. Federal workers would NEVER ask for money.

If you can see damage from the street there is a greater chance for fraud. “It is important to note that FEMA housing inspectors verify damage, but do not hire or endorse specific contractors to fix homes or recommend repairs. They do not determine your eligibility for assistance.” Which leads us to contractors: do not allow contractors to start working on your house on the spot. Instead, make sure only to “use licensed local contractors backed by reliable references, get a written estimate from at least three contractors, including the cost of labor and materials and read the fine print.” You should also make sure that your contractors are properly insured and carry “general liability insurance and workers’ compensation. If he or she is not insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.” For more information about contractors,  everything else we addressed and more, see the FEMA press release.

Call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or your local police if you suspect someone is trying to con you.

FEMA information obtained from their press release:

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