Keeping people safe all over the West Kootenay

Whether you’re in a school, in a restauraunt, at a ski hill, at city hall or in your own kitchen, chances are West Kootenay Fire Safety is making sure you stay protected.

Niel Doerksen services a fire extinguisher at the new West Kootenay Fire Safety headquarters on 6th Avenue in Castlegar earlier this week.

Whether you’re in a school, in a restauraunt, at a ski hill, at city hall or in your own kitchen, chances are West Kootenay Fire Safety is making sure you stay protected.

The Castlegar-based company looks after most of the extinguishers and other fire protection systems in the West Kootenay, including municipalities, school districts, commercial boats and government facilities.

Oh yeah, and at the fire halls too.

“We service most fire departments,” Niel Doerksen, one of the company’s owners said.

He, along with other owners Brian Shields and Ann Fisher just moved the company into a new building on 6th Avenue, across from Rona.

“It’s the first actual, real facility in the Kootenays,” Doerksen said.

The company has been in business for 33 years, but Doerksen only took it over in December.

They’ve been in their new building for less than a month.

The company offers sales and service of extinguishers as well as emergency lighting and fire hoses, but they also offer state-of-the-art systems for different businesses, depending on the need.

For example, fires can now be put out with a triggered system that uses no water and leaves the business with no downtime.

This system, called a “clean agent pre-engineered” system, is usually used in computer server rooms, labs, flammable liquid storage rooms, radio and television stations, media storage, medical record storage, museums, libraries and bank vaults.

The agent used absorbs heat faster than the combustion reaction and ceases it.

New technology is also available in the restaurant industry, Doerksen said.

The Amerex Restaurant Fire Suppression System offers a wet chemical agent that’s non-corrosive to stainless steel and has automatic fire detection.

Doerksen said the new technology offers more nozzles above the cooking appliances so cooks are able to move the appliances around without worrying about whether they’re covered in case of a fire.

With the summer months coming and many more backyard and campfires on the horizon, Doerksen said there are a few ways to keep yourself protected.

Two good tips are to have a 2.5-pound extinguisher in your camper or truck to have at-hand, and the other is to stay at the site of a fire after it’s been put out for another 30 to 60 minutes.

Other tips Doerksen offered are to make sure your home extinguisher is checked every year and recharged every six years.

A hydrostatic test, which pressurizes the inside of the tank, needs to be done every 12 years.

CO2 extinguishers, which are used for fuel and electrical fires need to be retested and pressurized every five years.

“Some companies will push the sale of a new extinguisher instead of servicing the extinguisher,” Doerksen said. “Why throw out a perfectly good extinguisher?”

West Kootenay Fire Safety can be reached at 250-365-6943.

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