Gauge company to extinguish need for 30 day inspections

Thursday, April 10, 2003

April 10, 2003

ROCKLAND, Mass. - A pressure gauge manufacturer that supplies the industry’s top fire extinguisher makers is set to roll out a new gauge apparatus designed to monitor the extinguisher’s pressure and location through a fire alarm or security control panel.

The product, known as EN-Gauge, could soon replace the National Fire Protection Association regulation that all commercial fire extinguishers be visually inspected every 30 days to verify the unit’s pressure, location and that the unit is not obstructed from use. NFPA 10 already makes mention of the use of electronic monitoring of extinguishers, but does not yet allow for using solely that method.

Although NFPA 10 is not up for review until 2005, a study published by the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors found that less than 10 percent of all were not checked on a monthly basis. That study is making some in the industry recognize that the need for a more efficient testing method is acute, said Bill MacDonald, vice president of sales and marketing for MIJA Industries, the product’s manufacturer, based here.

Initially, MIJA plans to sell the commercial version of EN-Gauge to its existing fire extinguisher customers, such as Ansul, Buckeye Fire Products, Badger Fire Protection, Amerex Corp. and Kidde Plc., who will in turn sell the product through fire extinguisher and fire alarm companies. The company hopes to also sell to the security dealer through distributors and fire extinguishers in that market. A sensor component of the system is awaiting Underwriter’s Laboratories approval. The commercial version is slated to be rolled out in June, with the residential version to be released later in the summer.

"It combines the discipline of fire extinguisher company and a monitoring company to kind of cohesively work together and develop a joint customer base," said Kirk MacDowell, president of MacGuard Security Systems in Las Vegas. "This is a blending of the two technologies into a system that is really beneficial to both."