Jail installs monitored extinguishers

Monday, January 1, 2007

ROCKLAND, Mass.--In what it hopes will be the first of many government installations, monitored fire extinguisher company MIJA in November completed installations in two Massachusetts correctional facilities.
MIJA installed 175 of its en-Gauge electronically monitored fire extinguishers at the Suffolk County Jail building on Nashua Street in Boston and throughout the eight-building Suffolk County House of Correction at South Bay, also in Boston.
The National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council codes allow electronic monitoring in lieu of 30-day physical inspections.
"The technology is also on the Department of Homeland Security's authorized equipment list," said John McSheffrey, vice president of MIJA. This means that homeland security funds may be used to pay for the installation of en-Guage in certain government buildings and facilities.
DHS likes the technology because it prevents extinguisher tampering. There have been more that 50 reported incidents in the last 18 months where fire extinguishers have been tampered with and used as an IED, an improvised explosive device, McSheffrey said.
McSheffrey said he's talking to airports and port facilities, state houses, and "other facilities where tampering is an issue."
At the South Bay jail, all of the extinguishers in the eight buildings report back to one central command center. The jail installation was particularly challenging because "there was nothing but concrete walls with steel running through it," said Jim Rose, MIJA project manager. "You can't get more difficult than that," he said.
En-Gauge uses Inovonics' wireless platform. Michelle Medina, national accounts business development manager, said that their wireless platform was "initially geared toward security solutions, but we've found that it's really transferable to any electronic component that has a relay output: fire, security, home automation."En-Gauge is available in both wired and wireless, though the majority of end users choose wireless because it's much less expensive to install.