When you enter a condominium or commercial building you will often see wet sprinkler heads located in the walls or hanging from the ceiling. These water suppression systems will extinguish fires involving wood components, couches (polyurethane foam) and other plastic materials, and are effective at controlling or extinguishing fires. But how do we control fires involving grease or other flammable chemicals, like paint?
Most vehicles on the road today have an event data recorder (EDR), and the number of EDRs is only increasing as newer vehicles replace older models. EDRs are modules that will record data related to an incident (i.e. a collision). This technology has been around for over 20 years, so now is a good time to look back at how these black boxes have changed the way we investigate collisions.
During firefighting, the attention is mainly focused on the health and safety of building occupants and first responders. Damages to property and the environment are most of the time a secondary issue. When the fire is over, damages to property and structures are often visible and rapidly under control. However, damages to the environment usually worsen and risk of exposure to many contaminants remains a concern.
Whether it is kitchens or bathrooms, we have all experienced or heard of damages to cabinets linked to humidity. As an example, let's just consider cabinet panels that swell or coating shell (veneer or thermoplastic) that delaminates. This type of degradation usually occurs as a result of long term usage, when the cabinetry components "get old". However, there are many cases where this type of millwork suffers from premature degradation. For instance, when similar damages are visible over multiple units of a building/condominium, it seems obvious that they are not independent and isolated cases.
Canadian winters are harsh. As temperatures dip below freezing, ice can form on roads and walkways and make them hazardous. One method of keeping ice away is the use of de-icing agents. The oldest and most commonly used compound is salt. However, the use of salt needs to be controlled as it can sometimes be more hurtful than helpful.
An estimated 1.2 million households in Canada are heated by fuel oil. These households are predominantly located in rural areas. Though a functional and efficient heat source, these systems pose various risks to the homeowner. Their failures can result in the escape of hundreds of liters of oil into the surrounding environment - below foundations, and into wells, sumps, weeping tile, and groundwater. The associated remediation work is costly and can easily exceed the property value.
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