Spotlight on Firestopping as required by Building & Safety Codes

Firestopping is well defined and mandated in the major building and safety codes.

The codes are not static documents and typically change throughout a three year cycle, and accordingly STI Firestop has recently updated our guide document to reflect the most recent version of each building (INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE – IBC; 2015 EDITION) and safety code (NFPA 101, LIFE SAFETY CODE; 2015 EDITION). This is designed as a reference chart that assists users in quickly finding the relevant code requirement. It is not intended to take the place of the code.

Always refer to the individual building or safety code and when in doubt, verify requirements with the local authority having jurisdiction.

QUESTIONS? Please call our technical service department at 1-800-992-1180 ext 2 or by email at


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Spotlight on another “good spray tip”

RSG Caulking is a great partner of STI Firestop, particularly here in the NYC Metropolitan area. They specialize in smoke seal, firesafing, fire rated sealant, mullion wrap, and thermal insulation; and they have completed projects such as the Hearst Tower, 200 Chambers St., The United Nations Federal Credit Union Building, The Atelier Building, and Memorial Sloan & Kettering Cancer Hospital… just to name a few.

I ran into Jamal from RSG Caulking IMG_0622last week at another project where STI Firestop has been favored with the business. He told me that not only is a proper mineral wool installation important, but so is the tip you use.

Check out this video where this “good spray tip” is literally a good spray tip.

Shown in the video is a Titan Impact 840 High Rider Airless Sprayer and a .023 tip made for Heavy Latex Paint & Smooth Elastomeric products. No mineral wool was harmed in the filming of this video.

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Spotlight on training and a firestop spray tip

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

STI Firestop has recently invested in ongoing training for their employees in a number of areas. Even after employees have attained satisfactory understanding of the tasks they are required to perform, additional training may be beneficial, if not required. Nothing stays the same forever, and the construction industry is no exception. That is why on-going training to improve skills is essential for our organization’s success.

I am proud to work for a company such as STI Firestop who show, by our actions, that we are not content with “just sitting on the right track”.

Below is an email I received as a follow-up to yesterday’s curtainwall spray demonstration about the importance of packing mineral wool, or fire-safing tightly and neatly from our Quality Assurance Manager, Chris Demarco.

One of the topics we discussed with regard to spray is how the quality of the mineral wool install affects the spray application. Mineral wool that is uneven, has gaps, etc. could pose issues for the spray after the contractor moves on to other areas or even leaves the project. 

During application, the spray could bridge these gaps and look acceptable. However, as it contracts while drying, gaps and openings could develop in the coating. This is due to the product shrinking from to water evaporation.  Essentially, the spray pulls itself apart at these mineral wool gaps!

I attached (below) a photo of the install we did yesterday. This is the area Bill (Seely) intentionally roughed-up to show how difficult it is to apply spray over poorly installed mineral wool. We really couldn’t see the issue (gaps) in the spray coating then, but it became apparent after the spray dried over night. This is obviously not a product issue, but an installation issue related to the mineral wool.

CW spray demo

It is important to remember that all water based sealants experience some degree of shrinkage. Sprays are much more susceptible to gaps and openings developing due to mineral wool install (or other factors such as movement before drying, etc.) because they are applied at such a thin coating.

Great information Chris… this is what information sharing is all about… and remember, pack your mineral wool tight and clean.

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Spotlight on saving time & money

EZ Path bEZ-Path® is the only fire-rated pathway to feature an internal self-sealing mechanism that automatically adjusts to the cable load and makes it zero-maintenance. EZ-Path® provides the most complete firestop solution for managing frequent cable moves, adds and changes through rated barriers. There is nothing to open, activate, remove, replace, adjust, close or tighten. You can simply set it and forget it because EZ-Path® is 100% code compliant 100% of the time, even when left completely empty for future expansion.

Recognized as best practice by trade professionals, EZ-Path® eliminates downstream labor costs by allowing the use of pull strings inside the devices, permitting easy cable MAC work from remote locations – saving you time and money.

For more information please visit our website…

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The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth

This year, as we celebrate the 239th anniversary of our nation’s birth, I ask you to take a moment to reflect on the significance of this day. The day when our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence granting all Americans the “unalienable Rights of…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Single-handedly the coolest mission statement ever!

And with that America was open for business… leave everything you have behind they said… your family… your home… your country… for just a chance at the “American Dream”. No promises were made, just a chance. Hell, we had just come out of a war with the baddest nation on the planet, so no one knew what to expect next. But they came, and they came from everywhere.

And now 322,583,006 people and close to 100,000,000 LinkedIn users later, we’re still in business.

Sure times haven’t always been easy… there have been battles and wars fought internally and externally, there have been changes to the rules and regulations many times over, there have been depressions and recessions, and our leaders from ever side of the political spectrum have come and gone.

But what has stayed consistent over the years is our belief in the company (America) and the belief that we all really do have a shot to “make it”, whatever “it” is.

Lou Gehrig knew it… July 4th will mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most famous Yankee moments ever. As he stood before a packed house at Yankee Stadium, suffering from a disease (ALS) that took his baseball career, and ultimately his life, Lou Gehrig declared himself “The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth”. On what was a very sad day for any Yankee or baseball fan in general, he was telling people, ‘look, don’t feel bad for me, I have already lived Life & Liberty and have experienced a lot of Happiness’ (as any 6-time World Series Champion would). He closed by saying “that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

So you see, we have all been through a lot, as a country, as families, as individuals, and with the economic downturn a few years back, but the United States of America Company is open for business, and we have a lot to be thankful for! Simply have a look at all of the large cranes and towers coming out of the ground in New York and New Jersey.

Happy Birthday & God Bless America!!

STI Independence Day

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Spotlight on new OSHA and Global Harmonized System

STI Transitions to New OSHA and Global Harmonized System for Safety Data SheComing Soonets and Product Labels.


Specified Technologies Inc. continuously strives to improve our product stewardship by providing our customers with the appropriate regulatory, hazard and safe handling information regarding our products.


As you may know, OSHA has revised its Hazard Communication Standard to adopt the Global Harmonized System (GHS) method for classifying hazards of products. Under the OSHA and GHS systems, STI and all other manufacturers must re-write all Material Safety Data Sheets (now called SDS’s) and labels to conform to GHS standards.


As of June 1, 2015, STI has started shipping product that complies with the GHS label format and will have compliant SDS’s available on our Website. Please share this information with others in your organization.


In addition to the labeling changes we are now shipping sealants in our new, Blue 25th Anniversary Pail. It’s the same great product you’ve been accustomed to, but in a fresh new package!

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Proud to be an American

On June 2, 2015, the Triple S Toastmasters Club’s second meeting club found itself between the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays and as such the Toastmaster for the evening, Catherine Clifford (Burgoyne Sales) chose Proud to be an American as the theme. After the Pledge of Allegiance, club President John Zalepka proved that even with a few years of Toastmasters under his belt, “um” and “ahs” can still sneak up on you, apparently in droves, so sayeth Mr. Ah Counter, Jim Diverio.

It was hard to believe that it was Catherine Clifford’s first time leading a Toastmasters meeting as she came out with a very strong stage-presence. You couldn’t help but to hear her and take note of her words, especially when she bribed us by offering prizes if we really paid attention to her (brilliant Catherine, brilliant!) If we didn’t know what the official colors of the American flag (Old Glory Red, Old Glory Blue & White, ehh BH?) are or that New Jersey is home to the world’s highest roller coaster, we do now, after 20 fun facts about America that Catherine sprinkled into her Educational Program.

Lexicologist (and our club’s inspirational leader) David Augello gave us what seemed to be a softball of a word with INDEPENDENCE, but if I’m not mistaken, NEFARIOUS from our last meeting was actually used more. Diana Rosario is well on her way to writing a book of the greatest inspirational quotes ever compiled as Quote Master and Steve Harms broke some ribs with his American wit… I haven’t laughed so hard at a “Bill” joke since Clinton was in office.

Once again our speakers were excellent, as we had another full plate of the fun, getting-to-know-you Ice Breaker speeches. June 2 2015 - First TimersFirst up was Ash Sawant, who gave us a little insight into what makes her tick. From her dislike of Thomas Edison to her middle child syndrome to her Weapon of Mass Destruction, we were served up A Little bit of Ash. Next was STI’s Utility Player, Brian Hengstenberger who broke down what makes for a great team player, that ball-picker-upper-when-dropped-by-someone-else mentality. Dave Volker then took us out back to the Shed where he put a linguistical beat-down on us. Dave took us on a journey to his, and subconsciously our own childhood(s)… good enough for BEST SPEAKER June 2 2015 Dave Volker Best Speakeron the evening. The last speaker for the night was Chris Cuevas, who valiantly stepped up as a speaker at the 11th hour with his speech Stress & Tension Management. This in spite of the fact that he has been managing a lot of stress & tension in his personal life recently. Sometimes simply speaking the words to friends can help you to manage a stressful situation, and I believe that is the case here with Chris sharing his stories with his Toastmasters friends.

Corey “Chase” Chess was up after the break with a plethora of Table Topics Questions as Table Topics Master… and yes, plethora does mean 5:

  1. Dave Augello responded with a very “fast” speech about Usain Bolt winning the gold medal as his favorite Olympic memory.
  2. David Vail gave a very descriptive recount of the opening scene of his favorite patriotic movie, Saving Private Ryan.
  3. John Zalepka talked of his friendship with fellow Toastmaster & Gold Star Mother, Eileen Daly and her family’s loss of their fallen, hero son, Army Sgt. Ronald Kubik…
  4. Ash Sawant checked us in at the “snowless”, Hotel So. California (Marriott)… you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave!
  5. Diana Rosario (BEST TABLE TOPICS SPEAKER) June 2 2015 - Diana Rosario - Best Table Topicstold us her story of September 11, 2001… and how Gabe DiMarino purchased a TV for the office so everyone could see what was happening… how STI let everyone go home early… and then the sense of pride (in the middle of a very scary moment for the country) she felt seeing the American flag waving on a Route 287 overpass while driving home… Wow Diana! Very powerful stuff!

Brian Murphy took the reins next and led us through, what I thought was a most excellent evaluation program. First up was John June 2 2015 - John Z Best EvaluatorZalepka evaluating Ash Sawant’s speech, earning him the BEST EVALUATOR award. David Augello did a fine job evaluating STI’s Beach (goer) Brian Hengstenberger. George Gornick was mesmerized by the descriptive verbal beat-down that Dave Volker gave us out back in the Shed and so Brian Murphy quickly jumped back in turning it over to Karen Reiser who did a very nice job giving Chris feedback for his next speech. Karen also served as the Grammarian and along with Jim D and Diana Rosario (Timer) rounded out the evaluation team.

Catherine then closed the program with a fun and interactive “listening contest” won by Brian Hengstenberger.

Overall another fantastic meeting!
Overall it was another fantastic meeting!

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Spotlight on STI’s Commitment to Excellence


At exactly 5:30pm, on May 5, 2015, Sergeant-at-Arms, Brian Murphy brought the gavel (or was it a meat cleaver?) down on the first ever Triple S Toastmaster meeting, as we silenced our phones and rose for the Pledge. Club President, John Zalepka who was also the meeting’s Toastmaster (proving you can wear many hats at a Toastmaster’s meeting… although NOT his authentic Mexican sombrero because his mom sold it for a cool Hamilton), chose Cinco de Mayo as the “obvious” theme. Chips and dip were served and off we went………

Our Lexicologist Karen Bolger gave us a word that was not too common, but yet not too difficult to incorporate into our lexicon, that being NEFARIOUS. Diana Rosario gave an inspirational quote and Jim Diverio was the Joke Master… was he funny? I’m a frayed knot.

Our first speaker was Catherine ClifJohn Catherine 5-5-15ford (from our electrical rep firm, Burgoyne Sales). She gave her Ice Breaker speech, “Tolerance & Triumph”. A story of how Catherine’s entire family has had to overcome the obstacles that her son Kevin’s battle with Tourette’s syndrome has thrown their way. This speech was well delivered and well received as Catherine earned the evening’s BEST SPEAKER AWARD (and margarita mix)… For more information about Tourette’s you can visit

Our second speaker spoke of his love and passion of all things hockey in general and the New Jersey Devils in particular. Corey Chess delivered his Ice Breaker “Slapshot!” in true fear-the-beard fashion, telling us in no uncertain terms that he is really a Mighty Ducks fan deep down… Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack! GOOOOOOO DUCKS!

Our third speaker went rouge jumping all the way to project #8, Getting Comfortable with Visual Aids… that’s right folks project #8, he’s that good! Brian Murphy broke down for us what makes for engaging design, in his speech “The Basics of Design”. Who knew that David Lauer’s Design Basics could be “life changing”?First Timers 5-5-15

Our final prepared speech was another Ice Breaker given by Karen Bolger. She spoke about researching her family’s roots over the past year, sharing some of the findings of her genealogical journey. “My Genealogical Journey” was a journey through some of the navigation of, information that the group found useful.

All of our speakers earned a special FIRST TIMER AWARD… thank you for stepping up Catherine, Corey, Brian & Karen!

An extra special THANK YOU to Diana Rosario for taking over Table Topics duties at the 11th hour. With the assistance of Janice Buffalow’s gift Table Talk card set, all we needed were some volunteers for impromptu speaking. First up was Corey Chess who spoke of water balloons and laughing so hard he was crying. Next was Catherine Clifford who tJohn Court Proposal 8-4-02ook us back to the 1980’s with her description of the tube top/headband/skirt combo. The final speaker talked about recording one moment in his life he could replay over and over again; John Zalepka went all soft on the group and shared a very intimate proposal with his bride-to-be… good enough for BEST TABLE TOPICS SPEAKER AWARD (and taco shells) (go me!).

The Evaluation Program was led by General Evaluator, Brian Hengstenberger. This part of the program gaveJohn Asj 5-5-15 us the chance to offer verbal and written evaluations of the speeches this evening. The evaluation team consisted of Speech Evaluators, (Ash Sawant, David Samuel, Brian Hengstenberger & Bernadette Bautista-Guerrero) the Grammarian (Steve Harm), the Ah Counter (David Vail) and the Timer (Bernadette Smith). The winner of BEST EVALUATOR (and Cholula hot sauce) for the evening went to Ash Sawant, who gave some very good feedback on a very good speech, not an easy thing to do… excellent job!

Overall the meeting was a huge success and is living proof of STI’s Commitment to Excellence and just another reason why I love working here. I look forward to our next meeting on June 2nd!

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Spotlight on Luck

Are you generally a lucky or unlucky person?

Personally, I believe in making my own luck… or as the Roman philosopher Seneca stated over 2000 years ago, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”, or perhaps you prefer a more “modern” view; Thomas Jefferson said “I’m a great believer of luck. I’ve found that the harder I work, but more I have of it.”

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you no doubt know how lucky and proud I feel to be working for Specified Technologies, Inc. These feelings are never stronger than when the entire IMG_0203company comes together each year for our International Meeting (a special shout-out to Danielle Degerolamo for digging up this apropos photo from last year). As scores of people descend upon beautiful Somerville, New Jersey each year from around the world, it becomes clear that everyone feels lucky and has that same sense of pride working for such a great company… wow!

Anyway, getting back to my original point of creating your own luck… well, when I googled the above Thomas Jefferson quote, I came across this article…

Six Ways To Create The Luck That’s Eluded You

…which basically says exactly what I was planning on saying, so thank you Margie Warrell for saving me some brain power, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Spotlight on Life Safety: Cable Overfill

Recently Mark Nunn, Catherine Burgoyne-Clifford (Burgoyne Sales) and I gave life safety and code compliance seminars at the NYC SCA (School Construction Authority). It was awesome to be able to educate and/or reinforce the importance of firestopping on construction projects, particularly those involving schools and children.

The audience participation was great, we received answers about how to firestop a control joint and as well as basic penetrations such as metallic pipe or HVAC duct through fire rated assemblies. However, the audience was tripped up when it came to data-cable bundles loads. It seems that most were not aware of the fact that most UL tested systems, whether it be ours, Hilti, or 3M, there is always a maximum cable fill specified, usually less than 50%.

A question was then raised… “How can we expect a first year apprentice to calculate the 48% cable fill in your UL System?”

“A great question!” I remarked as I clicked to the next slide… EZ Path.

I explained that in the 21st Century, things seem to change with the weather, and nothing stays the same for long. No where is this more evident than in the world of low voltage data cabling. MAC’s (Moves, Adds and Changes) are a constant problem in regards to firestopping. Many times when cables are moved or changed, firestop products are not re-installed. And in the event that they are, it is quite possible that the additional cable fill in the sleeve exceeds the maximum load per the UL detail.

The fact that our EZ Path solution, where the firestopping is built in, making it 100% compliant, 100% of the time, up to 100% filled really hit home with the crowd. Everyone in the room began to see the value in a product that not only saves money after the 2nd or 3rd change/move, but could very well save the lives of our children in the event of a fire.

After our presentation Mark, Catherine and I were in the hallway leaving when somFullSizeRender (4)eone who wasn’t even in the seminar stopped us to get a closer look at what Mark Nunn built (see picture, right). There we were again explaining the benefits of our EZ Path solution and the importance of it in regards to life safety and code compliance. The gentleman loved how with no materials to remove or reinstall, EZ-Path takes the human element away. He asked us to come back to present to his group right away.

Just another example of how STI is the leading global provider of innovative and cost-effective firestop solutions.

Let me hear you say it… “STI, STI, STI!”

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