Mike Tobias was recently a guest of Chuck Bower, RCDD Tech and host of the YouTube channel, Let’s Talk Cabling. Chuck interviewed Mike about certification training for firestop installers along with several other topics. The discussion started with the importance of industry training for all who are involved in the firestopping industry. Firestop training is essential anytime an installer breaches a firewall to run cables and wires through it. Once the firewall has a hole in it, there’s more to repairing the breach than stuffing putty in the wall. Without the proper firestop products, training, and installation, the installer leaves the inhabitants of the building at risk of death in case of a fire. Unique Fire Stop Products was the first company to provide factory firestop certification training, available for free on the website.
Mike Tobias tells the story of how he got into the firestopping business by cleaning up the work of previous installers in a hospital so the inspector would approve his own work. It was a desperate situation– but desperate times call for desperate measures! By sliding a split metal conduit over and under the existing cables through the firewall, adding the appropriate amount of intumescent putty on each end and therefore sealing the wall in case of a fire, the inspector approved the retrofit repair and the Unique Fire Stop Split Sleeve was invented and later patented.
Today Unique Fire Stop Products manufactures and sells a complete line of inventive firestopping sleeves, systems and devices for almost any application. An integral part of Mike’s concern is that the installer gets his system pre-approved before ever stepping foot on the job site. In fact, he loves to say about Unique’s products, “Guaranteed AHJ acceptance. Your System is approved when the Inspector says it is!” To make that happen, Unique Fire Stop provides a simple AHJ Request Form the installer fills out with the components and specs for his system- all available on the website. The form is emailed to the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and modifications and eventual approval is taken care of before the job starts.
Mike also discusses how he got involved in selling firestopping products for race cars, designed to protect the driver in case of an engine fire. As he puts it, “I had a second childhood and decided to start racing cars at age 46.” His son also raced. The bulkhead in a race car is supposed to be a firewall, but it generally has so many wires and even the steering column coming through it, it isn’t secure. So Mike invented a line of automotive firestop products to protect his son and other race car drivers, available on the website. Listen to the entire video below.