Success in suppression
|Laney Booth checks out a fire extinguisher that Kathleen Royster is about to purchase from the company.|
With only five full time employees Booth Fire Protection Inc. of Carbonville is not a very large business.
But for customers who need their service, it is very important.
The company, which has been in business in its present incarnation since the mid 90's does much of its fire control work with companies, particularly the mining industry; but other commercial business also accounts for some of its income.
"From year to year 65 percent of the business we get is from the coal mines here in Utah and Colorado," says Laney Booth, the company's CEO. "We do all kinds of fire suppression systems so others do come to us as well."
In fact walk in business does account for at least some of the companies sales. During the photo shoot for this article, Kathleen Royster of the Royster Gallery/Studio in Helper came into the company's office and purchased a fire extinguisher for the kiln area of her studio.
"Other than the extinguishers we have not done a lot of residential work," says Laney who along with her husband Bryan, run the company.
Laney has worked in the industry every since the shop opened as Firemasters in 1991. A few years later her and her husband purchased the business from the previous owners.
Some of the company's commercial customers in the area include the Castle Country Care Center, the Parkdale Care Center and others. They have also found a niche in the day care market, where fire regulations are very strict.
They also do systems for restaurants. Most of the systems for food areas today are wet systems, unlike only a few years ago when some restaurants used Halon systems that could put out a fire, but also could hurt people."
"Halon systems have gone the way of freon," says Laney. "You have to capture it all now."
The company installs alarm systems, sprinkler systems and other kinds of suppression systems as well.
But mining is still the biggest part of their business.
"It seems MSHA is changing it's regulations every year on what equipment needs suppression systems and what kind of systems they need," says Laney. "Literally every underground machine needs some kind of suppression system on it. In fact even most of the above ground vehicles connected with mining do too."
It is said that for every one mining job in a community there are four other jobs that are dependent on it, and this company is a good example of that.
The company is a family business with the Booth's son, Jordan, doing a lot of the installation work.
"I even have two of the grandkids from Salt Lake working around the shop this summer," says Laney who along with Kristin Howell runs the office end of things.
Like many Carbon County businesses, Booth's is affected by what happens in the mines. The closure of some mines in this area pushed the company to go to Colorado and set up accounts there.
The business consists of two innocuous buildings that stand right on Carbonville Road. The shop itself has fire detection and suppression equipment all over it.
A test panel in the front office demonstrates the many kinds of fire and smoke detectors available.
Another room is called the "powder room" where extinguishers are filled and recharged.
But, contrary to the mild surroundings, Booth's company is in the business of saving property and lives.
Bryan is one of the mining industries top experts on fire control and is sometimes called by MSHA about problems they need help with.
"One time they had a seminar right here in the shop for people from all over about mine fire suppression and control," says Laney, pointing to a demonstration device her husband put together to demonstrate how suppression systems work.
Booth's is an example of the types of businesses by which Eastern Utah survives; small in stature, but powerful in effect. All one has to do is ask any miner who has been involved in a mine fire, they will tell you how important this type of equipment is.