Commercial maintenance rooms contain the essential equipment that keeps your building functioning. Electrical, mechanical, data, custodial, and even storage rooms are susceptible to fires. While these spaces may not have the visibility or traffic of your revenue-generating locations, they still require regular monitoring for proper fire safety protection.
The fire experts at All Protect Systems, Inc have been keeping Ontario businesses safe since 1996. They can help diagnose and correct potential fire safety deficiencies, such as the following:
1) Holes in Your Firewalls
Building maintenance rooms often require new equipment, which usually comes with additional wiring or pipes. If these rooms have fire-rated walls, the wall membrane penetrations must be adequately fire stopped to prevent smoke and fire from passing from one room to another and spreading the fire.
2) Fire Extinguishers
While fire extinguishers can last several years, they require annual inspections. Maintenance rooms can get overloaded with unnecessary materials, and fire extinguishers can be obstructed from view or even knocked off the wall. The Ontario Fire Marshal can fail your annual fire inspection if your extinguishers aren’t in the right place or lack their yearly inspection tag.
3) Fire Hoses
If your building requires fire hoses, you need to be sure that they are in good condition and are long enough to reach your commercial maintenance rooms. Of course, you never want to put out an electrical or oil-based fire with water, but you can put out fires in some rooms with your building’s fire hoses.
Annual inspections of your fire hoses can reveal deterioration in the hose or damage to the hose nozzle. All Protect Systems recommends performing hydro-static testing on fire hoses after they’ve been in service for five years and every three years after that.
4) Smoke Detectors
Depending on their use, commercial maintenance rooms may require one or more smoke detectors. While you may have met the basic code requirements during the initial construction, changes to the use of maintenances or the addition of equipment may require additional smoke detectors.
Maintenance room alterations can obstruct smoke detectors and prevent them from sensing smoke during a fire. They can also degrade over time and require regular inspections.
5) Emergency Lighting & Exit Lighting
Required by code in most Ontario commercial buildings, emergency lighting must be tested monthly to ensure proper performance. Exit lighting in or near your maintenance rooms must be fully functional and visible. Damaged exit lights can be a fire hazard and require repair if visual defects appear.
6) Fire Doors
For commercial maintenance rooms with a fire rating, its door must also have the same rating. With heavy use, these doors can lose their rating. Fire-rated doors must have the following qualities:
Self-latching – When the latching bolt wears out, the fire marshal can fail your inspection.
Self-closing – Fire-rated doors must close by themselves, not be propped open, and be free from obstructions.
No gaps – Doors that routinely get slammed or impacted with heavy items can eventually lose position. Gaps can form and compromise its fire rating.
Labels – Fire doors and all of their attached hardware must have visible labels on them. The Fire Marshal can fail you for removing or painting over them.
Modifications – You aren’t allowed to make any modifications to a fire-rated door.
With enough due diligence, you can keep your commercial maintenance room’s fire safety protection up to code. However, if you want to delegate that responsibility to trained professionals, the experts at All Protect Systems are ready to serve you. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!
In homes where there was neither a smoke alarm nor a sprinkler system, there were significantly far more injuries (2,469) versus 108 in residences with both a smoke alarm and a sprinkler system. (See Table 11 below).
The evidence is indisputable, it is much better to have a smoke alarm system installed than to live without one.
Once you have the alarm installed make sure you have it routinely checked and serviced at least twice a year to keep it in good working order.
Fire Prevention Tip #2 Invest in a Fire Extinguisher
In the Murdoch University research, well over two-thirds of the house fires in the study had no functioning life-safety systems including fire extinguishers. This led to 80% of the fatalities in the study sample.
On top of smoke alarms and sprinklers, every home should have a fire extinguisher of some sort. With the majority of fires starting in the kitchen, it is highly advisable to purchase a fire extinguisher that is suitable for putting out grease fires such as a wet/chemical fire extinguisher.
It is imperative that you also learn how to operate these extinguishers and have a good idea of which fire extinguisher to use for which type of fire. We’ve written a blog with fire extinguisher tips that will help you learn which fire extinguisher to use for which fire.
Fire Prevention Tip #3 Keep Matches and Lighters Out of Reach
The leading ignition source in fatal avertible residential fires is smoking materials – matches, cigarettes, and lighters.
Adults need to be responsible when smoking and ensure they dispose of burning cigarettes correctly. Avoid going to bed while smoking or indeed smoking while intoxicated. All hot embers should be placed in sturdy ashtrays and put out before the ashtray is emptied into the trash.
It is also wise to keep lighters and matches out of reach of young children in high cupboards that can be locked if possible.
Fire Prevention Tip #4 Practice Safe Cooking Habits
Are you aware of the fact that the number 1 ignition source in homes is cooking equipment (gas burners, stovetops) that ignite flammable materials such as oils and clothing?
Yes, most preventable fires start in the kitchen with an unattended naked flame.
So, what can you do to reduce this fire risk? One tip is to install stove top burners featuring heat limiting tech that regulates the element preventing it from reaching extreme temperatures.
Another tip is to adopt kitchen fire safety plans including practices like switching off any burners that are not in use.
Always turn off stove tops if you have to step out of the kitchen. Never leave a gas stove on even if you’re only going into the next room. You may get sidetracked and forget the burner.
Fire Prevention Tip #5 Inspect Electricity Cables Routinely
Do you have electricity cables running underneath rugs and in places you can’t clearly see them? That’s not good.
All cables are potential fire hazards and must be in sight so you can see whether they are frayed, overloaded, or damaged in any way that makes them dangerous.
Do not use appliances with broken plugs or cables that have loose connections. Always ensure plugs are in full working order and that cables are whole and not damaged.
Bonus Fire Prevention Tip: Develop a Fire Escape Plan
If a fire were to hypothetically break out in your home at this moment, what would you do? What is the protocol to getting everyone – including yourself – out of the burning building safely? If you have a double-story home, do you have escape ladders?
This protocol is what we call a home fire escape plan. Every family needs to have such a plan and practice it regularly so everyone has an idea what to do if the worst ever did happen.
What should you include in your fire escape plans?
– A couple of escape routes depending on where in the house people find themselves
– Tools people will need to assist them in escaping
– Lessons on how to use fire extinguishers and escape ladders
– First aid basics
– How to contact the Fire Department
The Bottom Line
We encourage everyone to take a proactive approach to house fire prevention. By taking preventative measures and having a fire escape plan in place, you and your loved ones can greatly reduce associated fire risks and the likelihood of death.
If you’re in Ontario and would like to discuss fire codes, fire extinguisher tips, or purchasing an emergency backup generator for your business or home, we’re always happy to help.
All Protect Systems are specialists in the service, installation, and maintenance of fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, emergency backup generator, exit lighting, fire safety plans, and sprinkler systems.