Archive for August, 2022

What Can be Included in Typical Fire Safety Plans for all Employees?

Posted: August 31st, 2022

Poor workplace fire prevention practices, lack of comprehensive fire safety plans, and thorough hazard audits have led to the injury and deaths of numerous employees over the years.

The most recent statistics from the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General (OMSG) tell us that in 2019, 13% of all loss fires occurred in a place of work or business.

5% of these fires took place in industrial occupancies, 3% in assembly occupancies, 2% in mercantile occupancies, 2% in business and personal services occupancies, and 1% in care and detention centers.

Many of these fires could have been avoided with better fire safety plans.

In this post, we’re going to discuss the top things to include in fire safety plans for your employees. Before we do, however, let’s go back to the very beginning and talk about these safety plans. What is a fire safety plan anyway?

What is a Fire Safety Plan?

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) gives us a concise definition of a fire safety plan:

It is a detailed document that covers all aspects of fire safety for a specific building or property.”

It is worth noting that fire safety plans are uniquely tailored to buildings although they may be generated from a template.

Furthermore, every fire safety plan must contain an outline of the following:

·         Directions on how building occupants are supposed to leave in the event of a fire

·         Building maintenance requirements and methods to prevent fires

·         Best practices to reduce fire damage should a fire break out

Fire safety plans are not suggestions but are mandated by law via the provincial Fire Code – i.e. the Ontario Fire Code. If you’d like to revise your current building fire safety plan you can always contact a fire specialist or your local fire department.

Things to Include in Your Fire Safety Plan

Now that we know what fire safety plans are, here is what you should include in your own building-specific fire safety plan.

1. Emergency Procedures

A lot more people are injured than necessary because of ignorance. With the right knowledge, fire incidents would result in far fewer injuries and fatalities.

Employees must be aware of fire safety protocol during emergencies. Do they know:

·         How to sound the alarm?

·         How to alert the fire department?

·         How to safely evacuate from the premises?

·         How to assist those in need of evacuation assistance?

·         How to extinguish small fires?

·         How to control and confine fire?

The following emergency numbers and address must be displayed next to phones and be legible:

Fire Department: ________________

Police:  ________________________


Building Address:_________________

2. Employee Fire Drill Routines

For companies that deal with flammable chemicals and equipment, it is recommended to have fire drills every three months. For other businesses, fire drills may be organized twice per year.

Fire drills will show you how prepared your employees are when the fire alarm goes off. 

They act as a preventive measure that seeks to instruct employees on evacuation plans. Knowing how to exit the building quickly and safely can be the difference between life and death.

3. Fire Warden/Staff Fire Safety Training Protocols

Fire safety plans are to also include any and all educational and training information for staff that has been assigned fire safety obligations.  

Their duties and responsibilities and how they are to carry them out are to be outlined clearly. How fire safety education and training for these staff members will be conducted needs to be written out in fire safety plans.

Designated fire wardens must be able to answer the following questions comfortably:

·         Do they know the fire escape plan?

·         Do they know the chosen meeting place in the event of a fire?

·         Do they know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher?

·         Do they know the location of the nearest fire alarm station?

·         Do they know the location of the nearest two exits?

·         Who needs to be notified in the event of an emergency?

·         Who are the mobility-impaired employees on their teams?

It is imperative that this information be made public so the building owner and employees are on the same page about fire safety. 

4. Fire Hazard Preventative Measures

Fire safety plans should contain information about the necessary steps needed to prevent and control fire hazards within the building.

If you’re not sure what fire hazards exist onsite, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a fire specialist who will conduct a hazard audit.

Depending on the type of business done on the premise, fire hazards could be anything from combustible substances to electrical appliances/wiring. 

5. Building Fire Systems Maintenance Procedures

Statistics reveal that there are more deaths within premises that don’t have functional fire systems than within buildings with well-maintained fire prevention systems. That is why it is critical to develop a routine maintenance schedule because it’s not enough to have a fire safety system installed, it must work at all times.

All fire systems must be tested – fire alarms, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, sprinklers, emergency exit lighting, and fire hoses.

After your hazard audit, the fire specialist who conducted your building audit can devise a routine maintenance plan for your property.

Illustrations of these fire emergency systems must also be present in the fire safety plans.

The Bottom Line

Fire safety plans help to create a safer workplace by potentially reducing fire-related injuries and fatalities.

Every time a building is renovated or remodelled, fire safety should be a key consideration. If your fire safety plan is outdated or your building has been recently refurbished, now is a good time to book an appointment with All Protect Systems.

We also offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services.

Request a free quote today.

3 Fire Alarm System Maintenance Checks You Can Be Doing Right Now

Posted: August 21st, 2022

Every facilities manager knows that preventative maintenance pays solid dividends over time, but they often overlook the building’s fire alarm system when scheduling these tasks. This is unfortunate since fire alarm maintenance checks can improve the performance and extend the life of your commercial fire alarm system. All that’s necessary is to design a maintenance schedule and assign it to a responsible individual, and you can expect your fire alarm to last and perform to its fullest potential.

For best results, try to organize your preventive maintenance checks into three categories, inspection, testing, and cleaning. Regular inspection spots any potential problems before they become critical. Testing ensures that your system is functioning correctly, and cleaning keeps your sensors and notification appliances operating smoothly.

1) Inspection 

According to the Ontario Fire Code, keep your fire alarm equipment unobstructed while disconnect switches must remain in the locked position.

Daily inspections

Visually inspect the panel and annunciators for trouble and supervisory conditions. The panel should always be on and be operating on AC power. 

Weekly inspections

If your fire alarm control equipment is unmonitored, you must visually inspect fuses, interface equipment, and LEDs.

Monthly inspections

Visually inspect the electrolyte level of any lead acid batteries.

Quarterly inspections

Visually verify that video image smoke and fire detectors have a clear view and that supervisory signal and water flow devices are in good physical condition.

Semiannual inspections

You should check for any trouble signals on monitored systems. Inspect nickel-cadmium and seal lead-acid batteries for corrosion, leaks, and the tightness of their connections to the equipment. Lubricate terminals when necessary. Verify the location and condition of your in-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications equipment and remote annunciators. Inspect heat detectors, manual fire alarm boxes, duct detectors, air sampling tubes

Annual inspections

Visually inspect fire alarm equipment such as:

  • Alarm transmission equipment
  • All panel features on monitored panels
  • Notification appliance circuit power extenders
  • Remote power supplies
  • Area of refuge two-way communication system
  • Any fire mass notification system.

2) Testing

The Ontario Fire Code also requires monthly and annual testing for several aspects of commercial fire alarm systems.


While the panel is operating under battery backup power, you should test the following devices and correct any faults that appear:

  • All signaling devices should be tested and operate properly.
  • Pull one manual fire alarm box each month on a rotating basis to verify that they initiate an alarm signal. When rarely used, mechanical plungers can stick. They perform better with periodic use.
  • Test the annunciator by clearing faults or silencing the alarm.
  • Verify audible and visual trouble signals.

3) Cleaning

Depending on your facility, fire alarm sensors may require more or less cleaning over the course of their useful lives. Buildings with a lot of dust can clog smoke and heat detectors, as well as notification appliances, such as horns or strobes. Restaurant kitchens can generate a lot of grease that may accumulate on your sensors and degrade their sensitivity over time. If your building is susceptible to this sort of problem, consider monthly or quarterly cleaning to keep your fire alarm functioning in optimum condition.

Timely inspection, testing, and cleaning can keep your building better protected and extend the life of your fire alarm system. If your responsibilities already keep you busy, you may want to consider delegating this task to a professional.

All Protect Systems, Inc technicians have been servicing and testing commercial fire alarms in Ontario since 1996. They are a full-service fire protection business and can also help with your extinguishers, fire safety plans, gas detection, and emergency lighting. Call them today to learn what they can do for you!

What are the Common Causes of Workplace Fires

Posted: August 17th, 2022

In Canada, between the years 2010 and 2019, there were approximately 13,297 work-place related fires according to the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General.

The factors contributing to workplace fires are vast and with employees’ lives at risk, it is critical to be aware of these causes so you can improve your workplace fire prevention strategies.

In this post, we’ve taken time to compile a list of 5 of the most common causes of fire in the workplace. Read till the end to see some of our top workplace fire prevention tips.

5 Common Causes of Workplace Fires

Workplace Fire Cause #1 Faulty Electrical Equipment and Circuits

Frayed, incorrect wiring as well as defective electrical equipment can all cause sparks and overheating making them potential ignition sources.

As a business owner, you must have clear answers to the following questions.

How often is the electrical wiring in your building assessed? Who is responsible for tending to electrical equipment and ensuring that it’s not faulty? What is the current response time for fixing unsound electrical problems?

Workplace Fire Cause #2 Negligence and Human Error

Out in the wild, 55% of all wildfires across Canada are caused by humans. In the workplace, human error still finds its place and can also lead to workplace fire incidents.

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management has identified the top ignition sources as follows:

Source: Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General

Of note for workplace situations are:

·         Cigarettes which are the ignition source for 7% of all structure loss fires

·         Open flame tools which are the ignition source for 3% of all structure loss fires

·         Candles which are the ignition source for 2% of all structure loss fires

·         Matches and lighters which are the ignition source for 1% of all structure loss fires

Workplace Fire Cause #3 Accumulation of Combustible Substances

Combustible wastes, flammable liquids, and hazardous substances are extremely volatile and should be safeguarded and stored as stipulated by corresponding OSHA standards.

Excess combustible materials are a major fire risk and must be kept and handled properly in the workplace.

Workplace Fire Cause #4 Deliberate Vengeful Acts

According to the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General, arson – the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property – accounted for 9% (6,489 fires) of total structural loss fires reported to the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) between 2010 and 2019.

Workplace Fire Cause #5 Uncollected Refuse and Waste

Every business generates waste of some sort. From office trash right down to rubbish removed from employee kitchens and bathrooms.

Refuse cannot be allowed to accumulate on-site and needs to be routinely cleared out on a daily basis.  

Now that we’re familiar with common fire causes, here are a couple of workplace fire prevention tips.

5 Best Workplace Fire Prevention Tips

Contrary to popular opinion, fire prevention doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s more about employing the best workplace fire safety practices and taking strategic precautions.

Here are some of the leading ways to mitigate workplace fire risk.

Workplace Fire Prevention Tip#1 Install Smoke Detectors

Fire alarms and smoke detectors are among your first line of defence in the workplace. The sooner smoke and fire are detected, the more time employees have to get out of the building.

How many fire alarms and smoke detectors should you install?

The number really depends on several factors: 

  • the size of your premise, 
  • the type of business taking place on the premises and, 
  • the number of people in the building.

After a thorough fire inspection, the fire specialist can give you precise information tailored to your unique situation.

And speaking of fire safety systems in the workplace…

Workplace Fire Prevention Tip#2 Keep Fire Extinguishers on Every Floor

As a business owner, you are mandated by the local provincial Building Codes and Fire Codes to install workplace-appropriate fire extinguishers.

If you’re a business that deals with paper, textiles, cloth, rubber or wood, you run the risk of Class A fires and subsequently should have water-based fire extinguishers on site.

Those businesses with gas, oil, lacquer, or paint manufacturing operations are Class B fire threats and the type of fire extinguishers preferred here are typically carbon dioxide-based.

Industrial workplaces dealing with metals are considered Class D-fire risk businesses and should be equipped with dry powder-containing fire extinguishers.

If you’re unsure about which fire extinguishers you should invest in, consider bringing on board a fire expert to assist with the technicalities.

Workplace Fire Prevention Tip#3 Have Open Conversations on Fire Risk

Regularly discuss and remind your employees of fire risks and how to best prevent fires in the workplace.

Conversations around emergencies and the fire safety plan must be incorporated into workplace training. 

Workplace Fire Prevention Tip#4 Teach Basic Fire Safety Techniques

It’s not enough to simply discuss workplace fire prevention with employees, however. You must take it a step further and teach basic fire safety techniques periodically.

Fire drills can also help to reinforce the message of fire prevention and the need to engage in good workplace fire prevention practices.

Make sure there is a designated fire warden chosen from among the employees and that a handful of people know how to perform First Aid. 

Workplace Fire Prevention Tip#5 Do Not Store Flammable Substances On-Site

Do you have gasoline, solvents or indeed regular waste in and around your workplace? Each of these entities poses a big fire risk.

Do not keep flammable materials within the workplace. 

If you do happen to use such substances, proper occupational health and safety protocols need to be observed and reinforced.

Trash needs to be routinely cleared and smokers warned not to throw the ends of their cigarettes into toilet bins, employee kitchen bins, or indeed anywhere that hasn’t been demarcated as a smoking zone.

The Bottom Line

Taking initiative to learn and promote good workplace fire prevention practices is noble.

If you’re interested in bringing your business up to standard your first step should be scheduling a fire inspection.

For businesses in Waterloo, Ontario keen to discuss fire safety strategies with a specialist don’t hesitate to reach out to All Protect Systems.

We offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, fire safety plans, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services.

Request a free quote today.

The 3 E’s of Fire Prevention

Posted: August 4th, 2022

No fire prevention discussion is complete without mention of the three staples – Engineering, Enforcement and Education.

Fire departments, fire specialists, and fire experts the world over have been using these three principles to guide their fire safety practices.

It’s not enough that these fire organizations and entities are aware of the Three E’s. This information must be disseminated to the general public as well. And that’s exactly what we are doing with today’s post.  

Origins of the Three E’s of Fire Prevention

Today, the Three E’s have been adopted as fire prevention best practice by most countries around the world including Canada. But who devised this system and what was the backstory?

In May 1947, American president Harry Truman held a historic National Conference on Fire Prevention after a series of devastating fires had claimed the lives of nearly 200 people in 1946.

The three-day conference brought together a host of experts in multiple fields including fire service, military, government, business and higher education.

The result of their discussions was a comprehensive fire prevention plan that addressed fire safety. It was noted that fire prevention was possible so long as efforts were made in three specific areas which were nicknamed the “Three E’s.”

So, what are these Three E’s anyway? 

Breaking Down the Three E’s

First E – Engineering

The engineers at the 1947 National Conference on Fire Prevention were quick to point out that tackling the issue of fires needed to start by taking a close look at how buildings were erected.

It wasn’t hard to see that the lack of laws governing safe building design was a major hazard. So, engineers were tasked with the responsibility of coming up with safe building designs and establishing construction standards.

The goal of the first E was to regulate how buildings were constructed by having everyone follow the same sound engineering principles, OSHA  standards and use fire-resistant materials.

Because of Canada’s own tragic fires such as the Great Porcupine Fire of 1911, the Matheson Fire of 1916 and the Great Fire of 1922, the country was ahead of the U.S. and had in fact enacted the first version of Canada’s National Building Code in 1941. Over the years amendments have been made to the Code. And the Building Code in use today is the 2015 edition.

Second E – Enforcement

Why is there a need for enforcement?

You would think that by having fire laws in place everyone would comply. Unfortunately, you only have to look at the news to see the scores of fines that are handed out each year to realize that enforcement is a much-needed part of fire prevention.

Sadly, some of the biggest Fire Code breakers are building companies and property managers who should know better.

Fire Codes and Building Codes are not there to make life harder for people. They exist to simply protect everyone in the community. As such, they are not suggestions but regulations that must be observed at all times. 

Third E – Education

What does it mean to educate people about fire prevention?

Simply put, educating the public on fire prevention means giving systematic instruction and guidance about fire issues. It consists of making people aware of how to prevent fires and how to react in the event of a fire.

If you plan on creating content such as educational videos, blogs, or flyers here are sample questions to help you establish a series of talking points. 

·         Do people know how fires start?

·         Are people aware of how to safely put out small fires in the home or workplace?

·         Can the public identify fire safety systems?

·         Are they familiar with fire safety practices?

·         Do they have home and workplace safety plans?

·         Can they use a fire extinguisher?

·         Do they know how to contact the local fire department?

As you go through these questions, jot down any ideas of possible topics you may wish to explore and expound upon as they come to mind.

Fire Prevention is Everyone’s Responsibility

Fire prevention should be a country-wide affair. More effort needs to be made to educate people beginning with children and going all the way up to seniors. Assuming people are aware of fire and life safety is like treading on very thin ice.

In schools and workplaces, fire prevention and fire safety training can be done through systematic drills which help to condition reflex action. 

The more children and adults know, the faster their response in the event of an incident, and the higher the chances of making it out of a fire alive.

As one of Ontario’s premier fire experts, we always advise people to begin their fire prevention efforts by having an inspection done. Fire inspections of homes and workplaces serve to identify potential fire hazards and provide solutions. 

Following on from the fire assessments, we also recommend clients ensure they have a fully functional safety plan.

A fire safety plan is simply a structured document that details fire safety information for a particular building or property. Think of it as a plan that outlines how people will evacuate a building in the case of fire, highlights the maintenance requirements of the building, and ways fire will be controlled if it does occur.

If you don’t have such a safety plan in place, don’t worry. We can assist you in coming up with a tailored safety plan that reinforces these Three E’s. 

The Bottom Line

A quick look at the latest figures from Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General and we’ll see that fires are still a grave threat. Fire prevention for the home and workplace are topics that need to gain more media traction. Together we can make a difference.

If you’re concerned about fire safety and are searching for robust, intuitive, affordable fire prevention solutions in Waterloo, Ontario consider  All Protect Systems.

We offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, fire safety plans, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services.

Request a free quote today.