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.