Depending on the type of business you’re operating, the Ontario Fire Code requires you to hold fire safety drills at various intervals. According to the type of occupancy, the frequency of fire drills for supervisory staff can vary from each month to annually. The frequency and scope of your building’s fire drill procedure must be fully documented in your fire safety plan and be reviewed periodically as your building structure and usage change.
While the code requires regular fire safety drills for the supervisory staff, it does not always require the building occupants to participate. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t encourage the participation of all your building’s occupants. Let’s discuss five of the benefits of fire safety drills which include your building’s occupants.
Learn by doing
While verbal commands, diagrams, memos, and signs are all helpful in getting your building’s occupants prepared to deal with an emergency, nothing compares to learning through experience. Most people learn a process best by performing it, and while evacuating a building may seem like a simple task, during an emergency, it can be a harrowing experience.
The fire horns are designed to be annoying to force the building’s occupants to leave the premises, but the noise and lights also cause anxiety levels to rise. When under stress, people don’t usually make good decisions. When your occupants have practiced exiting the building while the horns and strobes are going off during a fire safety drill, they’ll be much calmer and confident about it during a genuine emergency.
Fire safety plans and evacuation routes are developed before the building has been put to use. It’s all too common that hallways get cluttered with excess furniture, and emergency exit doors can get obstructed by deliveries or outgoing trash.
Of course, the periodic visits from the Ontario Fire Marshall can be a sobering reminder to keep your escape routes open and clean, but he may not get there before a real emergency. If you hold fire safety drills with your building occupants, problems with your evacuation schemes become apparent during the exercise.
Fire alarm testing
While the fire code already requires periodic testing of fire alarms, testing them during a building evacuation provides even better feedback. When the building is fully inhabited during a normal operating situation, the ability of the fire alarm notification appliance devices (horns, strobes, and voice) is put to the test. They must get the attention of all of the building’s inhabitants wherever they may be.
If there are gaps in the coverage of the alarm systems notification network, the building inhabitants can notice this during your periodic fire safety drills. Encourage everyone involved to let you know if they experienced any delay in realizing that the alarm had gone off.
Most businesses are frequently making changes to the way it uses building spaces and staff turnover is often high. One of the many benefits of fire safety drills that include all of the building occupants is that you realize what parts of your fire safety plan have become obsolete and need adjustment. Encourage the occupants to look for problems with all aspects of your fire evacuation scheme.
Depending on the occupancy of your building, the fire code may require all of your building’s staff to participate in a fire safety drill at least once per year. You can research the code yourself, contact the Ontario Fire Marshall, or check with the fire safety experts at All Protect Systems to find out the requirements for your business.
All Protect Systems can improve your fire safety drills by taking care of your fire safety plan, fire alarm, and emergency and exit lighting. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!
What does it mean that a fire extinguisher is tagged? And must all fire extinguishers be tagged?
To answer simply, a tagged fire extinguisher is one that bears a fire tag. And yes, all fire extinguishers must be tagged.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
In this post, we’re going to go right to the beginning and talk about all things related to the fire extinguisher tags. Make sure you read till the end for our best-kept fire extinguisher tips.
Without further ado, let’s dive right on in.
What is a Fire Tag?
A fire tag is a detailed label that is attached to a fire extinguisher. This marker is placed on the canister by a certified fire inspector after an assessment.
The ticket stores the inspection observations and results. The assessment is mandated by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and serves to ensure that fire extinguishers on any given premise are in working order.
Is it Necessary for Fire Extinguishers to be Tagged?
Whether you have a fire extinguisher for your home, car, or business, the NFPA requires that each extinguisher is tagged. This means all fire extinguishers must be routinely checked. This is often carried out,
· On a monthly basis
· On an annual basis
· Every six years
· Periodically – a hydrostatic material inspection
These are visual inspections of fire extinguishers. As the homeowner, you can perform the check yourself. However, within a company, the safety personnel bear the responsibility of assessment. The month and year are noted on the fire tag alongside the initials of the person who conducted the inspection
Monthly assessments confirm whether the canisters are in good working condition and are being stored correctly. You’re checking for damage, blockage in the hose, charge pressure, and the state of the safety seal.
These are more in-depth and require a certified fire inspector to conduct them. This is because they must check the mechanical parts, the canister’s delivery system and the fire-fighting agent.
All findings must be noted down on the fire tag including the agency and inspection month and date.
These are similar to the annual fire extinguisher checks. What differentiates them is that in six-year inspections, pressurized extinguishers are emptied of their fire-suppressing agents before the examination.
After the internal assessment, they are refilled, re-pressurized and tagged with a tamper-resistant seal.
The six-year observations must all be written onto the fire tag. And on a different metallic label that’s attached to the canister, the same inspections must be recorded.
Hydrostatic materials inspections
Specialist fire professionals carry out hydrostatic inspections in the following manner.
Water, CO2, and wet-chemical fire extinguishers are to be inspected every five years.
And dry-chemical fire canisters every 12 years.
After the hydrostatic testing, the canisters are individually recharged and sealed. Inspectors note down all they’ve observed on the hang tag as well as the metal tag that’s on the fire extinguisher.
What Sort of Information is Recorded on a Fire Extinguisher Tag?
Fire tags are filled with a host of important information about the fire extinguisher including:
· Model/serial number
· Canister expiration date
· Active agent within the canister
· The charged (or not charged) status of the extinguisher
That’s not all. But you’ll also be able to glean information about the last inspection date as well as the fire inspector who conducted the assessment.
Not only does this data provide invaluable information regarding the reliability of the fire extinguisher, but it also ensures that each fire extinguisher complies with the NFPA regulations and any other national or provincial fire codes.
What’s the Lifespan of Fire Extinguisher Tags?
In general, because fire extinguishers are supposed to be inspected at least once per year, it is safe to say that the tags are good for up to 12 months.
You can easily determine the lifespan by checking out the month and year of the last inspection which should be clearly recorded on the tag.
How do You Correctly Read Fire Extinguisher Tags?
Contrary to popular belief, reading fire tags isn’t as difficult as some would think. Simply because the information presented on the tags is simple enough to understand.
You’ll be able to deduce the fire canister’s model number, and see when it was last serviced and by whom. The status and the expiration date of the fire extinguisher will also be expressly spelled out typically on the bottom. The words you may see include ‘recharged’, ‘new’ or ‘serviced’.
If there’s anything you don’t understand regarding fire tags, the best thing to do is to consult your local fire inspector.
What Else Should I Know About Fire Tags?
Is there anything else that you should ideally be aware of regarding fire extinguisher tags?
Yes, there’s one thing that’s worth noting and this relates to internal fire extinguisher assessments. If the contents of the canisters were examined, the NFPA mandates that a verification-of-service collar be attached around the neck of the fire extinguisher.
The information recorded onto the tag should highlight the name of the person or agency that conducted the internal examination alongside the month and year of the inspection.
Now, onto some fire extinguisher tips.
Stay Safe With These Fire Extinguisher Tips
These practical tips promote good fire safety in the home and the workplace.
· Mount fire extinguishers where they can be clearly seen and accessed
· Store your fire extinguishers in an upright position at all times
· Fire wardens must be trained and employees know how to use fire extinguishers
· Routinely service fire extinguishers
· Keep pathways to fire extinguishers unobstructed
Get Your Fire Extinguishers Inspected Today
If your fire extinguishers are due for an inspection or you don’t remember when they were last inspected and would like to have certified inspectors examine them, our All Protect technicians are ready to help.
Our service offering goes beyond assessments, however. We also 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 for businesses in Hamilton, Ontario.
Among fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers are a first-line defence mechanism to contain small fires in the home or workplace. However, they are of little use if you don’t know how to operate them correctly.
That’s why we’ve written this post, to help teach you how to expertly operate a fire extinguisher.
However, before we get to the mechanics of operation, you must know which fire extinguisher to use to suppress the different types of fire.
Make Use Of The Proper Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are filled with various dousing agents to put out particular types of fires. Some extinguisher types won’t work on certain kinds of fires, while others can even worsen the fire. Ensure you are aware of the fire’s fuel before attempting to extinguish it, and only do so if you have the appropriate fire extinguisher.
Class A: Suitable for typical combustible flames and fires involving wood, rubber, paper, various polymers, and textiles. A water or foam extinguishing agent is used.
Class B: Appropriate for oil, grease, and fuel fires. Carbon dioxide, or a dry chemical, serves as the extinguishing agent.
Class C: Suitable for charged electrical fires. Carbon dioxide or a dry chemical are the suppressing agents.
Class D: For use with flammable metals. The extinguishing substance is a dry and powdered chemical.
Class K: Suitable for cooking fires, including those involving fat, grease, and oil. The chemical used to put out a fire can be wet or dry.
Class ABC: This all-purpose fire extinguisher, designated, is effective against Class A, B, and C fires. Dry chemicals are used as extinguishing agents.
How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher Optimally
Each type of portable fire extinguisher can be distinguished from the others by labelling and colour coding. Make sure the fire extinguisher you want to use is appropriate for the type of fire you are dealing with. For example, you should never use a water extinguisher on a fire involving electrical equipment.
Modern portable fire extinguishers are used in four (4) fundamental steps.
The acronym PASS refers to these four fundamental processes.
Break the seal by pulling the pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin prevents the handle from unintentionally being pressed and activates the extinguisher when it is in place. Test the extinguisher right away. This is done to ensure the extinguisher works and prove to the user how far the stream can reach.
Standing a safe distance away, approach the flames. Direct the nozzle or outlet at the fire’s source.
To release the extinguishing agent inside, squeeze the handles simultaneously. Release the handles to halt discharge.
Move the nozzle side to side to aim the extinguishing agent at the flames’ base as you get closer to the fire. After putting out the fire, look for any lingering smouldering embers that could rekindle the fuel.
Now to some fire extinguisher tips.
Operating Fire Extinguisher Tips
Tip #1 Call for assistance
Before attempting to put out a fire, call for assistance. A fire may spread out of control faster than you think. It is smart to have assistance on the way.
Tip #2 Know an escape route
Before going near the fire, choose a secure escape route. Do not allow the flames, heat, or smoke to obstruct your escape route.
Tip #3 Train people how to operate extinguishers
Ensure everyone in the house or business knows where, when and how to use fire extinguishers.
Tip #4 Know when to discharge a fire extinguisher
Always use an extinguisher only when it’s safe to do so. Get out if in doubt.
Tip #5 Routine maintenance is key
Schedule your extinguishers for routine checks by professionals. Doing it yourself can result in you pulling out the safety pin (which also breaks the plastic seal) rendering the extinguishers ineffective.
Tip #6 Partner up with another trained person
For safety reasons, always try to work in pairs.
Awareness Of The Importance Of Maintaining Fire Extinguishers
As a property manager or homeowner, you should be scheduling routine maintenance checks for your fire extinguishers to ensure compliance with provincial Fire Code regulations and fire safety protocol. Fire professionals will check that:
The pressure range is optimal
There are gauges on many extinguishers that indicate when the pressure is too high or too low. Pressure testing may also be done and the extinguisher recharged.
The working parts are in good order
The cylinder, hoses, and nozzles are carefully inspected to make sure they are dent-free, scratch-free, or corrosion-free.
The canisters are clean and unobstructed
Any dirt, grease, or oil on the extinguisher’s exterior that could potentially block discharge is cleared.
Where to Get In-Person Fire Extinguisher Training?
Individuals in Hamilton can contact their local fire department if they want to learn more or have queries about fire extinguisher use. Alternatively, fire specialists like Nutech Fire Prevention can assist businesses with on-site training of employees and designated fire
Nutech Fire Prevention also offers 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.
Are you shopping around for fire suppression systems and want to know which are the most effective?
There’s no getting around the fact that the dangers of fire within the home or office are real. With numerous fire hazards such as volatile liquids, gas burners, and electrical systems, it’s imperative that every property owner ensure their building is fitted with the latest and best in fire suppression mechanisms.
Before we explore these systems, however, let’s first explain what they are and what they do.
What is a Fire Suppression System?
Safeopedia.com provides us with a comprehensive definition of what a fire suppression system is:
“…it is an engineered set of components that are designed to extinguish an accidental fire, typically in a workplace but also potentially in a transport vehicle or other site of interest.”
Contain the fire by releasing the suppressing agent or,
Completely extinguish the blaze through the application of a suppressing agent.
These systems are trying to prevent the fire from growing and spreading; thus it can be said fire suppression systems are created to save lives and reduce potential property damage.
Now, with this background, let’s look at three of the most common fire suppression systems in use.
3 Common Fire Suppression Systems
1. Chemical Foam Systems
Dry chemical fire suppression systems are a type of fire protection equipment that uses a chemical powder to snuff out fires.
The two major chemicals relied upon by this system to function are namely mono-ammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate. These powders are stored in a pressurized tank and discharged when the system is either electrically or manually activated.
How They Work
There is a valve on the pressurized tank that’s automatically opened when the fire is detected. The dry powder flows along the piping system and is released from the nozzles. The powder smothers the fire by removing the oxygen component needed to keep fires blazing.
Easy to use
No damage to electrical appliances
Great for use in large industrial spaces such as off-loading warehouses and labs
They are non-conductive therefore perfect for use on flammable liquid fires involving electrical appliances
Chemical systems are expensive
Installation requires stainless steel fittings and piping
2. Pressurized Gas Systems
Pressurized gas systems are another popular fire suppression system in Canada. The majority work by absorbing heat.
Gas systems are preferred for protecting rooms with high-end electronics like data and server rooms.
The most common gaseous agents used in these systems include inergen, Novec 1230 and FM 200.
Inergen is an inert gas safe to discharge even when people are in a building. It’s comprised of 52% nitrogen, 40% argon, and 8% carbon dioxide.
Inergen’s advantages are that it’s safe, non-toxic and non-corrosive. The fact that it’s highly affordable and easy to replace makes it a favourable option. It also doesn’t reduce visibility in a room and there is no residue left over.
The disadvantages of inergen include the need for elaborate hardware that’s able to withstand high pressures. Plus the necessity for a considerable number of storage cylinders on site to store the gas.
Novec 1230 is still quite a new gaseous fire suppression agent in Canada. Brought over from mainland Europe as a liquid, it becomes a vapour when it is discharged and suppresses fire through heat absorption.
Novec 1230’s advantages include its short atmospheric lifetime of just 5 days compared to the 33 years of most halocarbon agents. This makes it an excellent option for use in residential and commercial spaces. Furthermore, its potential capacity to deplete the ozone is zero.
Novec 1230 must be stored in tanks that are within a 30 m radius of the property being protected.
The halocarbon must be discharged at an elevated pressure in order to be effective. But fortunately, it poses no harm to electrical appliances, books or artwork.
A halocarbon gas, FM 200 is designed to suppress fire through heat absorption. It’s generally stored in a liquid state and released in gaseous form.
FM 200’s major disadvantages include it being a noxious gas that presents significant health challenges if discharged when people are still inside the building. Its use has also been linked to global warming because of some of its decomposition by-products. To top it all, the gas itself is one of the most expensive inert gases to replace.
3. Water-Based Systems
The majority of fire suppression systems are water-based and exist in the form of automatic sprinkler systems. They are the most effective at containing fires and preventing excessive property damage and severe injuries to people. Water-based fire extinguishing mechanisms are suitable for residential and commercial use.
Water-based suppression apparatus is available as water mist systems, wet pipe systems, dry pipe systems and pre-action systems. A consult with a fire specialist will inform you of the most appropriate system for your property.
All sprinkler systems must be designed and installed by experienced professionals. They must also be manufactured by a qualified firm in order to conform to NFPA 13.
How They Work
The water sprinklers are connected to the main water supply or to an independent reservoir. In the event of a fire, the water-based fire suppression system will be triggered by temperature rises in the environment and discharge a water mist to extinguish the flames. This mist is released at a rate of 100 litres per sprinkler per minute.
Most affordable fire suppression system
Are not affected by adverse weather conditions
Remain effective even amidst toxic fumes and dense smoke
Easy to install and replace
Leaves no toxic residue
Water-based fire suppression systems can damage electronic appliances
Invest in Fire Suppression Systems Today
Are you ready to invest in fire suppression systems?
Nutech Fire Prevention offers businesses and homeowners in Hamilton an array of high-end fire suppression systems. We’ve got systems to meet all types of budgets and needs.
That’s not all however as we also 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.