Archive for April, 2023

How Today’s Property Managers Are Protecting Their Investments From Fire Hazards

Posted: April 29th, 2023

Fire hazards are undoubtedly one of the greatest threats to any rental property. The damage and loss of life that can accompany fire incidents can be catastrophic.

Figures from the National Fire Incident Database (NFID) show that in 2014 there were on average 19,062 structure fires annually, of which 74% were residential, resulting in 170 fire-related deaths and 1,297 casualties.

Faced with such statistics, property managers have an important role and responsibility when it comes to protecting tenants and securing their investments from fire hazards.

The Case for a Multi-Faceted Fire Protection Approach

Property managers typically oversee several buildings. Generally, no two buildings are the same, meaning each rental property necessitates its own unique fire protection plan. This makes things slightly complex. Therefore, in order to effectively reduce fire hazards in rental properties, property managers must consider a range of factors including:

  • The type of building
  • The age of the property
  • The number of occupants
  • All possible ignition sources

To streamline the process, we’ve put together critical strategies for safeguarding rental properties.

Strategy #1 Installation of Fire Detection Devices

Fire alarms, smoke alarms, and heat detectors are just some of the fire detection devices prudent property managers are installing. The fact of the matter is that in Ontario, the Fire Code and Building Code also mandate the presence of these fire protection systems in rental properties.

Of note, smoke alarms should be mounted in common areas, kitchens, bedrooms, and hallways of rental units. Regular maintenance of these devices and an annual inspection by a professional fire specialist like Nutech Fire Protection is highly recommended. Faulty and non-functional elements should be replaced as soon as possible. With routine maintenance, however, smoke alarms can last for years and in theory can be replaced after every 10 years. 

Strategy #2 Conducting Routine Rental Property Evaluations

One of the fastest ways to prevent potential fires is by taking precautions to identify fire hazards. In doing so, you’re then able to take the necessary steps to reduce fire risk by removing said hazards such as incorrectly stored flammable materials, frayed electrical cables, and trash.

During your inspection, keep an eye out for dangerous tenant behaviour like smoking in restricted areas. If no proper smoking areas have been designated, this is an appropriate time to establish them.

Strategy #3 Taking Time to Educate Building Occupants

Tenants also have a part to play in mitigating risk and staying safe while living in the rental property. Fire protection in rental properties is a collaborative effort that requires everyone’s involvement. With that said property managers should therefore take steps to furnish tenants with information regarding fire safety.

Teach occupants how to evacuate the premises in case of a fire and also how to use fire suppression devices like fire extinguishers. Clear instructions must be given to tenants about how to address fire hazards and what to do if gas/smoke/fire is detected.

Strategy #4 Putting Together a Thorough Emergency Response Plan

The emergency plan is designed as an effective response tool that,

  • outlines evacuation routes and procedures,
  • details protocols for responding to fires, (including clear instructions for tenants on what to do in the event of an incident or other emergency)
  • highlights meeting places outside the building and,
  • provides emergency contact information.

Such plans need to be well-thought-out to complement the unique aspects of the rental unit. As such, it’s within your best interests as a property manager to engage the services of a fire specialist like Nutech Fire Protection to assist with developing suitable emergency plans. We factor in the building layout, occupancy level, and any identified fire hazards for a custom plan.

Strategy #5 Investing in Fire Suppression Mechanisms

One surefire way to protect your investment is by investing in fire suppression mechanisms such as fire sprinklers, fire doors, fire hoses, and fire extinguishers.

Fire protection experts will be able to look over your rental property and help you determine what’s needed to adequately secure your assets.

Strategy #6 Building Using Fire-Resistant Materials

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Opting for fire-resistant materials from the start can work in your favour should a fire incident break out because these substances are designed to slow down the spread of fire thereby limiting potential damage.

Examples of fire-resistant materials that property managers should consider are gypsum board, brick, stucco, and concrete. Fire-resistant glass windows, fire-resistant insulation, and fire-resistant doors are also worth a mention.

Strategy #7 Adhering to Building Codes and Regulations

Building codes and regulations exist for a reason. It’s not to complicate your life but to safeguard your investment and tenants. Are your rental properties up to standard and adhering to applicable Hamilton building codes and regulations?

If you’re planning on any upgrades, additions and renovations, make sure that all work respects provincial building codes and is compliant with fire regulations.

Noteworthy Considerations

It’s worthwhile to also consider implementing a strict no-smoking policy (except within approved spaces). Let the policy carry with it hefty fines and eviction warnings. These can serve to deter bad behaviour. 

Fire drills to ensure that tenants are aware of fire safety protocols can prove to be a game-changer in the event of an incident. With fire safety training people will know how to react, instead of panic, which lowers the risk of injuries and fatalities. This also increases the odds that small fires can be contained before turning into blazes that could destroy an entire rental property.

The Bottom Line

Protecting your investment doesn’t have to be difficult. Armed with the key strategies highlighted above and assisted by Nutech Fire Protection, an experienced fire expert, property managers in Hamilton can take steps to preserve rental properties from fire hazards today.

Whether you’re in need of smoke alarm installations, monthly and annual fire suppression system maintenance or inspection, require guidance with developing an emergency plan, or assistance understanding building codes and regulations, our team is here to help.

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

Request a free quote today.

Looking for more insight? Check out these previous posts:

What You Need to Know About Proper Gas Detection & Monitoring

Posted: April 20th, 2023

Ontario area businesses with a confined space, as determined by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), must conduct atmospheric testing to safeguard their workers. Atmospheric testing includes both gas detection and monitoring for various types of gases.

CCOHS regulation 632/05 for confined spaces spells out Ontario businesses’ testing and monitoring requirements. A trained and qualified person must test the air as often as necessary, or if workers are always present, you must monitor the space continuously.

What are Gas Monitors?

Gas monitors are devices that continuously sample the air for the presence of potentially harmful quantities of certain gases. They can either be stationary or portable, and they set off an alarm when it detects the target concentration of a gas. The five most common types of gas detection are:

  • Electrochemical (EC) Industrial Gas Detectors. ECs convert gas into an electrical current. Residential smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are both ECs.
  • Micro-Electromechanical (MEMS) Based Industrial Gas Detectors. MEMS detectors measure thermal changes in the nearby gases and air with an embedded heater and thermometer.
  • Pellistor/Catalytic Bead (CB) Industrial Gas Detectors. CBs have been around for over a century and use catalytic combustion to measure dangerous gases at Lower Explosive Level (LEL) concentrations.
  • Infrared (OPIR/PIR/NDIR) Industrial Gas Sensors. Commonly used in the mining, transportation, and oil/gas industries, infrared sensors measure harmful gases by comparing the reaction of different infrared wavelengths to the ambient air.
  • Photoionization (PID) Gas Sensors. PIDs are efficient and inexpensive detectors that can operate continuously to detect a wide variety of harmful or inert gases.

Which Types of Gases Should be Monitored?

CCOHS requires certain businesses to monitor the air quality in confined spaces to ensure worker safety. Dangerous air quality can result from any of the following conditions:

  • Toxic gases – different chemical or biological substances such as: 
    • hydrogen Sulfide
    • Carbon Monoxide
    • Nitrogen Oxides
    • Ozone
    • Solvents
  • Combustible and flammable gases such as:
    • Hydrogen 
    • Methane 
    • Propane 
    • Iso-butane
  • Oxygen – both too much and too little oxygen can be dangerous

Which Gas Monitor Do You Need?

Workplace safety is a primary concern for every Ontario business, so choosing the proper gas detector is vital. Every situation is different, so consider the following factors when selecting a gas monitor for your facility.

Risk assessment. Identify the types of gases that require monitoring and the size of the confined space. Any unsafe level of contaminants can be fatal, so you need to perform a comprehensive study of the types of gases that will appear in your workplace. Furthermore, regularly reevaluate your equipment and space to determine if it requires changes to the gas detection system.

Learn about all of the features of the available gas monitors for your application. Once you’ve identified the potentially harmful gases for your location, you need to understand how the different gas monitors operate. 

  • Does the detector use a diffusion or sample draw method? 
  • Does it monitor one or more types of gases? 
  • Is it classified for intrinsic safety?  

Also, consider the operational specifications for the monitor you want to use. Pay close attention to the following factors:

  • Monitor Accuracy. Accurate readings make your workplace safer.
  • Cross-Sensitivities. Monitors that react to more than one gas can skew readings.
  • Response Time. Short response times are safer.
  • User-Friendly Interface. Easy-to-understand monitors require less training.

Choosing the correct gas detectors and monitors for your facility can be challenging, and you need to stay on top of changes to code and technologies. If you prefer to delegate this responsibility to highly trained professionals, look no further than Ontario’s All Protect Systems

They’ve been a preferred life-safety partner for Ontario area businesses since 1996. Call them today to learn about their gas detection services.


5 Signs You Need a Better Fire Safety System

Posted: April 15th, 2023

SGI Canada reports a growing number of structural fires in the country citing on average, more than 24,000 structural fires per year. From these fires, there are at least 377 fatalities and more than 3,048 injuries. 

In Hamilton, the local newspaper Hamilton Spectator pits 2022 residential structure fires at 323, the highest since 2013. Damages to property amount to billions of CAD every single year. Fire safety is key in protecting both people and assets and as such property managers should be concerned with the mitigation of fire risk.

So, how can you know whether your existing fire safety system meets the necessary Canadian standards? In this post, we discuss five tell-tale signs you need a better fire safety system, also taking into account relevant statistics and research. 

Sign #1 Lack of Adequate Fire Detection Devices

Fire detection devices form the foundation of a fire safety system. Without elements such as fire alarms and heat detectors, you’re missing out on one of the most essential components that’ll help keep your building and tenants safe.

It’s not enough, however, to have a handful of these devices installed across the premises. You must have an adequate amount to fully cover the building. The best way to determine what’s proper is by consulting with a fire specialist like Nutech Fire Protection.

The next thing to be aware of regarding fire detection devices is the necessity to check that they’re working. We’re referring here to the need for routine maintenance checks at least once a month by an in-house warden and then annually by a professional. Don’t skimp out on these checks because Hamilton’s fire department reports that just over half of the homes (54.4%) in the city have functional working alarms. This is shocking and should be corrected to prevent fatalities, injuries, and property damage.

The same goes for commercial properties. Malfunctioning fire detection devices can result in fire detection delays, which can lead to major damage and more casualties among occupants. And speaking of absent or outdated equipment, here’s the next sign.

Sign #2 Obsolete Fire Safety Equipment

Did you know that modern high-pressure water mist systems are capable of putting out 90% of fires and using less water compared to traditional sprinkler systems? Yes, this is according to research carried out by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). Not only is this great for the environment but it also reduces water damage. Why else is this favourable?

It gives you an opportune moment to pause and look into the state of your fire safety equipment. Is it outdated or obsolete? If yes, then it is time to upgrade the entire system. In a constantly evolving world, you can’t afford to maintain dated fire safety technology. Ensure your building and tenants have the best level of protection available on the market today. 

Sign #3 Insufficient Fire Suppression Measures

Fire safety equipment (e.g. fire alarms, smoke detectors) needs to be complemented by an adequate set of fire suppression measures for good outcomes. Examples of fire suppression measures include fire hoses, fire extinguishers and automatic fire suppression systems. A property lacking an adequate amount of fire suppression mechanisms is one that certainly needs improvement.

The NFID states that in 44% of residential fires reported across Canada, there were no fire suppression measures in place when the incident occurred. This means just over half of all homes in Canada have access to fully functioning fire suppression systems.

The reason fire suppression systems are so important is the role they play in containing fires before they get out of hand. These systems can be the gateway giving residents time to evacuate and or limit the amount of damage done to their properties.

Sign #4 Inadequate Emergency Exit Routes

Canada’s Building Code alongside the various provincial Fire Codes is clear about the necessity of having enough unobstructed emergency exits in buildings. These codes mandate that all residential, commercial and industrial buildings have clearly marked, well-maintained, and clutter-free emergency exits routes.

It’s not hard to see why this is so pivotal. Emergency exits allow for safe evacuation in the event of a fire. If there aren’t enough of them or the exits are obstructed in any way, this can slow down rescue and evacuation efforts, increasing the risk for those inside.

The best way to determine whether your building has enough fire exits is to have a professional carefully assess the building plan and conduct a walk-through to ensure emergency doors aren’t locked and hallways are unobstructed.

Sign #5 No Fire Safety Training and Safety Plans

Fire suppression systems and fire safety measures make sense to the degree to which the building occupants are trained and informed on fire safety protocol. That’s where fire safety training comes into play.

It’s through such training initiatives that people get to know how to actually use for example fire extinguishers correctly and how to evacuate a building swiftly and safely. Having the proper equipment is among the first steps of fire safety but this needs to be complemented with comprehensive training and education on fire safety best practices.

Where can you find people to train your employees or building tenants? Fire specialists like the team at Nutech Fire Prevention are able to provide tailored fire prevention, evacuation procedure, and correct use of fire safety equipment training to individuals and groups.

That’s not all as we’re also capable of devising a fire safety plan to meet your property’s unique needs.

Get the Technical Assistance You Need in Hamilton

Business owners and property managers in Hamilton, Ontario can reach out to our team here at Nutech Fire Prevention. We’ve got the expertise and experience to assess your building and address signs you need a better fire safety system. Our relevant suggestions can help improve existing fire safety systems.

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

Request a free quote today.

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