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 And speaking of absent or outdated equipment, here’s the next sign.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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