What Is Gas Sensor Calibration?
Gas sensors, like any sensor that measures a variable value, require regular calibration. During calibration, gas sensors are tested to see if they can provide an accurate reading of the gas concentration to which it’s exposed.
If the gas sensor misreads the gas concentration, the calibration process automatically adjusts the sensor to read it correctly. Calibration ensures the alignment between the measuring instrument and the measured variable. Adhering to a proper gas sensor calibration schedule ensures that it reads gas concentrations correctly.
Why Do Gas Sensors Require Regular Calibration?
Gas sensors lose their accuracy through a process of calibration drift. Calibration drift refers to slow changes in gauge responsiveness. Over time, the sensor’s readings can become too sensitive or not sensitive enough. Numerous factors contribute to this drift, such as:
- Environment. A gas sensor’s sensitivity suffers when operating in harsh environments or stored in extreme temperatures. High humidity or dense concentrations of air particulates can also degrade a sensor’s calibration.
- “Poisoning.” Extremely high concentrations of the intended gas can also lead to calibration drift.
- Time. As your gas sensor ages, the chemical composition and electronic alignment of your sensors degrade.
- Damage. Unfavorable storage or operating conditions can damage a gas sensor. Drops, exposure to water, or other physical contacts can reduce sensitivity. Regular vibrations or the jostling of equipment result in excessive and premature calibration drift.
Eventually, the calibration drift is so extreme that you can no longer calibrate your gas sensor. At this point, you need to replace the sensor.
What Is the Correct Gas Sensor Calibration Schedule?
How often gas sensors require calibration is a common question, and it depends on various factors. The Canadian regulatory agency, the Occupational Health and Safety, recommends that owners follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and that the safest and most secure method of verifying a gas sensor’s reliability is daily testing by direct exposure to the targeted gas. This process is often referred to as a “bump test.”
However, your gas sensor calibration needs ultimately depend on your usage and application. Different users require unique gas sensor calibration schedules. Two divergent types of gas sensor users include:
- Critical gas sensor user. An organization may require gas sensor calibration that it can present in a court of law. To remove any doubt about the accuracy of the readings, this user needs to calibrate the sensor before and after each test or series of tests.
- Less frequent gas sensor user. Other organizations may use their sensors much less frequently. They may only use their gas sensors a few times each year for less critical situations. Such sensors only need require calibration after each use.
Most users fall in between these two extremes, so you should tailor a gas sensor calibration schedule to your needs. Always consult your manufacturer for their recommendations.
What to Consider When Setting Your Gas Sensor Calibration Schedule?
Besides manufacturer recommendations, you need to assess your gas sensor use when considering your calibration schedule. You may want to start by calibrating them once per week, and if they require minimal adjustment, you can extend the time between calibrations. If you notice that the sensor requires a larger adjustment, you should reduce the interval between calibrations.
Learning the behaviors and requirements of your gas sensors can take time. On the other hand, you can hire professionals to do it for you. The highly trained and experienced technicians at All Protect Systems, Inc. can handle all of your gas sensor needs.
Proudly serving Ontario since 1996, they can handle your fire alarm, fire hose, and emergency lighting needs. Call them today to find out how they can help keep your business safe!
Like all electronics, gas sensors wear out over time and require replacement. You can expect typical electromechanical sensors for ordinary gases like hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide to last between two and three years under normal conditions. Sensors that test for rarer gases, such as hydrogen fluoride, degrade sooner and require replacement as soon as 12-18 months.
What Are the Ideal Conditions for Maximum Gas Sensor Longevity?
Environmental conditions in your building play a large part in your gas sensors’ life span. A temperature of 20 °C with a relative humidity of 60 percent will give your gas sensors the longest possible life. In fact, with such favorable conditions, electromechanical sensors have functioned properly for more than 11 years.
Occasional contact with the toxic gases themselves doesn’t degrade the sensor’s tiny fuel cells. Reputable manufacturers produce sensors with ample amounts of catalyst material, so high-quality sensors don’t degrade with normal use.
Another variable to consider when estimating a gas sensor’s lifespan is its “shelf” or “storage” life. When stored at the recommended temperature of 20 °C, they should only last for six months from the date of manufacture. So it would be best if you didn’t try to keep many on hand unless you plan on replacing them soon.
How To Anticipate Gas Sensor Replacement?
If you know how long your sensor will last, you’re in a better position to plan its replacement. With such knowledge, you could have the sensors on hand with a minimum of storage time, reduce equipment downtime, and limit service calls.
On the one hand, you want to get the longest possible use out of a sensor, but on the other, if you stretch it out too long, the sensors may lose adequate sensitivity and fail between service visits. Conversely, if you schedule your replacements based solely on the manufacturers’ recommendations, you may often throw money away replacing sensors with substantial life left in them.
What Factors Cause Your Sensors Quickly?
Unfavorable humidity and temperature levels are the two factors most likely to degrade your gas sensors. If your building’s environment varies from the manufacturer’s recommendations for extended periods, it reduces your gas sensors’ life span.
Typical manufacturer specifications for gas sensors specify an operating temperature range of between -30 and +50 °C. The highest quality H2S or CO sensors can withstand short-term exposure to temps as high as 60-65 °C. However, keep in mind that repeated exposure to high temperatures causes the sensor’s electrolyte to evaporate, which can skew the baseline reading and impair its response time.
While gas sensors operate at temperatures as low as -40 °C, they lose as much as 85 percent of their sensitivity past -30 °C. Their electrolytes can also freeze when it reaches -35 °C.
Extreme humidity is the most detrimental environmental factor for your gas sensors, and 60 percent relative humidity is ideal. Above that level, the sensor’s electrolytes absorb water from the air, which dilutes it. In extreme humidity, the sensor’s liquid content can rise by a factor of two or three and eventually leak through the body and pins.
When the humidity is too low, the sensor begins to dehydrate. Dry gas sensors have slower response times.
Whether fixed or portable, gas sensors are a necessary life safety device and required for certain buildings by the Ontario Fire Code. You must test and replace them when they fail.
If your daily responsibilities don’t allow you enough time to stay on top of your gas sensor testing and replacement, then contact the fire safety experts at All Protect Systems, Inc. They’ve been providing the greater Ontario area with fire alarm systems, fire extinguishers, emergency/exit lighting, and gas detection systems since 1996.
Regular fire drills are a vital component of your company’s life safety and property protection needs. They’re also required by law, according to the Ontario Fire Code. You must conduct fire drills in all commercial buildings at least every year, while certain buildings require them every three months.
Despite a fire drill’s importance to the building’s occupants, their required frequency can make them a monotonous routine. Proactive building managers should avoid complacency and make their fire drills as useful as possible. Try some of the techniques below to improve your organization’s fire preparedness.
Consult your local Fire Marshall. The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall has loads of helpful material on its website, and you can contact them directly to get suggestions and guidance on how best to structure your fire drills for maximum benefit. Fire is their business, and you can benefit from their years of fire experience.
Develop a fire team. Establish a group of safety leaders within your organization with representatives from each department. They can designate an outdoor meeting place for their members and verify that everyone has left the building during the drill.
Design optimum evacuation routes. After consultation with your local fire marshall, design safe and efficient exit pathways from every corner of your building. Post these routes in the appropriate areas and hand out copies to your staff. Make sure that everyone knows the best way to safety.
Use different fire scenarios. Fire drills should mimic real-life situations, and fires are disruptive events. Stairways, doors, and even whole sections of a building may be inaccessible during a fire. Each fire drill should emulate a different possible fire scenario, so design each exercise with a fire starting in various parts of the building. Ensure the staff is aware that the hypothetically affected areas are off-limits, and they have to use alternative evacuation routes.
Perform extra fire drills. Ontario regulations may only require one per year or every three months, but if you want your staff to be ready for a fire, schedule them more frequently. Every coach knows that their players can’t play any better than they practice, so they make sure that come game time, they’re ready for action. Consider holding fire drills once or twice per month until you feel your staff is comfortable and precise during all sorts of evacuation scenarios.
Execute fire drills at various times. It can be tempting to use the least disruptive times of the day for your fire drills, but your staff can become habituated to this. Try early morning and late afternoons as well as different days of the week to keep everyone sharp. Eventually, your team becomes ready for a fire drill, or an actual fire, at any time of the day.
Be observant. While a fire drill is in progress, pay close attention to the activities of your team leaders and the rest of the staff. Observe how closely they’re following your plan, and make as many notes as possible. Afterward, communicate your observations to the responsible parties. You don’t need to scold; just offer constructive criticism on how everyone’s performance can improve for the next drill.
Fire Drills are a crucial part of your organization’s overall fire safety plan. Avoid complacency and try to make your fire drills as effective as possible. If you don’t feel that you have the time or expertise to design and implement the above strategies, then look for expert help.
The fire and life safety specialists at All Protect Systems, Inc. can help you make your company’s fire drills productive and efficient. Not only that, they can serve all your fire protection needs, including alarms, extinguishers, hoses, and fire safety plans. Call them today to see what they can do for you!
Your building’s fire safety equipment is one of the most critical systems for protecting property and lives. Everything ages and degrades over time, and new technologies can make older equipment obsolete. However, when something has served you well for years, you may be hesitant to replace it.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”
Like many others, you’ve probably learned this lesson countless times during life when some well-intentioned preventative maintenance or optimistic upgrade went astray, and you wish you had let sleeping dogs lie. Unfortunately, this sort of thinking can be dangerous when it comes to fire safety since there are several good reasons to upgrade a system that seems to be serving its purpose.
Does Age Affect Fire Safety Equipment?
Yes, all sorts of fire safety equipment deteriorate over time. Whether it’s fire alarm devices, active fire suppression, or passive fire protection, they get old and need replacing and upgrading. For example, suggested replacement dates for various components include:
- Fire control panel. The Ontario Fire Code mandates that fire alarms undergo a thorough inspection every year, and if you start noticing problems after 10 years, it might be time for an upgrade. You should certainly replace and upgrade any system older than 20 years.
- Smoke detectors. NFPA recommends replacing and upgrading them every 10 years.
- Fire extinguishers. Any dry chemical extinguisher manufactured prior to 1984 shall be removed from service, extinguishers must be inspected annually and serviced at regular intervals, in accordance with NFPA Standards.
- Passive fire protection. Fire doors, partitions, dampers, and walls endure much use, and upgrades are possible.
Has the Building Layout Changed?
As your business evolves, the layout of both the office area or warehouse may change. When this occurs, you need to revisit your fire safety plan and start thinking about relocating or upgrading your fire safety equipment. Sometimes, it might be as simple as a quantitative upgrade in the number of horn strobes or heat detectors. Perhaps you need to add another fire extinguisher, or by repurposing a building section, you may need to upgrade your firewalls.
Has the Fire Code Changed?
While the basics of fire safety remain stable, the Ontario Fire Code does occasionally change. Even subtle changes may affect your building’s compliance to code and require you to upgrade your system.
Have You Added on to the Building?
If you add a new elevator, wing, or floor to the building, you have to reconsider your entire fire safety system. During additions, upgrades to your fire alarm and passive protection are routine.
Is Your System Having Trouble?
If your fire safety equipment starts requiring a lot of maintenance, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Components fail over time, and service calls can become expensive as well as disrupt the workplace. If your fire safety equipment needs frequent service, consider investing in an upgrade. It will save money over the long term and deliver superior performance and functionality.
Can Fire Safety Upgrades Lower Your Insurance Bill?
Only your insurance agent can say for sure, so you need to check with him. However, it’s a fact that insurance companies reward investments that lower risk, and investing in the latest fire safety equipment is an excellent way to protect lives and property. You may be eligible for premium discounts while maintaining your coverage.
Usually, owners and administrators have their hands full with day to day responsibilities of running their businesses. If you feel unsure about whether or not to upgrade your fire safety equipment, it’s always a good idea to consult the experts.
All Protect Systems Inc. has been servicing and upgrading fire safety equipment since 1996. They stay abreast of the latest technologies and code changes so that you can focus on your specialty. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!
According to Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General, of the 113,111 fires between 2009 to 2018, 47 percent of them occurred in residential dwellings. Apartment building fires can be costly in terms of lives and property, so it’s incumbent upon the apartment’s owner or administrator to make sure that his building’s fire safety plan is up to code.
If you’re not familiar with the Ontario code for apartment building fire safety plans, you may wish to consult an expert. The All Protect Systems team has years of training and experience with Ontario’s regulations and is on a first-name basis with many local inspectors. If you don’t have the time or energy to learn everything about local fire codes and keep up to date your building’s fire safety plan, then give them a call to find out how they can help you with all of your fire safety needs.
What Is the Ontario Code for Apartment Building Fire Safety Plans?
Established by the Ministry of the Solicitor General under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act of 1997, the Ontario Fire Code regulates the minimum requirements for fire safety within and around existing apartment buildings. Unless otherwise specified, it’s the building owner’s responsibility to adhere to these regulations.
The code requires a fire safety plan for any building that houses more than ten people. It must include provisions for fire prevention, evacuation, and emergency response.
Do Fire Safety Plans Require Adjustment?
Yes, the fire code is a dynamic set of regulations that is continually evolving. Even if the code hasn’t changed, your building probably has. Astute building owners and property managers take the time to monitor any code or building changes that might apply to the fire code.
Various personnel, mechanical, electrical, and structural changes can affect your apartment building’s fire preparedness. Some of the things that may occur to your property that require adjusting your fire safety plan include:
- Personnel changes. Your fire safety plan includes a list of supervisory staff that is responsible for documentation and fire instruction. They are also usually on the call list for fire emergencies. You need to update your fire safety plan when staff changes.
- New fire protection equipment. Suppose you’ve made changes to your fire protection equipment, such as replacing smoke detectors, adding heat detectors, or replacing fire extinguishers. In that case, you must update the description of these devices in your fire safety plan.
- Building facility maintenance. Apartment buildings require regular maintenance to serve the needs of its inhabitants and stay up to code. You must document any building changes that affect the building’s fire alarm, passive fire protection, or emergency exit lighting. Don’t forget to inspect and note firewall penetrations.
- Schematic drawings. Cosmetic and structural building changes often require changing the location of fire protection devices, such as fire extinguishers and hoses. Even if the location change is entirely up to code, you still need to update those locations in your fire safety plan.
- Changes to fire drills. Fire safety plans must include the details of your fire building’s fire drills. You must document any changes to them.
Your apartment building’s fire safety plan must be reviewed once every 12 months to remain up to code, so it can remain up to date with any changes that have taken place. If this seems like a lot of work for a busy administrator or building owner, then delegate this task to the experts at All Protect Systems, Inc. They can keep your fire safety plan up to code and help you avoid any unnecessary fines or bureaucratic nuisance. Call them today!
Commercial buildings usually have different fire risks from residential dwellings. They have several different types of fire source ignition material and multiple fire causes. Good building management involves identifying potential fire problems and implementing fire protection systems.
All Protect Systems, Inc has been protecting Ontario area businesses from all types of fire danger since 1996. They perform inspections and can service all of your fire protection needs.
What Are the Major Sources of Commercial Fire Dangers?
Commercial fire sources vary according to the activity taking place in the building. According to the Canadian National Fire Information Database (NFID), some of the most common ignition sources include:
- Cooking equipment – Commercial restaurant equipment such as deep fryers, stoves, ovens, smokers, and toasters
- Heating equipment – Space heaters, water heaters, central air, baseboard heaters, and radiant heaters
- Electrical distribution equipment – Electrical wire conductors, fuses, breaker panels, transformers
- Smoking material – Cigarettes, cigars, lighters, and ashtrays
- Open flame – Lanterns, candles, blowtorches, and welding tools
The NFID also compiles a list of the most common causes of commercial fires. These causes are considered acts or omissions that are either accidental or intentional. It also includes building problems that suffer from poor design or lack of maintenance.
- Arson – Criminal act of fire-starting by an individual or group for mischief or vandalism
- Ignition material misuse – Accidents related to smoking, welding equipment, other sources of open flame, accidental fuel spills, or overheating cooking oil
- Electrical or mechanical problems – Broken or defective electrical equipment, engine backfires, electrical short circuits, and manual control failure
- Equipment misuse – Overfueling of engines, lack of maintenance, or unattended equipment
- Installation, construction, or design problem – faulty wiring, flammable materials stored too close to a source of combustion, or other inherent building problems
- Human error – fatigue, lack of training, incompetence, impaired/intoxicated by alcohol, or distraction
How To Protect Against Different Types of Fires?
Proper and thorough fire protection for your business involves a multi-tiered approach. You need to develop a fire safety plan, according to the Ontario Fire Code and adhere to the following guidelines:
- Risk evaluation – Have someone regularly audit your building for any obvious or potential fire hazards. Keep records for all these audits.
- Passive fire protection – Maintain your passive fire protection by ensuring that fire doors remain up to code, penetrations through firewalls are properly sealed, and structural members maintain their fire retardant material.
- Fire Alarm – Install a fire alarm system with fire, smoke, carbon monoxide detectors, and manual pull stations. Test the system in accordance with the Ontario Fire Code, and make repairs when necessary.
- Fire extinguishing equipment – Keep fire extinguishers and fire hoses serviced and in good working order. Have qualified personnel inspect them on the proper schedules, and replace faulty or damaged equipment when necessary.
- Electrical equipment – Check for frayed electrical cords and overloaded electrical circuits. Turn off appliances when they’re not in use.
- Hot items – Keep hot devices like coffee makers, copiers, or motors away from paper or any other combustible material.
What Sorts of Buildings Are Susceptible to Fires?
Fire types are generally dependent on the type of building and how it’s used. Education institutions, healthcare facilities, restaurants, office buildings, and industrial buildings are all susceptible to fire dangers. Sometimes it takes an experienced professional to spot and correct the fire dangers lurking in your building.
The trained and certified technicians at All Protect Systems, Inc., are at your service. They’re a total systems provider that can handle all of your fire protection needs. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!
Few building scenarios are as dangerous or scary as an out of control fire. While active systems like fire alarms and extinguishing equipment are vitally important, your building’s passive fire protection can be just as crucial. Periodic inspection and maintenance of these protection systems enhance the safety of both the property and the building’s inhabitants.
What Is Passive Fire Protection?
Passive fire protection refers to your building’s components that help prevent the spread of smoke and fire throughout the building. It also ensures the integrity of your building’s structure while facilitating the exit of building occupants and the entrance of firefighting personnel.
Periodic inspections and maintenance of your building’s fireproofing systems ensure proper performance when required. Structural fire protection and compartmentation are the cornerstones of passive fire protection.
What Is Structural Fire Protection?
Structural fire protection preserves your building’s structural components’ strength and functionality from fire’s destructive effects. The building must be constructed with the proper materials and treated or coated with fire-retardant materials such as:
- Intumescent sprayed-on epoxy films
- Endothermic building materials like gypsum-based plasters and cementitious products
- Phenolic foam
- Fireproof cladding
- Mineral wool wraps and insulation
- Glass fibers
- Elastomeric rubber
What Is Compartmentation?
Compartmentation means dividing building spaces into self-contained units to prevent the spread of fire and smoke to other sections of the building. These compartments provide insularity within a floor and between floors.
The Ontario Fire Code has strict rules regulating building compartments. They must be separated from other building spaces, and the separations must meet applicable fire-resistance ratings. Multiple components and assemblies are responsible for maintaining adequate compartmentation, such as:
- Firewall – a wall that provides a fireproof barrier from the floor to the top of the building while providing and maintaining the building’s structural integrity
- Fire barrier – a wall that covers the space from floor to ceiling and has a fire rating based on the amount of time it can prevent the spread of fire and smoke
- Fire partition – same as a fire barrier, but has an exit door and must have a fire rating equal to the floor/ceiling assembly
- Firestopping – devices, assemblies, or construction materials that prevent the spread of fire or smoke
- Fire damper – barriers built into ventilation systems that automatically close during fires
- Fire door – doors constructed with a specific fire-resistance or fire-protection rating to inhibit the spread of fire and smoke
- Sign – also part of a fire safety plan, signs help guide people in the building to the nearest exit
Do Passive Fire Protection Systems Require Inspection?
The Ontario Fire Code requires periodic testing for some aspects of your building’s passive fire protection system, such as smoke control or fire dampers. However, even if a fire system doesn’t require regular inspections, an owner is still legally responsible for maintaining his building’s passive fire protection.
Even the most conscientious contractors often fail to seal their penetrations correctly when installing new equipment. Any project involving new wiring usually passes through a fire barrier, and you should ask your contractor to show you his fire stopping assemblies.
Can Passive Fire Protection Systems Be Maintained?
While much of the passive protective features are part of the building’s design and construction, their effectiveness can degrade over time and require inspection and maintenance by trained experts for proper functionality.
Penetrations in firewalls that compromise your building’s compartmentation are very common and should be corrected as soon as possible. Fire doors can shift within their frame, and signs for fire equipment or exit instructions can fall or become obstructed.
Trained personnel should perform proper maintenance of your building’s passive fire protection system. The expert technicians at Ontario’s All Protect Systems, Inc. can inspect your building and address all of your fire safety needs. Call us today to out what we can do for you.
Ontario Fire Code
Modern occupant fire hoses have several components and the Ontario Fire Code mandates separate inspection schedules and procedures for them. A part of the Ontario Building Code, the Fire Code, ensures that Ontario’s municipalities maintain by proper fire safety guidelines.
The Ontario Fire Code is a regulation under the Canadian Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997. Its most recent revision took place in July 2019.
Fire Hose Cabinet Require Monthly Inspections
Fire hose cabinets are the boxes that house the fire hose when it’s not in use. Red or white in color, they’re usually made of a combination of metal and glass or plastic. They accommodate the fire hose and sometimes a portable fire extinguisher as well.
Professional and qualified personnel should conduct monthly inspections on all occupant use hoses. Always follow manufacturer instructions, but most inspections should include the following observations and corrective actions:
- Check for broken or opaque glass or plastic on the cabinet. Clean or replace as necessary.
- Make sure that the cabinet is correctly labeled and accessible. If necessary, replace or install new “Fire Hose” or “Fire Extinguisher” signs and remove objects that interfere with access.
- Inspect the metal portion of the cabinet for problems. If damaged, repair or replace broken items or the entire assembly.
- If the cabinet is a glass break style, make sure the lock is working, and the glass break hammer is attached next to the instruction decal. Repair or replace the lock, hammer, and instruction sticker if necessary.
- Ensure that the cabinet door can open a full 180 degrees. If it can’t, you must relocate it or remove the interfering object.
- Make sure that all components in the fire hose cabinet are easily accessed. These items include the hose, valves, nozzles, and fire extinguishers. If not accessible, remove any unnecessary materials from the cabinet.
- Fire extinguishers should be fully charged with the pull pin and seal present. The nozzle should be free of any obstructions.
Fire Hose Annual Inspections
The steel hose rack and fire hose are inside the fire hose cabinet, and it requires a thorough annual inspection. During which, a trained professional must examine fire hose cabinet’s contents, such as:
Steel Hose Rack
- Check to see if the fire hose folds correctly over the pins and rerack it after inspection. If the rack is a semi-automatic style, make sure a retaining device secures it.
- Make sure the nozzle fits into its clip, and the clip is mounted correctly. Remount or replace the clip if required.
- Verify that nothing can prevent the hose rack from swinging out 90 degrees from the cabinet.
Angle Hose Valve
- Make sure the Handwheel is the correct size and attached to the valve.
- Verify that the valve has water, and none is leaking. Repair or replace if necessary.
- Look for any damage to the hose sections or couplers. Replace if necessary.
- Make sure that the coupling threads match the local fire departments. Replace or supply adapters if necessary.
- Be sure the hose connects to the hose rack nipple, and there’s free access.
- Verify the hose is in good condition, UL listed, not too old, and tested according to the NFPA.
Hose Rack Nipple
- Verify that the hose rack nipple is securely attached to the angle hose valve through the hose rack opening.
- Check the hose rack threading for damage, and replace if required.
- Verify that you have the correct nozzle for the environment, such as a class A, B, or C fire.
- Check the nozzle gasket and replace if necessary.
Occupant use fire hoses are vital elements for building safety and required by law. Regular inspections by qualified personnel ensure that your building remains up to code.
All Protect Systems, Inc. has trained and experienced personnel that specialize in these monthly and annual inspections. In fact, you can rely on them for all your fire safety needs. Call us today to make an appointment.
Fire extinguishers are a safety device that’s always there when you need it, and fortunately, you usually never need one. However, once in a while, there’s a fire. And you or somebody else showed the courage and initiative to use the available extinguisher to put it out. Now you have to deal with fire extinguisher cleanup.
Now, you’ve got a mess and an empty fire safety device, so what do you do? First, you need to clean up the debris resulting from the extinguisher’s discharge. Below is a description of the various types you may have, and how to clean each one. But if you have any doubts or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at All Protect Systems, Inc.
Types of Extinguisher Types and Cleanup
Different types of fires ignite in different environments, and an expert selected your extinguisher for that location. Each kind has different chemicals to put out various fire types, and they all require their own cleanup. The most common types of extinguisher include:
1. Dry Chemical Extinguisher
Using an array of effective fire fighting chemicals including sodium bicarbonate, monoammonium phosphate, and potassium bicarbonate, they’re rated for A, B, and C type fires.
Though excellent in disrupting a fire’s chemical reaction, it leaves behind a toxic powder, which you should clean as soon as possible. You can obtain the best results with the following steps:
- Vacuum up any loose debris
- Spray any caked-on residue with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and warm water. Wipe with a damp rag.
- A 25 to one ratio of hot water to vinegar can neutralize residue from potassium bicarbonate and sodium bicarbonate. Spray it on and wipe with a damp rag.
- A paste made from hot water and baking soda neutralizes monoammonium phosphate. Apply liberally and wipe clean with a damp rag.
- Clean all affected cooking utensils or dishware as you normally would.
2. Class K Wet Chemical Extinguishers
Designed for the requirements commercial kitchens, wet chemical extinguishers discharge a fine chemical low-PH mist that creates a barrier between a fire’s fuel and its oxygen. Before any more food preparation, clean any residue using the following steps:
- Cut power to any appliances.
- Wear rubber gloves when cleaning to avoid skin contact with the chemicals.
- Wipe the affected area down with a sponge or towel and hot soapy water.
3. Clean Agent Extinguishers
Explicitly designed for putting out electrical fires, clean agent extinguishers emit non-conductive halon and halocarbon agents. They disrupt the fire’s chemical reaction and remove heat. True to their name, their discharge dissipates into the air, and no cleanup is necessary.
4. ATC Foam Extinguisher
Best used for diesel and gasoline fires, ATC foams are also effective on wood and paper fires. Cleanup includes:
- Check the MSDS safety sheet for your extinguisher to learn if it contains toxic chemicals.
- Use personal protective gear for your hands and eyes if the foam is toxic.
- Don’t use water to clean the foam. It will only create more foam.
When to Call a Professional
Not every fire extinguisher cleanup should be considered a DIY job. There are situations when you should call professional cleaners, such as:
- The residue covers expensive items
- You can’t clean the mess immediately. Permanent damage may occur to your building’s furniture or carpets if you don’t promptly clean the residue.
- There’s a threat of the chemical agents entering local water supplies, or your plumbing or HVAC system may be contaminated.
Whatever type of extinguisher you’ve used, recharging or replacing your extinguisher should occur in tandem with your cleanup. Besides being required by the Ontario Fire Code, fire extinguishers are a vital tool in life safety and property protection.
All Protect Systems, Inc can check, inspect, test, refill, or replace any style of fire extinguisher you have. In fact, we can service all of your fire protection needs. Call us today!
Required by Ontario law under Section 2.8 of Division B and other areas of the Ontario Fire Code for specific types of buildings, Fire Safety Plans must adhere to strict guidelines. They must be carefully prepared and receive approval by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, usually the local fire marshall. However, regardless of how good your Fire Safety Plan is, it won’t be effectively executed if your employees are unaware of it.
Fire Safety Plans involve procedures, documentation, and especially training. While the supervisory staff usually receive rigorous and detailed instruction, it’s common for most of a building’s workers to be unaware of the plan’s details. Running the day to day operations of any enterprise can be so overwhelming that management often neglects to inform its workforce on emergency preparedness. If you wish to delegate the preparation and implementation of your Fire Safety Plan to professionals, the highly trained staff at All Protect Systems, Inc can handle this responsibility for you.
Buildings Requiring Fire Safety Plans
The Ontario Fire Code requires many but not all buildings to prepare and implement a Fire Safety Plan. High rise buildings, residential, assembly occupancies, care homes for children or the elderly, and those that house hazardous materials are just some of the building types that require such plans.
While Fire Safety Plans for all buildings must include specialized training for all supervisory staff, Section 2.8 only requires the instruction for employees of hotel establishments. For instance, hotel employees must receive training on all aspects of Article 188.8.131.52. Such activities include but are not limited to:
- Activating the fire alarm and notifying the fire department
- Instructing and evacuating the building occupants
- Using the elevators in the event of a fire
- Controlling and extinguishing a fire
While the Ontario Fire Code only requires this training for hotel workers, it doesn’t mean other businesses can’t benefit from employee fire safety training. Like all work related to continuing education, fire safety training pays dividends in the long run. Employee familiarity with fire safety can save both lives and company property. Unfortunately, most employees’ knowledge of Fire Safety Plans is limited to an annual fire drill.
Fire Safety Plan Design
The contents of a Fire Safety Plan must include all relevant information regarding the prevention and control of a fire. The plan must consist of information, such as:
- Documentation of fire protection equipment including drawings indicating their location
- Contact information for supervisors
- Emergency fire procedures
- Fire drills
- Building maintenance for fire prevention
- Spill procedures (if applicable)
Most employees are usually only familiar with the evacuation procedures during a fire drill. Management should regard evacuation procedures as the absolute minimum for employee fire safety training. Educating employees on the rest of the plan can improve safety and even help protect company property.
In 2018, there were 7,000 dangerous structural fires in Ontario. These fires cost more than $730 million in damages and resulted in 722 injuries with 81 fatalities. Could employees well-versed in the details of a company’s Fire Safety Plan help reduce these numbers? Simple logic dictates that it would.
It can often become part of a company’s culture to keep its employees on a “need to know” basis of much of the day to day operations. After all, a little bit of information can be a dangerous thing. Unfortunately, the secrecy of company policy can reach into unintended areas.
Employees who are well-trained in your company’s fire safety can not only help control fires; they may even help prevent them. Once conscious of fire safety, employees can spot potential hazards before they materialize. If you’re looking for professionals to design and implement your building’s Fire Safety Plan, All Protect Systems, Inc has a dedicated team of experts that can put together a plan that your employees can learn and help implement. Call them today to find out what they can do for you.