Archive for the ‘News’ Category

6 Benefits of Having Routine Fire Safety Inspections

Posted: October 15th, 2021

Fire safety inspections are a crucial aspect of life and property protection for every Ontario business. While you can perform routine inspections yourself, many local enterprises have chosen All Protect Systems, Inc. to do it for them. They have the training and expertise to identify and correct fire safety hazards in residential, industrial, office, and retail buildings. 

Depending on the requirements dictated by the Ontario Fire Code, inspections may be necessary annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or even weekly. While such frequent inspections may seem onerous, there are several benefits to routing fire safety inspections, such as:

1) Life Safety

Approximately 70 people die each year from fires in the Ontario area, excluding the First Nation’s properties, and injuries average more than 700. While occasional fires are bound to happen, business owners should do everything possible to ensure that their properties are as safe as possible. Regular inspections of your fire alarms, fire extinguishers and hoses, gas detection, and emergency and exit lighting can help save lives in your building.

2) Property Protection

Buildings are a major financial investment, and even though they’re insured, downtime can severely impact your business operations. Don’t allow a minor fire to grow into something serious. Proper fire safety equipment and procedures can turn a potential disaster into a temporary inconvenience. 

3) Legal Compliance 

The Ontario Fire Code mandates periodic fire safety inspections of nearly every commercial premise. Depending on the occupancy type, yours may require weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annual inspections. While life safety and property protection are paramount, business owners and operators must also comply with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s requirements. The Fire Marshall can impose heavy fines or even shut down businesses for egregious fire code violations, and periodic inspections can prevent this unfortunate situation.

4) Insurance

Business ownership often involves enormous liability, so insurance coverage becomes a large part of operating expenses. Many insurance policies require proof of periodic fire safety inspections to maintain coverage. If the business owner can’t provide the inspection reports when submitting a claim for personal injury and or property damage, the insurance company may reject the claim. Instead of saving time and money by not performing the inspections, the business operator may get stuck paying for damages out of pocket.

5) Criminal Liability

Suppose a serious injury or death occurs on a business property due to faulty fire safety precautions. In that case, the business owner may be criminally liable if he can’t produce his required inspection reports. Of course, nobody wants to be held responsible for criminally negligent homicide, and you can avoid this nightmare by staying in compliance with all of your routine fire safety inspections.

6) Intercept Future Problems

Periodic inspection and testing of your fire safety systems can help you stay on top of your equipment. While the system may have been state of the art when installed, it may no longer adequately serve its intended purpose. In addition, changes in building use or technological advancements can make fire safety systems obsolete. Trained professionals can spot antiquated equipment and recommend better solutions to your fire safety needs. 

Not only are routine fire safety inspections required by law, but they can save lives, property, and money over the long run. While you’re legally allowed to perform many of the inspections yourself, most Ontario businesses delegate the responsibility to expert technicians like the ones at All Protect Systems, Inc. 

All Protect has been serving its community with the best fire protection services since 1996. They can customize a fire inspection schedule for all of their business customers, regardless of size. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

6 Signs Your Maintenance Room Needs Better Fire Safety Protection

Posted: September 15th, 2021

Commercial maintenance rooms contain the essential equipment that keeps your building functioning. Electrical, mechanical, data, custodial, and even storage rooms are susceptible to fires. While these spaces may not have the visibility or traffic of your revenue-generating locations, they still require regular monitoring for proper fire safety protection.

The fire experts at All Protect Systems, Inc have been keeping Ontario businesses safe since 1996. They can help diagnose and correct potential fire safety deficiencies, such as the following:

1) Holes in Your Firewalls

Building maintenance rooms often require new equipment, which usually comes with additional wiring or pipes. If these rooms have fire-rated walls, the wall membrane penetrations must be adequately fire stopped to prevent smoke and fire from passing from one room to another and spreading the fire.

2) Fire Extinguishers

While fire extinguishers can last several years, they require annual inspections. Maintenance rooms can get overloaded with unnecessary materials, and fire extinguishers can be obstructed from view or even knocked off the wall. The Ontario Fire Marshal can fail your annual fire inspection if your extinguishers aren’t in the right place or lack their yearly inspection tag.

3) Fire Hoses

If your building requires fire hoses, you need to be sure that they are in good condition and are long enough to reach your commercial maintenance rooms. Of course, you never want to put out an electrical or oil-based fire with water, but you can put out fires in some rooms with your building’s fire hoses. 

Annual inspections of your fire hoses can reveal deterioration in the hose or damage to the hose nozzle. All Protect Systems recommends performing hydro-static testing on fire hoses after they’ve been in service for five years and every three years after that.

4) Smoke Detectors 

Depending on their use, commercial maintenance rooms may require one or more smoke detectors. While you may have met the basic code requirements during the initial construction, changes to the use of maintenances or the addition of equipment may require additional smoke detectors.

Maintenance room alterations can obstruct smoke detectors and prevent them from sensing smoke during a fire. They can also degrade over time and require regular inspections.

5) Emergency Lighting & Exit Lighting

Required by code in most Ontario commercial buildings, emergency lighting must be tested monthly to ensure proper performance. Exit lighting in or near your maintenance rooms must be fully functional and visible. Damaged exit lights can be a fire hazard and require repair if visual defects appear.

6) Fire Doors

For commercial maintenance rooms with a fire rating, its door must also have the same rating. With heavy use, these doors can lose their rating. Fire-rated doors must have the following qualities:

  • Self-latching – When the latching bolt wears out, the fire marshal can fail your inspection.
  • Self-closing – Fire-rated doors must close by themselves, not be propped open, and be free from obstructions.
  • No gaps – Doors that routinely get slammed or impacted with heavy items can eventually lose position. Gaps can form and compromise its fire rating.
  • Labels – Fire doors and all of their attached hardware must have visible labels on them. The Fire Marshal can fail you for removing or painting over them.
  • Modifications – You aren’t allowed to make any modifications to a fire-rated door.

With enough due diligence, you can keep your commercial maintenance room’s fire safety protection up to code. However, if you want to delegate that responsibility to trained professionals, the experts at All Protect Systems are ready to serve you. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!

Photo Source: Flickr

5 of the Latest Fire Alarm Trends to Consider for Your Facility

Posted: August 15th, 2021

Like every other capital equipment investment, your fire alarm has a limited life span and becomes obsolete with the advent of new codes and technologies. Whether your system is on its last legs, or you proactively want to upgrade what you have for better performance, you can benefit from looking closely at the latest fire alarm system trends.

All Protect Systems, Inc has been installing and upgrading the fire alarms for many of the Ontario area’s leading companies since 1996. By keeping abreast of the technology trends in the industry, they keep their customer’s premises as safe as possible. Some of the most beneficial industry trends include the following:

1) Multi-Criteria Detectors

Many current fire alarm systems have separate smoke, heat, CO2, and light/flame detectors, and it’s not uncommon for them to be installed in the same room. Each device requires its own wiring, zone, and mounting box, adding to the installation cost. 

Several fire alarm manufacturers now offer multi-criteria detectors to enhance fire safety, reduce installation labor costs, and limit the eyesore of multiple sensors. 

2) Alarm Voice Notification 

It’s normal to associate fire alarm audible notification appliances with the traditional horns that fire marshals want to be loud enough to drive the occupants out of the building. Though effective, it’s a stressful way to notify people of a fire and tends to induce panic in a situation when people need to remain calm. 

Though voice notification systems have served customers well for more than 40 years, they have recently become more popular as building owners incorporate complementary mass notification systems (MNS) to alert occupants of other possible dangers. For instance, an MNS might direct the occupants to remain in place rather than evacuate.

3) Wireless Sensors

Wireless smoke and heat sensors have been protecting Ontario businesses for years, and their use continues to grow. Longer-lasting batteries and improved wireless transmission technologies make wireless sensors a more attractive choice for many buildings. 

While a wired connection is still considered the most reliable, there are situations where running wire is cost-prohibitive. Many of the newer fire alarm panels accommodate a hybrid solution of both wired and wireless sensors.

4) Ditching POTS

While plain old telephone service (POTS) has served fire alarm panels well for decades, newer communication technologies are replacing them at a rapid pace. The two technologies that encompass the industry trend of replacement of landline communication include:

  • Cellular. The mobile communication industry is sunsetting 2G, and 3G networks, so many customers are upgrading to LTE communicators. While 5G is on the horizon, the LTE network promises to operate for at least a decade.
  • IP. Ethernet connections that relied on the building’s internet connection are usually only approved for fire communication when there’s another communication pathway, such as POTS or cellular. However, internet service has become much more robust and is a quick and reliable way to transmit emergency signals.

5) Gradual Upgrade

Many modern fire alarm control panels have excellent backward compatibility, so facility managers don’t have to upgrade their entire system all at once. By phasing in upgrades and additions, they can help defer costs over time and minimize the disruption to normal operations. 

Whether you wish to upgrade your fire alarm gradually, replace it entirely, or install one for a new building, understanding the current industry trends can save you money and better protect the lives and property in your building.

If you’d like to know more about the newest technology trends in fire alarms, All Protect Systems, Inc can help you choose the best solution for your property. Call them today to discuss the possibilities!

Spring Tips for Evaluating Your Building’s Fire Safety Plan

Posted: July 15th, 2021

Spring is a time of rebirth in nature, and we also use it as a time for cleaning, organizing, and setting new agendas in our lives. If you’re responsible for your building’s fire safety plan, spring might be the ideal season to evaluate and hopefully improve your commercial fire safety plan. 

The Ontario Fire Code requires certain commercial buildings to have a fire safety plan, and if yours is one of them, you need to revisit your plan as changes occur on your premises. However, if you find yourself too busy to handle the details, the expert staff at All Protect Systems, Inc has been designing, reviewing, and improving commercial fire safety plans for Ontario are businesses since 1996. 

Building Evacuation

Life safety is the most critical aspect of any commercial fire safety plan, and your number one priority is getting occupants out of the building during a fire. When revisiting your fire safety plan, make notes of any changes to the building structure or uses within it. 

Perhaps new furniture has been placed in a lobby, or an office has become storage space? Ask yourself how these alterations could affect your fire risks or evacuation routes. Physical changes to the building or uses of building spaces may require an alteration to your building evacuation route or even a new fire exit. 

Identify Hazards

As a building manager, your responsibilities include posting signs and keeping an eye out for faulty equipment that could ignite and start a dangerous fire. Your commercial fire safety plan must identify these hazards and educate the appropriate staff about ways to minimize danger.

The reasons for most commercial fires are surprisingly predictable. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most accidental commercial building fires start from four basic causes. 

Cooking equipment is responsible for:

  • 65 percent of healthcare facility fires
  • 61 percent in restaurants
  • 38 percent in educational institutions

Avoid fires from cooking equipment by:

    • Cleaning up any grease buildup Up Grease. …
    • Properly maintain the equipment
    • Keep fire extinguishers nearby

Heating equipment, such as furnaces, boilers, and radiators, cause:

  • 14 percent of fires in industrial buildings
  • 11 percent in office buildings
  • Nine percent in restaurants

Avoid fires from heating equipment by:

    • Regular inspections
    • Preventative maintenance

Electrical equipment accounts for:

  • 12 percent of office building fires
  • 10 percent in stores
  • Nine percent of restaurant fires

Avoid electrical fires by keeping an eye out for:

    • Corroded wiring
    • Overloaded circuits (blown fuses or tripping breakers)
    • Daisy chained power strips or extension cords

Despite the reduction in smokers, smoking still accounts for:

  • Nine percent of office building fires
  • Seven percent in restaurants
  • Five percent in healthcare facilities

Avoid fires from smokers by:

    • Keeping smokers outside
    • Provide ashtray with sand for them to extinguish their cigarettes
    • Strictly prohibit any smoking around oxygen tanks

Encourage Feedback After Fire Drills

Fire drills can become a robotic experience, but it does force the participants to think about fire safety. Encourage the building occupants to share any ideas or concerns that they may have about fire hazards or the evacuation plan. 

Even if they don’t have any ideas on hand, your request can encourage them to give the matter some thought. Everyone who works in a building should have an eye out for potential fire hazards.

While spring is an excellent time to revisit your building’s fire safety plan, fire safety should be a year-round priority. However, if you prefer to delegate fire safety planning to professionals, All Protect Systems can help you with all of your fire safety needs. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!

Why Emergency & Exit Lighting Is So Important

Posted: June 15th, 2021

Whether it’s inclement weather or a temporarily overburdened electrical grid, power outages are problematic for Ontario businesses. Suppose your building doesn’t have a backup generator during such outages. In that case, when the lights go out, your emergency lighting and exit lighting are essential for building occupants to make it out safely. 

Is Emergency and Exit Lighting Required by Law?

Section 9.9.3.14 of the Ontario Fire Code mandates that any building required to have a fire alarm system must also provide emergency lighting for exits and access to exits. Additionally, any room that can host more than 60 people must also provide emergency lighting.

In buildings taller than 18 meters, the emergency lighting must maintain power for longer than two hours, while structures shorter than that only need to provide illumination for more than 30 minutes. The power source for this emergency lighting must be separate from the building’s primary electrical power and activate when the regular supply is interrupted.

Is Emergency Exit Lighting Just Another Burdensome Government Regulation?

A Harris Poll conducted in 2017 questioned more than two thousand US adults about their confidence in safely exiting their workplace during a power outage, and more than one third responded expressed concern. Half of the respondents felt that navigating the stairs would be especially difficult during a power outage. 

Forty-two percent admitted that they probably couldn’t properly execute their building’s emergency evacuation plan without enough illumination. Emergency lighting and exit lighting are not just another arbitrary government regulation. They are vital aspects of building safety that many building occupants desperately need.

Are There Different Types of Emergency Lighting?

Several types of emergency lighting are available to address different needs. The most common are external and internal bulkhead emergency lighting fixtures connected to the building’s main primary electrical source. When the main power is cut off during a general outage or from a damaged wire, the emergency devices operate on local battery power and illuminate the path to safety. 

LED lights are increasingly popular due to their lower power consumption, and many companies proactively upgrade to them. Illuminated exit signs also operate on batteries after disruption of the primary electrical power. For structures with floor level changes and stairways, photoluminescent floor discs, paint, and tape can provide excellent visibility in dimly lit areas or under smokey conditions. 

Where Is Emergency Exit Lighting Required?

Each building is unique, and the Ontario Fire Marshal has the final say on the subject. Still, you should provide emergency lighting to illuminate the following areas:

Do Emergency and Exit Lighting Require Maintenance?

Though often overlooked, building owners and facility managers must schedule regular inspections and testing of their emergency and exit lighting equipment to ensure proper functionality in the event of an emergency. By contracting a professional, you get trained technicians that can perform the following services:

  • Regular testing and inspections. Ontario requires monthly inspections and functionality tests for emergency lighting systems, and you need to repair or replace any equipment that doesn’t perform correctly.
  • Maintain detailed records. The Ontario Fire Marshal may wish to review records of inspections and testing. Building owners need to have these documents on hand when he requests them.

Designing, maintaining, and upgrading your emergency and exit lighting system saves lives and is required by law. The technicians at All Protect Systems, Inc are experts in the field. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!

How Fire Extinguisher Recharging Works

Posted: May 15th, 2021

Most people tend to think of a fire extinguisher as a one-time purchase that lasts forever as long as you don’t have a fire. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and many would-be firefighters find out the hard way that the fire extinguisher that has been waiting patiently for years doesn’t work when desperately needed. 

If fire preparedness is part of your job responsibility, you must ensure that all fire prevention systems are working correctly. Your equipment may not work correctly without regular testing, maintenance, and fire extinguisher recharging. 

If you’re unsure about the schedule requirements necessary to keep your extinguishers up to code, you could benefit from professional assistance. The fire experts at All Protect Systems, Inc have been servicing and recharging fire extinguishers for Ontario businesses since 1996. 

What Is the Fire Extinguisher Recharging Process?

First of all, only trained professionals should perform fire extinguisher recharging. The technicians at All Protect Systems, Inc have the training, equipment, and experience necessary to ensure that your extinguishers have the proper extinguishing agent and are in top condition. During their maintenance and recharging process, their technicians perform the following procedures:

  • Depressurize the extinguisher and remove all of the agent
  • Remove the:
    • Discharge valve from the cylinder
    • Siphon tube from the valve
    • Valve stem from the spring
  • Clean the valve  
  • Insert a new o-ring gasket on the valve
  • Examine the extinguisher from top to bottom for any visual signs of excessive wear or physical damage
  • Reinstall the valve with a new stem, so it can maintain a seal and prevent pressure loss.
  • Fill the extinguisher’s tank according to the weight specified by the manufacturer’s instructions with the proper agent such as water, foam, carbon dioxide, powder, and wet chemicals
  • Re-pressurize the extinguisher tank to the manufacturer’s pressure specifications with the correct gas
  • Check for pressure or agent leakage during a leak test
  • Reinstall the hose or nozzle
  • Re-weigh the extinguisher to ensure that it’s within the manufacturer’s specified range
  • Install a new tamper seal on the safety pin and a new service tag indicating that the date of the recharge, total weight, and name of the servicing technician

How Can You Tell if Your Fire Extinguisher Needs Recharging?

If you’ve used your fire extinguisher, recharge it immediately, and even the smallest discharge can compromise the unit’s pressure. However, that’s not the only instance it should be recharged. Fire extinguisher recharging is also necessary when any of the following circumstances appear:

  • Low-pressure reading 
  • Operating instructions are illegible
  • Safety seal or tamper indicator is missing or broken
  • Visible physical damage or corrosion
  • Leaks
  • Clogged nozzle

Assign someone at your company to perform monthly visual inspections of all of your fire safety equipment and especially your extinguishers. If he notices any problem, be sure to call a licensed professional for immediate service.

Even if noticeable problems never appear with your fire extinguishers, you still need to have them inspected, serviced, and recharged according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. ABC dry chemical agents are the most common type of extinguishing agent, and they should be serviced and recharged at six and 12 years of the manufacturing date by a trained technician.

Who to Call When Service Is Necessary?

The expert technicians at All Protect Systems, Inc can handle all of your fire extinguisher recharging needs. In fact, they can service every aspect of your fire safety system, including:

Fire safety is a serious concern for every Ontario business, and you need the very best professionals to stay compliant with the Ontario Fire Code’s requirements. Call the experts at All Protect Systems, Inc today to find out what they can do for you!

5 Ways To Prepare For A Fire System Inspection

Posted: April 15th, 2021

Whether you’ve already scheduled your next fire system inspection or the Ontario fire marshal decides to make an impromptu visit, your building needs to up to code. The Ontario Fire Code spells out your obligations under the law, and different types of facilities have specific requirements for their respective fire systems. 

Failing a fire system inspection can result in the closing of your business. While your building should be in code compliance at all times, fire marshals are even less forgiving when they schedule an inspection. If you need assistance with your facility, the experts at All Protect Systems, Inc have been preparing Ontario businesses for their fire inspections since 1996, with the following systems:

1) Electrical Equipment

Make sure your building’s electrical system is functioning correctly and up to code. Electrical problems are one of the most common causes of building fires, so the fire inspector examines your electrical system closely. Inspections often fail for reasons, such as:

  • Missing cover plates for junction boxes or electrical outlets
  • Openings in circuit breaker boxes – Sparks or arcs can ignite nearby combustible material.
  • Unlabeled breakers
  • Using extension cords for permanent appliances 
  • Extension cords stapled to a wall or furniture
  • Overloaded power strips
  • Daisy-chained surge suppressors
  • Unlabeled and unaccessible main electrical panel

You should correct these items before any fire inspection. Call an electrician if necessary. 

2) Keep Exit Pathways Clear

Fire marshals understand that occupant evacuation during a fire can be hectic and dangerous. They frown on any obstacles that prevent an easy egress from the premises. The Ontario Fire Code specifications regarding building egress include:

  • 2.4.1.1.(2) Combustible materials shall not be accumulated in any part of an elevator shaft, ventilation shaft, means of egress – however, code does permit wooden furniture as long as it doesn’t impede the exit
  • 2.7.1.7. (1) Means of egress shall be maintained in good repair and free of obstructions.
  • 2.8.2.5. (2)(b) Hotels must have fire safety rules posted on exit doors of guest suites

3) Fire Alarms

Trained and licensed professionals must perform periodic fire inspections according to your building’s requirements. The company performing the fire system inspection should provide you with a written report that you must provide to the fire marshall on request. When the fire marshal has scheduled his own inspection, make sure of the following:

  • Pull stations are visible and accessible
  • The fire alarm panel is easily accessible and free of trouble or supervisory alerts

4) Fire Extinguishers

The Ontario Fire Code has detailed requirements for the type of extinguishers required and their testing, inspection, and maintenance. They need annual service and inspection by trained technicians, as well as the following:

  • Recharging or replacement if the extinguishing material is low
  • Hydrostatic testing of the cylinder or replacement every six years

Visually inspect your extinguishers each month to ensure that they’re:

  • Visible
  • Accessible
  • Rust free
  • Gauge is in the green area

5) Fire Hoses

You must provide documentation of annual fire hose inspections to the fire marshal upon request. Fire hose inspections check for issues, such as:

  • Excess debris 
  • Mildew
  • Rott
  • Chemical damage 
  • Cuts or abrasions

Preparation is the key to passing your next Ontario Fire Marshal fire inspection. If you don’t have the time to brush up on the latest code revisions, you can always rely on the experts at All Protect Systems, Inc. 

Specialists in fire protection, All Protect’s technicians can see potential problems and solutions that you might miss. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!

How Often Should Gas Sensors Be Calibrated

Posted: March 15th, 2021

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 alarmfire hose, and emergency lighting needs. Call them today to find out how they can help keep your business safe! 

How To Make Gas Sensors Last Longer

Posted: February 15th, 2021

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.

Temperature

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.

Humidity

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 systemsfire extinguishersemergency/exit lighting, and gas detection systems since 1996.

How To Make Your Fire Drills More Effective

Posted: January 15th, 2021

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 alarmsextinguishers, hoses, and fire safety plansCall them today to see what they can do for you!