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With ever-evolving technologies, maintaining the safest possible workplace can seem like aiming at a constantly moving target. If you want your business to remain as safe as possible, regular inspections are your best bet. Please read on to learn about six fire alarm and life safety inspection benefits.
Regular inspections not only save lives and property, but they can even add to your bottom line. After all, you can’t fix a problem until you have identified it.
In 2022, Ontario had the highest number of fire-related deaths in more than two decades. 133 Canadians lost their lives in Ontario fires, and properly functioning fire alarms and other life safety systems could have saved many of them.
While fire alarms are often the most effective means of saving lives from fire, All Protect Systems offers a wide selection of life safety equipment and solutions, such as:
Fires are extremely destructive to property. Even if your insurance covers fire damage, your policy may not cover the consequent disruptions to business operations. For example, if you have to shut down temporarily due to fire damage, most insurance policies won’t cover income losses.
The Ontario Fire Code requires regular inspections for fire alarms and life safety systems. Depending on your building’s occupancy type, you may need annual, semi-annual, monthly, or even weekly inspections.
Non-compliance with these inspection requirements can lead to heavy fines from the Ontario Fire Marshall. If your lack of inspections leads to code violations, the Fire Marshall even has the right to shut down your business until the situation is corrected.
Maintain Insurance Policy
Commercial business operations often expose owners to heavy liability, so your insurance coverage is usually a large portion of operating expense overhead. Your policy may require proof of regular fire alarm and other life safety inspections to keep your policy active.
In the event of a fire, your insurance company will request copies of the recent inspection reports. If you can’t supply them when submitting your claim for injury or property damage, your insurance will most likely reject the claim. You become responsible for the damages, and such a financial burden could result in bankruptcy.
Avoid Legal Trouble
If a severe injury or death occurs during a fire or other workplace accident, you can be sure that the authorities will request the most recent inspection reports for the fire alarms or life safety systems. If you can’t produce the necessary inspection, they may find you criminally negligent. You can easily avoid this terrifying scenario by staying current on your inspection requirements.
Spot Problems Ahead of Time
Last but not least, you can save money in the long run by spotting minor problems before they become larger ones. Regular inspections and testing of your fire alarm and life safety equipment can help you isolate defects before faulty equipment compromises the rest of the system.
Regular inspections can also increase your awareness of your equipment. Your fire alarm and life safety equipment may have been the newest and best technology when installed, but it can wear out and becomes obsolete over time. In some situations, you can update your equipment with the latest firmware, while in others, you must replace the hardware.
Concurrently, you may have made changes to your building that require modifications or upgrades to your fire and life safety infrastructure. Regular inspections force you to identify these changes and make necessary adjustments.
Many of Ontario’s top companies have delegated their fire alarm and safety inspections to All Protect Systems. They’ve been serving their community since 1996. Call them today to learn what they can do for you!
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.
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.
Looking for more insight? Check out these previous posts:
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
- Combustible and flammable gases such as:
- 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.
One of the primary responsibilities for building maintenance facilitators is ensuring a safe working space for building occupants. This is a top priority and one that deserves a good deal of attention. This role requires facilitators to check that there are sufficient safety procedures in place and that they are adhered to, especially as it pertains to fire safety.
In this post, we’ve listed 10 of the most common questions building maintenance facilitators should be asking in relation to safety procedures.
Question 1: In the event of a fire, what are the protocols for evacuating the building safely?
Are building occupants aware of the emergency evacuation procedures in case of a fire? It’s not wise to assume that they do. Hence, it’s paramount to make sure that tenants know all the means of escape, especially emergency exits on their floor levels and out to the assembly point.
To cement this knowledge, it might be necessary to carry out regular fire drills so building occupants become familiar with the safety procedures surrounding fires.
Question 2: Are the smoke detectors and fire alarms in the building operational?
There’s little use in having smoke detectors and fire alarms installed but they’re non-functional. Therefore, it’s important that all smoke detectors and fire alarms are checked routinely to ensure that they’re functioning as they should.
Regular inspections alongside maintenance are an absolute must for all buildings. Fire inspection specialists like Nutech Fire Prevention can be called upon for annual inspections as and when needed around Hamilton.
Question 3: Is the building equipped with fire suppression systems?
Fire suppression systems like sprinklers and fire extinguishers are mandated by provincial Fire Codes. Building inspectors must verify their presence and where they have been mounted. Are these systems installed in strategic locations that are readily accessible?
And secondly, are tenants familiar with how these systems work? Can they use fire extinguishers to extinguish small fires? Do they know when to attempt to put out a fire and when the fire is beyond their capacity?
Question 4: Does the building store flammable materials? If yes, are these substances correctly stored?
The triage of elements needed to start a blaze includes a fuel source. Flammable materials can be fuels. That’s why they have to be identified and properly stored.
Potential ignition sources also need to be identified so that these flammable materials are kept as far away as possible. Furthermore, it is imperative to have proper labelling to avoid any mishaps.
Question 5: What are the potential fire hazards in the building?
There is no end to potential fire hazards in buildings. These can be anything, for example:
- Faulty electrical equipment
- Incorrect use of electrical equipment
- Overloaded electrical outlets and extension cords
- Damaged and or frayed power cords
- Unattended stoves and candles
- Incorrectly stored combustible materials
- Smoking in non-designated areas
- Blocked emergency exits
- Cluttered or dirty offices
- Human error and negligence
Building managers have an obligation to carry out routine inspections so as to identify these hazards and find ways to remedy them.
Question 6: Does a protocol for the reporting of safety concerns or emergencies exist?
What are the rules that govern how information about the safety of building occupants is transmitted? What are the channels that people with concerns can follow in order to be heard? Is there even a protocol for reporting safety concerns or possible emergencies?
Not only is it key that such protocols exist, but it’s important that occupants in such workplaces know how to report fire-related emergencies or safety concerns.
Speaking of employees, someone must be selected from among them as the designated point of contact during emergencies.
Question 7: Are building occupants cognizant of safety policies?
Firstly, does the building have safety procedures? Secondly, are building occupants aware of these policies?
It is the mandate of building maintenance facilitators to disseminate information about safety policies to those working in the building.
This may very well mean providing necessary training so that all who work on the premises understand the safety policies and subsequently comply with these safeguarding protocols.
Question 8: What are the regulations guiding building inspection and maintenance?
Routine building maintenance is a necessary part of good fire safety best practices. Competent building facilitators have a routine maintenance schedule that allows them to identify and remedy safety issues before they become bigger problems.
Under this section is the obligation to carry out rote inspections to verify that the safety procedures are being implemented.
Question 9: What are the building code regulations that must be followed?
There is a building code that guides construction across the country ensuring uniformity and compliance with internationally established building norms. This building code is binding to all contractors and acts as a benchmark for building safety.
Building maintenance facilitators have to confirm that all applicable building codes and regulations are being kept. They also have to implement the most recent building safety compliance standards.
Lastly, they must also educate building occupants on building code regulations.
Question 10: Is there a protocol to guide and revise safety procedures?
It does sometimes happen that safety procedures need to be reviewed and revised. This is done to make sure that the current protocol is effective at preventing danger.
If there are changes to the safety procedures, there should be an appropriate protocol to inform building occupants. There needs to be a careful plan about how revisions and or updates will be communicated to all the necessary parties.
The Bottom Line
A good building maintenance facilitator will ask the right questions about safety procedures so they can address any concerns head-on before they escalate. Asking good questions is the first step to improving safety procedures in a building. These questions, coupled with the latest safety best practices can go a long way in helping to prevent accidents and emergencies. Such questions can help to identify gaps in the safety protocol and plug such leaks creating a safer working environment for all.
Get in Touch With a Fire Hazard Detection Specialist
Building managers in Hamilton, Ontario can reach out to Nutech Fire Prevention for assistance with developing customized fire safety protocols.
In addition, we also offer fire safety training, fire safety recommendations, the development of fire safety plans, and routine checks and maintenance of your fire equipment.
That’s not all we do as we also provide and install a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, and sprinkler systems.
Looking for more insight? Check out these previous posts:
If you’re an owner or a manager of a commercial property, you may wonder how to choose the right fire safety provider. Look for a partner with the proper credentials and that belongs to the best organizations. They should have extensive experience and offer all of the necessary services for fire and life safety.
When choosing a fire and life safety provider, search for one with the proper credentials. You want a partner that stays up to date with the changes in technology and who requires continuing education for their technicians. They should also maintain contact with other businesses in their community. A serious and dedicated fire and life safety partner should belong to the following organizations:
The Canadian Fire Alarm Association (CFAA)
Established in 1973, the CFAA has more than 400 members and 3000 registered fire alarm technicians. It has become the primary Canadian source of fire alarm information, expertise, qualification, and industry support. With active chapters throughout the country, the CFAA can promote the effectiveness of fire alarms for the protection of life and property for all Canadians.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
The NFPA was established in 1896 and has become an international and self-funding non-profit organization dedicated to preventing death, injury, and property loss from fire and electrical hazards. Best known for its more than 300 codes and standards, the NFPA also conducts research, training, and certification programs.
The Waterloo Regional Apartment Management Association (WRAMA)
The WRAMA supports managers of residential rental properties throughout the Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge, and Kitchener areas.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
Since 1971, the CFIB has been championing the cause of Canadian small businesses. It has over 95,000 members and provides numerous resources to help them succeed.
While it’s true that every company has to have a beginning, you’re usually better off with one with decades of experience under its belt. Fire safety partners shoulder an immense responsibility for their customers, and you want an experienced team. Hopefully, you can find one with decades of experience in your area with an intimate knowledge of local codes, suppliers, and the preferences of the local fire marshall.
While the field technicians are any fire and life safety partner’s greatest asset, you still must rely on the entire company for record keeping, ordering parts, efficient billing, design services, and overall customer service. Companies develop their expertise over time, and you should select one that has a strong track record of satisfying businesses like yours in your town.
All Protect Systems has been a fire and life safety partner for Ontario area businesses since 1996. While they’re large enough to handle the biggest companies, they’re small enough to remember their customers by name and deliver personalized quality service for all your fire protection needs.
Most business owners and managers eventually conclude that dealing with a single vendor is more efficient whenever possible. When choosing a fire and life safety partner, look for one that can supply all of the services your business needs now and possibly in the future. Some of the most important items to consider include the following:
Once again, All Protect Systems checks all of the boxes. As a full-service fire and life safety partner, they can handle all your needs, so you won’t have to worry about multiple vendors for each fire safety issue. If you’re looking for a partner, contact them today, they’re waiting for your call!
Emergency exit lighting devices are self-contained battery-powered lighted boxes that indicate exits. They help guide building occupants to the exit during an emergency. Emergency exit lighting must be illuminated at all times while the building is open and have backup power when the main AC power has been disrupted.
Emergency lighting is another life safety system that automatically turns on during an AC power failure, but they illuminate spaces instead of just the sign itself. They must provide sufficient lumination for a long enough period of time to allow the building occupants to finish any potentially dangerous task and exit the building safely.
Emergency exit lighting is one of the cornerstones of life safety. It provides illumination not just during a possible electrical failure from a fire but also when the building loses its primary electrical supply due to bad weather or other maintenance issues. Even longtime employees or residents can become disoriented during an emergency, and emergency exit lights and emergency lighting can make the difference between life and death.
Ontario Fire Code
Several sections of the Ontario Fire Code refer to the requirements of commercial buildings that need to have emergency and exit lighting. Four of the most important ones are included below.
Exit signs must be clean, legible, and clearly visible. They can be illuminated either externally or internally according to the sign’s design while the building is occupied. Exit signs with self-luminous material must be maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions and any conditions specified under the Building Code.
This section spells out the requirements necessary for the testing of emergency lighting. You must test the pilot lights monthly for operation and inspect the following:
- Ensure the terminal connections are clean, corrosion-free, lubricated (if necessary), and tight according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Batteries are clean and dry
- Battery electrolyte levels and specific gravity meet the manufacturer’s specifications
You must also test emergency lighting according to the schedule:
- Monthly. The lights turn on when you cut the main AC power.
- Annually. The lights remain illuminated for the time specified by the system design.
Once the lights have stayed on for the required time limit, you must also test them to make sure the battery’s recovery period is within the manufacturer’s recommendations.
3) Meet Building Codes
Section 9.2.3 states that emergency lighting must adhere to article 188.8.131.52. of the 1986 Building Code and the marking signs for exits and exit access must comply with 3.4.5. of the 1986 Building Code.
4) Section 184.108.40.206
You must install emergency exit lighting in exit stairways, public corridors, or any exit access in buildings with an occupancy load above 24 or have more than 10 dwelling units. This lighting must meet the standards below:
- The lights should stay on for at least 30 minutes.
- They must have a backup power source separate from the main building’s electrical supply.
- The lights should turn on as soon as the main power source has been interrupted.
- The lights should provide an average illumination of at least 10 lx at the floor or tread level.
These are just some of the many requirements dictated by the Ontario Fire Code. You can check to see if your emergency and exit lighting is up to code yourself, or you can consult the experts at All Protect Systems.
They have been installing and servicing emergency and exit lighting for Ontario area businesses since 1996. They also service fire alarm systems, fire hoses, gas detection, and even design fire safety plans. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!
Fire alarms are a vital aspect of life safety for Ontario businesses. If you require a new fire alarm install in your commercial building, you probably want to know what to expect. There can be several reasons for installing a new fire alarm on your property, and these motivations determine the course of the installation.
If you’re building a new facility, a new fire alarm system will merely be one of the many systems that make up the technology and life safety infrastructure of your commercial building. Fire alarm systems may be included in the overall construction project, but some companies prefer to contract the installation company themselves.
If you want to send the project out to bid, you need to contact some local companies and have them survey the premises and prepare a design and price quotation for your fire alarm. Then you evaluate the different proposals and choose the one that best suits your goals and budget. You don’t need to know everything about fire alarms to do this, because the design and plans must be approved by the Ontario Fire Marshal.
Once you select your approved vendor, they’ll work in tandem with the other trades to install the necessary conduit, wiring, and sensors, to meet code and provide the best possible protection for life and property safety. While there’s a temptation to go with the lowest bidder, it may not always be the most cost-effective choice in the long run. Sometimes, the cheapest option can wind up being more expensive in the long run as maintenance and false alarms become costly over time.
System Upgrade or Replacement
Building usage changes over time and so does technology. The fire alarm system you had installed years before may be malfunctioning, have become obsolete, or your building has changed enough to require a new fire alarm install. If this is your situation, you may be wondering what to expect.
If your building or building use has changed, you’re going to need to hire a professional to assess your property and perform a site survey. He’ll analyze the building spaces in terms of the fire classification rating and decide the quantity and types of sensors your system needs for the best possible safety protection. Section 2.1.2. of the Ontario Fire Code spells out the classifications of buildings or parts of a building according to major occupancy.
If your existing system has become obsolete or is prone to false alarms, you still need a professional site survey. Your existing fire alarm may not meet the newest code requirements, so the person performing the site survey has to measure building dimensions and make a record of all of the existing sensors on site. He delivers that information to a fire alarm engineer who designs a new system tailored to your needs based on the most efficient new technologies and code requirements.
If the installation company you choose has to perform the work during your normal working hours, you can expect some disruptions to your normal working routine. Conduit and new wiring require an installation crew and maybe even the use of a lift if your ceilings are tall enough. Once the conduit and wiring are finished, the crew needs to install, label, and test the new sensors and notification appliances.
The testing of fire alarm systems is necessarily loud and time-consuming, so you can expect a lot of frowns from the building’s inhabitants. Fortunately, the installation crew will eventually finish their task, and you’ll have a brand new state-of-the-art fire alarm that will protect lives and property for years to come.
Ontario area businesses have been relying on All Protect Systems, Inc for their fire alarm needs since 1996. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!
Fire safety is a big part of staying safe in the event of a fire. Ontario recorded one of its worst years of fire-related deaths in 2021 with 124 cases. 2022 proved to be just as deadly with 102 deaths reported by October.
The constant threat of both residential and commercial fires means you have to be informed and take steps to learn about the latest fire safety guidelines and regulations.
That’s why in this article, we discuss fire safety in 2023 including trends and best practices.
Best Practice #1
Install Smoke Detectors and Routinely Service Them
The first step to preventing major fire disasters is to have working smoke detectors in your home and workplace. Once you’ve installed the smoke alarms and detectors, ensure you routinely check and replace batteries as needed.
This is absolutely pivotal as smoke detectors and alarms save lives. Statistics show that between 2011 and 2022, at least 14% of unintentional residential fire-related deaths transpired in homes without a smoke alarm (8%) or where the alarm was non-functional (6%).
Best Practice #2
Develop and Practice Your Evacuation Plan
Do all the members of your household know what to do in the event of a fire? On top of having functional smoke alarms, you’ve also got to have a strategic escape plan.
It’s also crucial that you regularly practice the evacuation plan. It must be a comprehensive scheme that also highlights things like where the designated meeting point outside your house is.
During your practice runs, train everyone to familiarise themself with the different ways to get out of the house and or office and how to open exit doors or windows.
Best Practice #3
Keep Flammable Materials Away From Ignition Sources
Do you know what’s the most dangerous thing you could do in your house or office? Keeping flammable materials close to heat sources. This is a recipe for disaster. Think of when you leave dish towels next to a gas burner or an aerosol can of perfume next to a lit candle. That’s a fuel and an ignition source, and under the right conditions, they have the potential to burn your house or workplace down within minutes.
So, take a quick look around the house and workplace. Do you have billowing curtains that need to be secured? Furniture that could be an easy fuel if a candle or cigarette were to accidentally fall on them?
Whatever has the potential to catch fire should be kept at least three feet (91cm) away from ignition sources like heaters, stoves, and candles. The area near these heat sources should also be left clutter-free and clean.
Best Practice #4
Store a Fire Extinguisher in Your Kitchen
Do you know in which room most fires tend to start? If you said, the kitchen, you’re correct. When you’re preparing food, avoid leaving it unattended. We recommend also keeping a fire extinguisher in your home.
Grease fires are extremely dangerous and can spread quite fast. Ensure you purchase a Class B fire extinguisher for the kitchen as it’s particularly suited to put out fires that involve gases, flammable liquids, cooking oils, and grease.
Best Practice #5
Avoid Leaving Cigarettes and Candles Unattended
For a fire to start, three things are involved: a fuel source (e.g. clothing, furniture, flammable liquid), oxygen (which is readily available in the air), and an ignition source (e.g. candles and cigarettes).
If you’re a smoker, be careful where you smoke and how you dispose of your finished cigarette. It’s not enough to just casually throw it on the ground and stomp it out. Make sure it’s properly snuffed out because it only takes one gust of wind to carry that smouldering cigarette to fuel and start a blaze.
If you like lighting candles around your house, never leave them in rooms unattended. Light the candle and keep it in a place where you can keep your eye on it.
Best Practice #6
Understand the Different Types of Workplace Fire Hazards
With remote work slowly becoming a thing of the past and most employees returning full-time to the office, it’s key we take time to address workplace fire hazards. Places of business also have fire safety procedures that you’re supposed to know and follow.
While it is the duty of the company you work for to create a safe working environment, as an employee the onus is on you to learn workplace fire safety best practices.
You want to know what to do and where to go in case of a fire. So, take time to know where the fire exits nearest your desk or office area are and the location of fire extinguishers. This should become easier to remember when you all practice the evacuation plan as a team.
Best Practice #7
Remove Obstructions to Exits
The last tip we have is to keep all exits unobstructed. No objects should block the doors preventing easy access to them. Hallways and stairways must be cleared of all clutter.
It is the employer’s duty to make sure that all egress means are clearly marked and luminescent safety signs are mounted to guide evacuees out of the building should there be a power cut.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, fire safety in 2023 should be a top priority for everyone – parents, homeowners, directors of care homes/nursing facilities, and property managers. By following the guidelines, trends and best practices outlined above, you can help to reduce the risk of fire in your home and workplace.
If you’re a business owner thinking about fire safety training for your team, we want to highlight the necessity of also being aware of provincial-specific fire safety regulations. If you’re unsure about what these are, our team here at Nutech Fire Prevention is ready to assist with more information.
That’s not all we do however, as we also offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, fire safety plans, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services.
Request a free quote today.
Looking for more insight? Check out these previous posts:
· How to Plan a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business
· How to Quickly Stop a Fire in the Workplace
· Fire Safety Training Courses for Canada Businesses
Smoke detectors are a critical safety feature in your business and home. Functional fire alarm systems save lives. Therefore, it’s pivotal that your smoke detectors and alarms are in good working order.
In this post, we’re going to explore the necessity and importance of smoke detectors as well as how to know when it’s time to replace them.
How Often Should You Replace Smoke Detectors?
Fire specialists recommend replacing your smoke detectors every 10 years. If your fire alarm systems and smoke detectors are 10 years or older, it’s probably high time you replaced them.
It is also advisable to carry out monthly tests to make sure detectors are working correctly.
Non-functional smoke detectors pose a serious threat because they won’t be able to alert you if a fire breaks out. This compromises the safety of your family, employees and clients.
The leading causes of smoke detector failure are missing or dead batteries. Today, most professional fire system specialists will recommend installing a hard-wired smoke detector with a battery backup.
Smoke Detector Routine Maintenance
- Smoke detectors should be tested every month by a qualified person.
- Ensure the building is regularly dusted and swept of cobwebs as these can obstruct the detection of smoke in the atmosphere incapacitating your detectors.
- If your smoke detectors are outfitted with regular batteries, swap these out for a new set at least every 12 months.
- Smoke detectors can wear out, consequently, it’s best to have them all replaced once every 10 years.
If you’re not sure of the last time the smoke detectors in your building were replaced, it’s possible to verify by looking at their labels. These labels will indicate when the detectors were made. A missing label is a good sign that the smoke detector might be old and past its replace-by-due date.
When to Replace Your Smoke Detectors
You might be wondering, but how do you know when it’s time to replace your trusty detectors? Here are five tell-tale signs.
1. Your smoke detector looks yellow
One of the fastest ways to know if it’s time to overhaul your smoke detectors is by quickly scanning them for a yellow tinge. The change in colour of smoke detectors is attributed to bromine, a flame retardant substance coating the outer part of the detector.
Through wear and tear, exposure to the elements and oxidation, bromine begins to change the original colour of the smoke detector. This reaction happens over a long period of time, which is an insider tell-tale sign that it’s replacement time.
2. Repetitive chirping that won’t stop
Smoke detectors are not supposed to chirp constantly without cause. If they’re chirping it’s either the batteries are low, the detector itself is about to die, or there’s a real fire! Whichever way you look at it, chirping noises from your detectors isn’t a sound that should be ignored.
Before you rush to replace the smoke detector, you might want to have a technician hardwire the device. If the chirping still persists in spite of this, then it might be an indicator that the detector is on its way out and you should schedule a replacement.
3. Fails the monthly test
Provincial Building and Fire Codes recommend homeowners and building managers test their smoke detectors at least once each month. This test affirms working detectors and draws your attention to the smoke detectors in need of replacement.
Fortunately, the test is quite straightforward. All that’s required is pressing the “test” button that’s on each smoke detector. If the device is working correctly, it should let out a loud siren (you may want to step back because it can get very loud!).
If, however, after pressing the test button there’s no beeping sound or the sound is muffled then this must be addressed by replacing the faulty smoke detector.
4. Incessant alarm without cause
Smoke detectors are designed to be robust, home safety devices, however as they age, they can begin to sound for no apparent reason.
This does get on the nerves of many people to the point that they remove the batteries in their detectors altogether. This is of course counterproductive and leaves your home vulnerable in the event that a fire actually does break out.
So, instead of popping out the batteries, consider uninstalling all your old smoke detectors and installing a new batch.
4. It’s faulty and the product was recalled
It does sometimes happen that batches of smoke detectors are recalled by the manufacturer because of a faulty part. If this happens it can be quite a big inconvenience, but it does give you the chance to re-install a new lot of smoke detectors.
How can you know whether your smoke detectors have been recalled? Typically, a quick internet search using a keyword like ‘faulty [insert brand name] smoke detectors in [insert name of town/city]’ will provide you with the answers you need. Alternatively, the store that sold you the products might also ring you up to alert you of a product recall.
Where Should Your Smoke Detectors Be?
Firstly, you’ll want to hire a professional fire expert to install your smoke detectors. They will scope the area in need of protection and identify the best places to set up smoke detectors.
Ideally, there should be smoke detectors on each level of a multi-story building. If it’s a residential space, detectors can be installed within every bedroom and hallway.
Smoke detectors should not be installed close to windows, drafty locations, and vents.
They must be mounted on the ceiling at least 10 cm (4 inches) from the wall. If you’ve opted to have them situated on the wall, they should be placed at a distance of 10-30 cm (4-12 inches) from the ceiling.
Smoke Detector Installation Near You
Nutech Fire Prevention is a leading smoke detector installation service provider. We also offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, fire safety plans, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services.
Request a free quote today.
Looking for more insight? Check out these previous posts:
· How to Plan a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business
· How to Quickly Stop a Fire in the Workplace
· Fire Safety Training Courses for Canada Businesses
Section 2.8.2 of the Ontario Fire Code requires most buildings to have a fire safety plan. Acceptable fire safety plans must include detailed information for all aspects of fire safety for your building or property. The plan shall furnish the following information:
- Safe and orderly evacuation procedure
- Maintenance and cleanliness routines for fire prevention
- Control mechanisms to minimize fire damage
The Ontario Fire Marshal determines the exact requirements for your building’s fire safety plan depending on the building type and occupancy rate. Though there are templates and standard formats available for outlining a fire safety plan, you still must construct one specifically for your building’s unique characteristics.
While they’re required to get your initial certificate of occupancy, your fire plan must be reviewed and updated at least every 12 months or whenever changes to the building use or structure affect fire safety. Even temporary changes to the building can affect fire safety and require temporary adjustments to your fire safety plan.
Areas for Regular Review
Any updates to your fire safety plan undergo the same considerations that involved its original creation. Your periodic audits should identify any variables that influence fire safety. Pay close attention to the following factors:
- Building layout
- Entries and exits
- Adjacent roads
- Building use
- Item storage and use
- Connections for municipal water and the fire department
- Fire alarm
- Sprinkler system
Periodic consideration of these issues is important, but if any construction or demolition occurs, your fire safety plan must be reviewed and updated to reflect the new building conditions. Carefully consider the ramifications of any building changes during fire safety plan audits.
Fire Safety Plan Objectives
When reviewing your fire safety plan, you should refer back to the plan’s original purpose since it always helps to keep the primary objectives in mind when considering possible alterations. Your building’s plan should consider the following issues:
- Procedures to follow in the event of a fire
- Activating the alarm
- Contacting the fire department, key executives, or designated supervisory staff (emergency phone numbers should be adjacent to all telephones on site)
- Occupant evacuation procedure following the sounding of a fire alarm
- Evacuation of those in need of assistance
- Controlling or extinguishing the fire if possible
- Description and frequency of fire drills
- Instruction, education, training, and organization for supervisory staff entrusted with fire safety
- Instructions for staff for preventing and controlling any potential fire hazards that appear in the building
- Any necessary additional educational or training programs
- Maintenance of all fire safety systems
- Diagrams and manuals for the models and location of all fire emergency systems
- Description of any fire safety alternatives
- Access for the fire department to any part of the building the fire may occur
Reasons for Periodic Fire Safety Plan Review
Fire safety plan review can seem like another burdensome bureaucratic nuisance, but it’s vitally important to protect both lives and property. Dangerous fires can occur in even the best-protected buildings. While you can’t eliminate the possibility of a fire, a proper fire safety plan gives your building and its occupants the best possible chance to minimize its destructive effects.
Many business owners and managers have a lot of responsibilities that prevent them from taking the time to design and review their fire safety plans. If you’re one of them, you might find it worthwhile to delegate that important responsibility to a trained professional.
The fire safety experts at All Protect Systems have been helping Ontario businesses with their fire protection needs since 1996. Besides fire safety plans, they also service fire alarms, fire extinguishers and hoses, gas detection systems, emergency and exit lighting, and annual and monthly inspections. Call them today to learn what they can do for you!