Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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!

Signs It’s Time To Upgrade Your Fire Safety Equipment

Posted: December 15th, 2020

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!

Is Your Apartment Fire Safety Plan Up To Code?

Posted: November 15th, 2020

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!

Protecting Your Business Against Different Types of Fires

Posted: October 15th, 2020

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!