Posts Tagged ‘emergency lighting’

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 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!

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:

  • 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
  • (1) Means of egress shall be maintained in good repair and free of obstructions.
  • (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!

What Should Be Inspected During Annual Fire Safety Inspections

Posted: October 2nd, 2019

Fires happen at an alarming rate, with the official figures only further emphasizing just how important it actually is for businesses to have strict fire prevention and safety measures in place. Such measures have been embraced by Canada, the United States and many other countries all over the world, because there is no safer way to deal with fire than to prevent one from happening in the first place.

To this end, fire departments conduct annual inspections of buildings in order to ensure they are in compliance with current legal standards in regards to fire safety and to assess and mitigate any potential fire hazards in such properties. The way in which such inspections are performed by fire inspector can however be different depending on the area, which only makes it all the more important for businesses to ensure that all areas of inspection are up to code.

What will be checked?

Things that fire inspectors are likely to check during annual fire safety inspections include the likes of the condition of equipment pertaining to fire safety such as emergency lighting, fire alarms and sprinkler systems.

Other things that should be inspected during annual fire safety inspections include fire hazards, potential access for fire fighters in the event a fire does break out on the premises and any life safety issues.

Fire extinguishers

Many facilities run into trouble during annual fire inspections due to the condition of their fire extinguishers, which may be inoperable, placed in positions that are hard to see or find, or which may simply not be present in enough quantity.

It is vital that all fire extinguishers on the premises be hung in the correct position and that there are enough extinguishers to comply with the fire safety code requirement. A lot of businesses actually fail to realise that their fire extinguishers have to be inspected and tagged on an annual basis, but if a well trained Fire Protection Company such as All Protect Systems performs this service, then this aspect of the annual fire inspection should be passed with no problems.

Emergency lighting

Another thing that should be inspected during an annual fire safety inspection is the state of the emergency lighting on the premises. If a building is plunged into darkness during any kind of emergency situation, and the emergency lighting fails to switch on when it is supposed to do so, the result can be panic that will make the situation even more perilous for everyone inside.

Thus an inspection of the emergency lighting in a building should be carried out on an annual basis, usually at the same time as the annual inspection of the fire extinguishers.

Sprinkler systems

An annual fire safety inspection should also see an inspection carried out on the sprinkler system of a building, in addition to an internal inspection that should take place every five years. A Fire Protection Company such as All Protect Systems will be able to advise your company’s maintenance crew on the minimum requirements that your sprinkler system must be able to meet in order to pass an annual fire safety inspection.

Easy access

An annual fire inspection will inevitably check to make sure that all exit doors are easy to open from within the building, as seconds can mean live lost or saved during an emergency situation such as a fire. It is imperative than an exit door does not need a key or access code to be opened, and that it is not blocked in any way.

The same issue with obstructions also applies to the likes of aisles, pathways, stairways and walkways, all of which must be clear and the blocking of any emergency egress in any way will result in automatic failure of an annual fire inspection.

Talk to All Protect Systems today in order to ensure your building is in compliance of fire safety codes and will pass an annual fire safety inspection.

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