Posts Tagged ‘fire drills’

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!

Do Your Employees Know Your Fire Safety?

Posted: June 15th, 2020

Required by Ontario law under Section 2.8 of Division B and other areas of the Ontario Fire Code for specific types of buildings, Fire Safety Plans must adhere to strict guidelines. They must be carefully prepared and receive approval by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, usually the local fire marshall. However, regardless of how good your Fire Safety Plan is, it won’t be effectively executed if your employees are unaware of it.

Fire Safety Plans involve procedures, documentation, and especially training. While the supervisory staff usually receive rigorous and detailed instruction, it’s common for most of a building’s workers to be unaware of the plan’s details. Running the day to day operations of any enterprise can be so overwhelming that management often neglects to inform its workforce on emergency preparedness. If you wish to delegate the preparation and implementation of your Fire Safety Plan to professionals, the highly trained staff at All Protect Systems, Inc can handle this responsibility for you.

Buildings Requiring Fire Safety Plans

The Ontario Fire Code requires many but not all buildings to prepare and implement a Fire Safety Plan. High rise buildings, residential, assembly occupancies, care homes for children or the elderly, and those that house hazardous materials are just some of the building types that require such plans. 

While Fire Safety Plans for all buildings must include specialized training for all supervisory staff, Section 2.8 only requires the instruction for employees of hotel establishments. For instance, hotel employees must receive training on all aspects of Article 2.8.2.1. Such activities include but are not limited to:

  • Activating the fire alarm and notifying the fire department
  • Instructing and evacuating the building occupants
  • Using the elevators in the event of a fire
  • Controlling and extinguishing a fire

While the Ontario Fire Code only requires this training for hotel workers, it doesn’t mean other businesses can’t benefit from employee fire safety training. Like all work related to continuing education, fire safety training pays dividends in the long run. Employee familiarity with fire safety can save both lives and company property. Unfortunately, most employees’ knowledge of Fire Safety Plans is limited to an annual fire drill.

Fire Safety Plan Design

The contents of a Fire Safety Plan must include all relevant information regarding the prevention and control of a fire. The plan must consist of information, such as:

  • Documentation of fire protection equipment including drawings indicating their location
  • Contact information for supervisors
  • Emergency fire procedures
  • Fire drills
  • Building maintenance for fire prevention
  • Spill procedures (if applicable)

Most employees are usually only familiar with the evacuation procedures during a fire drill. Management should regard evacuation procedures as the absolute minimum for employee fire safety training. Educating employees on the rest of the plan can improve safety and even help protect company property.

In 2018, there were 7,000 dangerous structural fires in Ontario. These fires cost more than $730 million in damages and resulted in 722 injuries with 81 fatalities. Could employees well-versed in the details of a company’s Fire Safety Plan help reduce these numbers? Simple logic dictates that it would.

It can often become part of a company’s culture to keep its employees on a “need to know” basis of much of the day to day operations. After all, a little bit of information can be a dangerous thing. Unfortunately, the secrecy of company policy can reach into unintended areas. 

Employees who are well-trained in your company’s fire safety can not only help control fires; they may even help prevent them. Once conscious of fire safety, employees can spot potential hazards before they materialize. If you’re looking for professionals to design and implement your building’s Fire Safety Plan, All Protect Systems, Inc has a dedicated team of experts that can put together a plan that your employees can learn and help implement. Call them today to find out what they can do for you.

How Often Should You Hold Fire Drills

Posted: May 15th, 2020

Fire drills are disruptive to building activities, they’re also a necessary life safety practice for your premises. Building fires can spread rapidly, and being well-versed in evacuating a building stands a much better chance of safely escaping a fire.

Fire drills should not only involve evacuating personnel from the building; instead, they should be part of an overall fire safety plan that includes documenting fire protection equipment and procedures as well as controlling fire hazards throughout the building. All Protect Systems, Inc. can help your residential or commercial building develop a customized fire safety plan. Call them today and find out what they can do for you.

Perform Fire Drills a Minimum of Once Each Year

It might seem like a lot if you’re not in the habit of holding fire drills, but without regular practice, a fire evacuation can be a chaotic event. Besides enhancing occupant safety, the exercises also encourage management to think of themselves as part of a team and to be conscious of fire as a real and present danger. There’s no better detection for potential fire hazards than the alert eyes of the people who occupy the building every day.

Have a Plan for the Drill 

Fire drills need to be planned and organized. Ensure that occupants are aware of the various fire exits throughout the facility. Most people use the same entry doors every day, so they tend to rely on habit in an emergency. A plan allows them to access the best egress in their location. 

Ontario 213/07 is the fire code created under the Fire and Prevention Act of 1997. It details the legal requirements to which all types of premises must adhere.

Subsection 2.8.2 stipulates the requirements for a Fire Safety Plan. Part of this plan demands that the occupant appoint and train a supervisory staff responsible for performing safety duties and instructing other occupants about their responsibilities during a fire emergency. Other requirements during a fire include:

  • Audible fire alarm activation
  • Fire department notification
  • Occupant instruction during the fire alarm
  • Evacuation of occupants including those with special needs
  • Usage of elevators
  • Fire control

Depending on the building structure and type of activity, your company may need to develop a fire safety plan and have it approved by the authority having jurisdiction. Keep this plan stored in an approved location and review it whenever necessary. You still must review it at least once per year to consider any building changes that have taken place.

Make Emergency Procedures Visible

All buildings are required to post emergency fire procedures on each floor, and hotels have additional requirements. If your building’s fire alarm is not monitored, you must post a legible sign next to each manual fire alarm pull station with instructions to contact the fire department. The sign must include the local emergency telephone number or the number of the local fire department. 

Fire drills should be part of a larger fire safety plan required by Ontario law. Capable administrators must either develop these plans themselves or delegate this responsibility to trained professionals. The team at All Protect Systems, Inc. are experts at developing fire safety plans. By staying abreast of any changes in technology or code requirements, they can help keep your building and personnel safe. They’re a full-service fire protection provider in the Ontario area, serving Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Elmira, New Hamburg, Wellesley, Listowel, Stratford, Woodstock, and surrounding areas. Call them today for an evaluation of your current fire safety plan.

How To Conduct Fire Drills The Right Way

Posted: December 2nd, 2019

The last thing most people expect to happen at work is a fire or any other kind of disaster, but the truth is they happen on a regular basis in offices all over the world.

A workplace can actually be a life-threatening environment if a fire does break out. This is why company leaders and workers need to know how to conduct fire drills the right way in the workplace.

One of the best methods to prepare everyone for a real emergency is to schedule fire drills on a regular basis so that knowing how to safely leave the premises is second nature to all involved.

Fire drills help workers to be aware of how to get out of the office in the event of any emergency, such as a natural disaster or an armed intruder on the premises.

The art of repetition

The great majority of schools hold regular fire drills every few months. These drills are repeated so frequently so that the routine actually becomes a habit and in the event of a real emergency taking place children will know precisely what they need to do without thinking.

Complacency can even lead to ignorance of basic safety knowledge such as the location of fire exits. In some cases fire exit doors may be jammed or partly blocked. Issues such as these will be exposed by regular fire drills.

Create a detailed plan

It is crucial to come up with a detailed fire evacuation plan before you start holding regular fire drills. You will have to imagine the possibilities of where a fire may start in your building, such as in the kitchen or warehouse, or if your business could be at risk from natural events such as wildfires during the summer months.

How to do it

Once the plan has been drawn up the next step is to make sure that you have an established fire team who know what to do in order to ensure the success of your fire drill.

It is also crucial that every employee is aware of why the fire drill is important or you risk them failing to take it seriously.

The drill should be announced in places where it will be seen by all employees and scheduled on your firm’s Google or Outlook calendar.

What are you hoping to achieve?

It is important to have clear goals that you want to achieve for a fire drill. These goals and standards can then be improved upon in subsequent drills. If it takes fifteen minutes for all employees to exit the building on the first fire drill, try and find it why it took so long and take steps to reduce that time on the next drill.

Measurable metrics include how long the evacuation took, how long it took to report that the drill had been completed and if all equipment was successfully shut down.

Where to go

Every employee needs to be accounted for away from the building for a fire drill to be considered a success. There needs to be pre-chosen rally point at a strategic outside location. Several rally points may need to be selected for big companies, with every point having its own individual fire team leader. In the event an employee is not present, predetermined reporting protocols should be followed and the whole fire team and authorities alerted.

Observers

Several employees should be selected to observe your fire drills. These observers need to look out for issues such as large groups dawdling, people using mobile devices, people choosing to leave via a less convenient exit and if disabled employees find it more difficult to open doors or use stairs.

Get in touch with All Protect Systems today to discuss how they can assist with the preparation of fire drills in your company that could save lives.

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