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:
- 18.104.22.168.(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
- 22.214.171.124. (1) Means of egress shall be maintained in good repair and free of obstructions.
- 126.96.36.199. (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:
- 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
- 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!
The first gas detection systems were very primitive. One man on a mining crew would walk down a mine shaft with a lit torch and cover himself with a wet blanket. If he encountered dangerous gas, the flame would ignite it, and the damp blanket would protect him. Of course, the protection frequently failed, and many men were lost.
Gas detection systems eventually improved to where canaries replaced men. The canaries reacted loudly to the presence of gas before it became harmful to humans. Though undoubtedly cruel to the birds, it saved many men’s lives. Fortunately, modern technologies have come a long way since those early days. However, unlike their predecessors, contemporary gas detection systems require regular calibrations. The expert team of technicians at All Protect Systems are registered with the Canadian Fire Alarm Association and are up to date with the latest standards and codes.
Canadian Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHS)
The Canadian OHS has strict rules governing the use of gas detection systems, and enterprises must conform to these safety regulations. Besides using the appropriate gas detection equipment for your location, you must have them calibrated regularly, not just at the time of installation. Some manufacturers only require semi-annual or quarterly calibration, while others recommend monthly service. The OHS may conduct random visits to your place of business, or they may respond to an employee complaint.
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
The IEC is the international standards organization responsible for all fields of electrotechnology. Their bulletin titled IEC 60079-29-2:2015 gives strict instructions for selecting, installing, using, and maintaining gas detection equipment in both groups one and two. Group one includes equipment measuring flammable gases in underground coal mines, and group two covers electrical devices used in industrial and commercial applications.
Gas Detectors Require Proper Maintenance
Don’t be lulled into complacency by the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Both managers and workers can take the proper functioning of a piece of equipment for granted. Since the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, regular calibration for an otherwise reliable gas detector may get overlooked during routine preventative maintenance schedules. Though natural, this is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
Some workers in plant environments even consider their sense of smell to be superior to the gas detection equipment. Just because someone noticed a gas smell before a detector once upon a time, that doesn’t make it a safe method for something as life-threatening as dangerous gas. Some harmful gases (like carbon monoxide) are odorless, and by the time you smell something, it may be too late.
Why Gas Detectors Need Regular Calibration
A catalytic sensor’s performance usually degrades and fails from exposure to industrial toxins. Your gas detection equipment is in that environment for a reason, and over time, even safe amounts of these chemicals will ruin your sensors. Calibrate them on schedule or even sooner if they show abnormal signs of wear, or anytime they have been bumped, dropped, or knocked over.
Trained technicians must perform these checks using a precise standard gas mixture. The controller’s zero and span levels must be tuned accurately. While the older and less-expensive systems required two people to perform the calibration, one technician can service modern, high-quality models.
Regardless of whatever type of gas you’re monitoring, or which kind of sensor you’re using, do yourself a favor and have them calibrated regularly. While it may seem redundant and unnecessary, calibrated equipment can reduce your workplace risks and save the lives of your most valuable assets, your employees. Please consider the professionals at All Protect Systems. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, they service the surrounding area. Call them today to schedule your gas detection system calibration!