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 184.108.40.206. 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
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.
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
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.
According to the second law of thermodynamics, it’s natural for everything to break down and deteriorate all by itself. Fire extinguishers are no exception to this rule. It might still look the same as the day you bought it, looks can be deceiving, and degradation is happening continuously. While the lifespan of your fire extinguisher depends on various factors, you can generally expect them to last between 5-15 years.
5-15 years may seem like a wide discrepancy, but several factors contribute to the expected lifespan of your fire extinguisher. Regular inspections and maintenance by a qualified fire extinguisher technician can take the guesswork out of your vital life safety devices. Conveniently located in Waterloo, Ontario, All Protect Systems Inc serves much of the surrounding area. Call them today to find out how they can help keep your home or business safe.
A time-honored tradition for any product with a life expectancy is always to check the expiration date. Look for a paper tag attached to the handle of the extinguisher. Even if the tag doesn’t explicitly state a date of expiration, it should have some date on it. If that day was more than ten years ago, it’s probably time to replace your unit. If no tag is apparent, there might be a date code imprinted on the equipment. If the numbers don’t make sense, don’t be afraid to look up the model number on the internet and see what information is available.
While not all fire extinguishers have gauges, most do. Look for the indicator on top of the handle. It will show you the amount of pressure left in the tank. They usually have a red (empty) and green (full) section, so as long as the pointer is in the green area, your equipment should have enough material to function correctly.
Hopefully, you keep your fire extinguisher in a safe environment. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. Fires can happen anywhere, and you need to keep extinguishers near the most likely places. Such locations are often subject to physical damage or environmental corrosion of your unit.
Harmful chemicals, extreme temperatures, or other factors can cause the rubber hose or nozzle on your equipment to deteriorate and crack over time. This process occurs slowly, and you probably won’t notice it. Periodic inspections by a trained professional are invaluable in these circumstances.
Your fire extinguisher can also get knocked off its bracket by an inadvertent collision with an enthusiastic employee. Even if you try to mount your extinguishers away from high traffic areas, such accidents are common. Damage to a fire extinguisher may not be evident to the untrained eye. Locking pins go missing. Handles become wobbly or loose, and debris can clog the nozzle. It’s a good idea to assign a specific employee the responsibility of monthly or quarterly inspections of all your life safety equipment.
Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
Some types of fire extinguishers last longer than others. You shouldn’t expect pressurized water, carbon dioxide, and wet chemical extinguishers to last longer than three years. Dry chemical extinguishers, on the other hand, should last at least 12 years. The type of extinguishing agent in your equipment should be visible on your tank.
Fire Extinguishers are the type of thing we tend to ignore until our lives depend on them. Unfortunately, we need to pay attention to them before they become critical for survival. Keep complete records of your maintenance and expiration dates of all your fire extinguishing equipment, and service them when necessary. If you would prefer to delegate this responsibility to a trained professional, call the experts at All Protect Systems Inc. They offer complete solutions to all your property and life safety protection systems.
Fire extinguishers are a vital part of any safe workplace, but not everyone knows how to use them. Proper knowledge and training of how to operate a fire extinguisher could save critical minutes in an emergency, and make the difference in getting employees to safety. Ensure that everyone in your workplace is properly trained on how to use a fire extinguisher, by following a few simple guidelines.
There are two key components to training employees
on how to use fire extinguishers – making sure that training is done correctly
and consistently. Correct training means having a skilled instructor who
understands the technical equipment and fire code regulations and can answer
any questions your staff may have. Consistent training involves having regular
meetings and updates to refresh workers’ knowledge of the equipment.
We recommend bringing in a fire safety
professional to provide fire extinguisher training. The correct use of a fire
extinguisher should include knowledge of the P.A.S.S. system, which is an
acronym for “Pass, Aim, Squeeze, Swap.” Make sure that you and your staff are
comfortable with these four steps:
Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher.
Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the trigger in a controlled manner.
Sweep the nozzle of the fire extinguisher from side to side to
cover the entire area.
We strongly suggest employees commit the P.A.S.S.
system to memory, and that you or a department supervisor test your employees
on a regular basis. However, operating instructions for fire extinguishers
should also be clearly visible for anyone who may be a position to use the fire
extinguishers in your workplace. Section 220.127.116.11 (1) of the Ontario Fire Code requires
that portable fire extinguishers be mounted so they are visible and accessible
at all times, while Section 18.104.22.168 states that operating instructions for extinguishers
should face outward for visibility when extinguishers are located in cabinets, shelves
or wall recesses.
But there is more to fire extinguisher safety than just knowing how to operate the extinguisher. Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
(WSPS) recommends that proper fire
extinguisher training should include learning the locations of extinguishers, the
types of fire most likely to occur in the workplace and the proper
extinguishers to use in each instance, markings on fire extinguishers, the
importance of sounding fire alarms, health and safety hazards, protective
equipment and more.
WSPS provides resources on fire extinguisher safety, including consulting
services and online courses. The team at All Protect Systems
Inc. can also
provide information about resources and training for employee fire safety.
Consistency is important when it comes to training both new and old employees. Training
should be scheduled regularly in the workplace, at a minimum of once a year. Retraining
can be scheduled as often as needed. Look at each training session as an
opportunity to build confidence in your staff’s emergency skills. Fire safety
training should also be included in the training and orientation of all new
Remember that different people learn in different ways, so be prepared to
provide more than one method of training. Hands-on training is always
effective, allowing employees to handle and operate the fire extinguishers
themselves. However, it’s also helpful to provide written instructions, links
to videos, and the opportunity to talk one-one-one with a fire safety expert,
so staff can absorb knowledge in the way that works for them.
A workplace emergency, like a fire, can be a
stressful and chaotic time for both employees and supervisors. Proper training
about fire procedures and equipment can help everyone to handle the crisis
safely and smoothly. Contact the team at All Protect Systems Inc. if you
have any questions about fire extinguisher training, equipment or workplace
safety. We’ll be happy to work with you to make your workplace a safer place
for your employees.