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Preventing Fires in Your Property: Key Fire Safety Tips

Fire, an elemental force of nature, has been the driving force in shaping the advancement and expansion of civilization. On its warmth and energy, we find comfort and reassurance. Yet, amidst its allure lies a potent reminder of its destructive power. When not carefully handled, in a matter of seconds, the flickering flames of a fire can quickly become an instrument of devastation.

Fire safety for your property should never be underestimated, as in numerous cases it becomes the fine line between salvation and destruction. A well-prepared property, equipped with effective fire prevention strategies and emergency response plans can significantly reduce the risk of fire-related damages and enhance the safety of your property.

fire safety plan the fire escape

Plan the Fire Escape

If a fire occurred suddenly on your property, would everyone know how to get out safely? Planning fire escapes is crucial to ensure the safety of occupants in case of emergencies.

  1. Conduct a Fire Risk Assessment: First and foremost, conduct an in-depth fire risk assessment of your property. Fires that cause a rapid reaction such as combustion requires the presence of three key elements: oxygen, heat, and fuel, commonly known as the 'Fire Triangle'. Identify all potential fire hazards, sources of ignition, combustible materials, and vulnerable areas where fires can break out.

  2. Know the Building Layout: Understand the layout of the commercial building. This shall include all the features including floors, stairways, elevators, exits, and potential escape routes. Acquire a floor plan for each floor and make it easily accessible to anyone who needs it.

  3. Determine Primary & Secondary Escape Routes: You need to plan multiple escape routes from each area of the building. It is highly advised to designate primary and secondary escape routes in case certain exits are inaccessible during a fire.

  4. Install Emergency Exit Signage and Emergency Lighting: In the event of a power outage or smoke during a fire, visible emergency signs and lighting can make the difference between life and death. Make sure all escape paths are clearly marked and well-lit.

  5. Maintain Fire Safety Equipment: Conduct routine inspections and upkeep of fire safety equipment, encompassing fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems. Fully operational devices are fundamental in controlling minor fires as well as issuing timely alerts during emergencies.

  6. Identify People Who Need Assistance to Escape: Don't forget about individuals with disabilities or limited mobility. Have special evacuation procedures and equipment, such as evacuation chairs, to aid them in exiting the building safely.

  7. Establish Assembly Points: Designate safe meeting spots outside the building where everyone should gather after evacuating. These areas should be a safe distance from the building to prevent any risks.

  8. Coordinate with Emergency Services: Work together with the local fire departments and emergency services to go over your fire escape plan. They can provide useful input and recommendations to enhance the plan's effectiveness.

Conducting a fire escape plan is not a one-time project. It should be regularly reviewed and updated to accommodate changes in the building's layout, occupancy, or fire safety regulations. Conduct regular fire drills and safety education meetings to ensure everyone is familiar with the plan.

fire safety fire prevention know your smoke alarm

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms detect smoke, a significant indicator of fire, at its earliest stages. This early detection allows occupants to respond quickly before the fire grows out of control. Many provinces and states including Ontario, Canada, mandate installation of smoke alarms in every commercial and residential building. Property owners/landlords must install and maintain smoke alarms complying with the law, keeping smoke and CO alarms in working condition. Smoke alarms need to be tested, repaired, and replaced whenever necessary. Devices must be tested regularly, after each battery replacement, and after every change in tenancy.

  • Choose the Right Alarms Smoke alarms in the market come with different features and applications. It is of vital importance to choose the right alarm for your need.

  • Power source You can power smoke alarms using electricity, batteries, or a combination of both. For electrically powered alarms, it is essential to have a battery backup to ensure they continue functioning even during power outages.

  • Technology Smoke alarms commonly use ionization or photo-electric technology. Ionization alarms respond quicker to flaming fires. On the other hand, photo-electric alarms excel in detecting slow, smoldering fires. We recommend considering having both types of alarms on your property for enhanced safety. When purchasing smoke alarms, ensure they display the logo of a recognized standards testing agency like CSA or ULC. These logos guarantee that they meet Canadian performance standards.

  • Pause Feature It is highly recommended to choose smoke alarms with a pause button. With this helpful feature, you can silence the alarm temporarily without disconnecting it from its power source.

fire protection make sure you know how to use a fire extinguisher

Fire Extinguishers

Did you know that there is no single fire extinguisher that can combat every kind of fire? It is essential to acquire the suitable fire extinguisher type that fits your particular circumstances. With a wide array of options available, it is crucial to obtain the right one for your needs. Five Different Types of Fire Class A - Involving ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, plastics, or rubber. Class B - Involving flammable liquids such as grease, oil paint, solvent, etc. Class C - Involving energized/live electrical equipment such as electrical panels, appliances, or power tools. Class D - Involving combustible metals such as Magnesium, Aluminum, Titanium, and Potassium. Class K - Involving commercial cooking equipment such as combustible cooking oil.

different types of fire extinguishers

Types of Portable Fire Extinguishers

Water Extinguishers: They are filled with approximately two-thirds with water and then pressurized with air. Class A fire can be extinguished with this type of extinguisher as they rapidly remove the heat from the burning material. Water extinguishers must not use for any electrical fire for water is a conductor of electricity. Also, it must not be used for flammable liquid or cooking oil fires.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extinguishers: They are pressurized Carbon Dioxide, useful for Class B and C fires. Carbon Dioxide covers the fuel by blanketing it and effectively prevents further reaction by displacing oxygen. Please note that Carbon Dioxide extinguishers have a moderate spray range and only last between 10 to 30 seconds. You may need to attach a hard horn to aim at the target area better. You must not use this type of extinguisher in confined spaces unless you and other people have appropriate respiratory protection gear. Also, do not use Carbon Dioxide extinguishers for Class A fires as they will re-ignite after the CO2 disperses.

know how to use a fire extinguisher correctly using PASS

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Remember P A S S:

PULL: Pull the pin. This will break the tamper seal. AIM: Aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle (or its horn or hose) at the base of the fire. SQUEEZE: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent. SWEEP: Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it it out.

Know When to Use a Portable Fire Extinguisher

Every fire extinguisher's location must be easily accessible and clearly visible. They need to be easily reached without any obstructions. Location signs, class markings, and operating instructions all need to be clear.

Make sure you use the proper size of extinguishers. Install them according to the height requirement as per your jurisdiction's Fire Code. Service them at least once a year or when the monthly inspection indicates. Keep written records including the type of extinguishers, location, inspection date, description of texts, date of next inspection, and inspector's signature and comments.

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