Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Forest Fires; a Refresher for a Dry Spring

Bison Fire's Forest Fire Refresher

We can probably all agree that this spring has been a dry one, to say the least. With the exception of some recent thunderstorms thunderstorms the prairies have been going through an unusually dry spring season, which means the risk of forest fires is higher than ever.

In fact, even though the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has lifted some fire restrictions, several still remain until we get a few more good downpours.

With this in mind, we felt this would be a good time to revisit what you need to know about forest fires, and how to prevent them:

How Do Forest Fires Start?

According to the National Forestry Database, over 8000 wildfires occur in Canada each year, burning an average of over  2.1 million hectares throughout the country.

Forest fires can only start one of two ways:

  • Through nature. This may occur due to a lightning strike, or occasionally by spontaneous combustion of dry fuel such as sawdust and leaves. These fires make up an incredible 85% of the area of land burned each year.
  • Through human action. Whether from a lack of care and attention or through neglecting to follow fire safety rules, many forest fires are the result of human influence.

Other causes of forest fires are:

  • Smoking
  • Recreational equipment
  • Unattended fires
  • Agricultural equipment

Fact: Most Fires Caused by Humans Are Preventable

Manitoba is a heavily wooded province, with 36.3 million hectares of forested and wooded area covering the 63.6 million hectares of land that make up the province.

This means over 57% of our total land area is forested, and we have a responsibility to protect it.

This means taking the appropriate steps to ensure that we’re complying with both the annual ban on open fires which runs from April 1st to November 15th, and to take steps to make sure that we never leave our fires unattended, or start fires in an unapproved fire pit.

Practicing  Forest Fire Safety

We all have a responsibility to protect our province and it’s natural resources, so here are some steps you can take to keep forest fires at a minimum this season:

  • Only start fires in approved and enclosed firepits.
  • Avoid starting a fire in extremely hot, dry, or windy weather conditions.
  • Don’t ever throw cigarette butts onto the ground. If you must smoke while in a heavily wooded area, ensure you bring along a portable ashtray.
  • Keep fire safety equipment nearby at all times. If outdoors, items such as water, a shovel, and some sort of fire retardant are key items to have around.
  • Take care when using items like matches, lanterns, or other high-heat or smoking materials.

For more information on preventing forest fires in Manitoba, or what type of fire safety equipment best fits your needs, let Bison Fire Protection help.

With fire safety services available in Winnipeg, Thompson, Brandon, Regina, and Kenora, we’re here to help you and your loved ones stay safe. Contact us at 866-441-3473 to schedule an appointment with us today.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:11 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

3 Easy Ways to Reduce False Fire Alarms on College and University Campuses

Bison Fire's 3 Easy Ways to Reduce False Alarms

Many of us don’t realize it, but university and college campuses are often at a high risk for a fire due to the high volume of people coming and going, preparing food, and living in-residence. Just like any business or public area, students and faculty alike rely on each other to practice proper fare safety measures in order to protect themselves and the campuses they love.

Some of the most common challenges that campuses face when it comes to staying fire-safe according to Campus Safety Magazine, include:

Some of the most common causes of false fire alarms on college and university campuses, according to Campus Safety Magazine, include:

  • Poor fire protection system design.
  • Shower steam.
  • Burned popcorn.
  • Lack of proper fire protection system maintenance.
  • Practical jokes.


False fire alarms are not only disruptive to everyone on campus, but they are also a waste of valuable public safety resources and may result in a loss of life in the event of a real fire.

Check out these 4 ways that universities and colleges can stay fire-safe and reduce the number of false fire alarms on campus:

1. Discipline Pranksters

Many people don’t take fire safety seriously and will resort to tactics like pulling the fire alarm in the middle of class as an excuse to be disruptive to others. However, not only do false fire alarms impact both faculty and student productivity and focus, but they reduce the likelihood that people will take a fire alarm seriously the next time it happens.

By addressing this issue and properly disciplining pranksters you can discourage the prevalence of false fire alarms on campus. Make sure that there are fair and clear disciplinary policies available for students to access, and enforce a “zero tolerance” approach to the penalty for mischief, and will be dealt with by the judicial affairs committee on campus.

2. Encourage Students to Lead by Example

The easiest and most effective method of reducing false fire alarms on campus is to encourage students to keep one another accountable, and to self-police goings-on on campus. Encourage students to report suspicious activity, and to to practice habits like never leaving a microwave unattended, flicking cigarette butts into trash cans instead of putting them out, and other actions which may result in a false fire alarm.

3. Add Video Surveillance

It people on campus know that video surveillance is being used to keep both students and staff safe and protected, then it reduces the likelihood of negative behaviour.

Not only does video surveillance discourage mischief on campus, but in the event that a prankster does decide to put the campus at risk by faking a fire, then the authorities will be able to see who pulled the fire alarm, and when, and take appropriate action.

If you have any questions about fire alarms, fire equipment, or more steps to protect your college or university campus from fake fire alarms, contact Bison Fire Protection by calling 866-411-3473 today. We provide top-notch fire safety services in Winnipeg, Brandon, Kenora, Saskatoon, and Regina.

Posted by Rob Read at 9:59 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Spring Has Sprung: 4 Tips for a Fire-Safe Spring Season

Bison Fire's 4 Tips for a Successful Spring

Spring is finally beginning to show it’s true colours in the prairie, with parts of the area even experiencing grass fires from an extremely dry April. Although it’s easy to think about spring and all of the fun that the warmer months will bring, it’s important that homeowners and commercial building managers consider the safety of their built environments before heading out for a summer full of adventure.

While performing your annual spring clean of your home or business, make sure that implement the following tips and tricks for a fire-safe spring season.

1.  Clean Your Garage and Remove Potential Fire Hazards

For many, their garage or storage room is their “catch-all” area of the home. It’s where old school papers are kept, propane tanks are stored, and plenty of other rarely-used items call home. Because of this, it’s easy for these areas to get cluttered with a wide variety of flammable objects that can make a small fire a catastrophic event in a matter of moments.

While you’re doing your spring clean, take time to get into your garage and clean out unused items and organize kept items in a way that is not cramped and allows people to move in and out freely.

2. Inspect and Test Your Fire Safety Equipment

A rainy spring day is the perfect occasion to take care of necessary household tasks, so why not add testing the smoke alarms to the list? These should be tested on a monthly basis anyways, but your indoor day provides you with the opportunity to change the batteries, as well. While you’re at it, check your flashlight’s battery level, change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors, and make sure that your fire extinguishers have not expired over the past year.

3. Make Your Home and Yard Fire-Safe

With spring cleaning comes yard work. You may already have piles of dried outdoor debris raked into neat piles and brown bags. If this is the case, make sure that they are kept a fair distance from your home, as they are extremely flammable, especially during years where the spring weather is more on the dry side.

Similarly, keep other flammable items and objects a safe distance from your home as well. This includes things like propane, gasoline, and grills or charcoal BBQs. Ideally, a yard will have a stone detached garage or a small shed in the yard to keep these items when they’re not in use.

4. Review and Rehearse Your Fire Safety Plan

Fire safety is an important part of home or business ownership. To protect yourself, your employees, and your loved ones, review your fire safety plan in the spring to ensure that all fire safety equipment is up-to-date and that everyone knows what to do in the case of a fire-related emergency. Clean up any clutter, and inspect all rooms of your home or business to make sure designated fire routes are accessible to all.

By taking the above fire safety precautions, you can ensure that you’ll have a fun, fire-safe transition into the summer months.

Are you interested in updating your home or businesses fire safety equipment? At Bison Fire Protection, we’re always ready to provide fire safety equipment services in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Regina, and Saskatoon. Call 866-411-3473 to schedule your next appointment, or contact us online today.

Posted by Rob Read at 4:29 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

5 Things to Do on Home Fire Sprinkler Day

Bison Fire's 5 Things to do on Home Sprinkler Day

2018 is the first annual Home Fire Sprinkler Day which will take place on Saturday, May 19th, 2018. Home fire sprinklers may not be your first thought when considering fire safety measures in your home, as they are generally thought to be expensive and cause water damage.

However, as fire safety professionals and advocates know, these home systems can be an effective part of your home’s fire safety plan to protect you and your loved ones. If you’re not sure how to participate in Home Fire Sprinkler Day on May 19th, the following information and tips will help you create a safe home and make the day a success.

How Do Home Fire Sprinkler Systems Work?

It’s important that you’re familiar with home fire sprinkler systems and the benefits that they can provide during a fire-related emergency. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fire sprinkler systems can “reduce the risk of dying from home fires by 80 percent and can reduce the risk of property loss by 70 percent.”

These systems have been designed to be extremely efficient and safe through the years. In most cases, a home’s fire sprinkler system will only activate in very specific situations. For example, many people assume that a home fire extinguisher is similar to those of commercial and public spaces, complete with a pull-lever or extra-sensitive detectors. As the fire protection needs differ between homes and commercial buildings, so do the types of fire sprinkler systems.

In nearly all residential buildings, sprinkler heads will only activate when a certain amount of heat is present. Additionally, a home’s sprinkler system will activate one sprinkler head at a time so that only areas under threat of fire-related damage will be sprayed.

Oftentimes, a home’s fire sprinkler system will be a type of last-resort fire protection mechanism, as homeowners can usually extinguish the types of small fires that commonly occur in homes (in the kitchen or garage, for example)  with a portable fire extinguisher. In the cases where your home’s fire sprinkler system does activate and cause extensive water damage, your home’s insurance policy should cover both fire damage and water damage when related to the same emergency event.

5 Things You Can Do for Home Fire Sprinkler Day

As 2018 is the first Home Fire Sprinkler Day for fire safety professionals and homeowners in North America, you may be wondering what activities and practices you can do on May 19th to take part in the action. Consider trying the following events and activities for Home Fire Sprinkler Day from the NFPA:

  • Spark a campaign on social media platforms outlining the importance of home fire sprinkler systems.
  • Invite media professionals for a tour of a home equipped with a fire sprinkler system, discussing how they can create a better fire protection and safety system for homes all over your area.
  • Consider hosting a home fire sprinkler demonstration. To do this, get in touch with your local fire department.
  • Discuss home fire sprinkler systems with local fire department professionals so that they are better informed on their implications.
  • Do your research and write to your local government to outline gaps in your area’s home fire sprinkler system laws.

Our team at Bison Fire Protection wants to help you establish Home Fire Sprinkler Day as an annual day of awareness for your community. For more information or to learn more about home fire sprinkler systems, call 866-411-3473 or contact us online today. We’re available for service in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Regina, and Saskatoon.

Posted by Rob Read at 9:02 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Grilling Safety Tips for National BBQ Week

Bison Fire's Grilling Tips for BBQ Week

The month of May is flying by fast! If you haven’t lit up your BBQ grill yet, there’s no better time to get started than National BBQ Week. From May 30th to June 6th, 2018, BBQ-lovers around the globe will be celebrating with those they love and food they can’t get enough of.

However, along with the ignition of your BBQ comes a responsibility to grill safely. According to information from the U.S. Fire Administration, grill-related fires causes $37 million of damage on average each year. To protect your property, yourself, and your loved ones, start implementing these grilling safety tips while you're celebrating National BBQ week and whenever you’re grilling this year.

Keep Your BBQ Grill a Safe Distance From Your Home

Just like you wouldn’t start a bonfire in a pit right outside your back door, you should aim to keep your grill a safe distance away from your home to lower your risk of damage during a fire-related emergency. Aim to keep your grill about 10 to 15 feet away from your home and any attached areas, including your garage, shed, or gazebo.

Make Sure You Have Fire Safety Equipment By Your Grill

It’s important to keep a portable fire extinguisher near where you’re cooking with heat, whether you’re inside or outside. Make sure that the fire extinguisher is within reach of your grill and that you’ve trained whoever will be around the grill how to properly activate and use the extinguisher. The PASS (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep) method is the easiest to teach, and most probably the easiest to remember.

However, if there is an occurrence that you cannot activate your fire extinguisher with ease or do not know how to use it effectively, immediately call 911 when a fire occurs.

Give Your Grill a Spring Cleaning

With regular use, debris like fat and grease tend to build up on grills. Make sure that you give your grill a thorough clean before your first use in the spring, and clean it regularly throughout its seasons of use.

What to Do If a Grill Fire Occurs

Because grease will be the most likely cause of a grill fire, it’s important that you have the right equipment and items to quickly extinguish the fire. Chat with your local fire safety equipment provider about the type of fire extinguisher best suited for your unique grill needs, and keep baking soda nearby to extinguish small grease fires on your grill.

Perform a Quick Check Before Starting Your Grill

Before lighting up your grill to cook your next meal, take a couple minutes to perform a quick inspection to make sure that your BBQ is in safe working order. Check connection points, including those between your propane tank and the grill itself, and tighten if they are loose.

You can also check for gas leaks on a regular basis with soap and water. Apply the mixture to your gas home and turn on the gas tank. When there is a leak, bubbles will begin to appear on the hose where the gas is leaking. Make sure that you immediately turn off the tank if you notice holes and have your grill professionally serviced and maintained.

Want some help to keep your grilling activities safe during National BBQ Week and beyond? Get in touch with Bison Fire Protection by calling 866-411-3473 today. We provide top-notch fire safety services in Winnipeg, Brandon, Kenora, Saskatoon, and Regina.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:16 PM 0 Comments