Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance 101

Bison Fire's Extinguisher Maintenance 101

If you run a business in Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, then it’s likely that you already know how important it is to ensure that your fire extinguishers are properly maintained.

However, if you’ve never had to use your fire extinguishers before, then it’s possible that you’ve had the same fire extinguisher for a number of years.

So this begs the all-important question: how long will those portable fire extinguishers last before they have to be replaced?

Have You Been Maintaining Your Extinguisher?

One of the more important aspects of making sure your portable fire extinguisher will always work when you need it most is to make sure that you don’t neglect your fire extinguisher maintenance.

If you’ve had the same fire extinguisher for a while (10 - 12 years, for example) one way to test its current condition is to have it hydrostatically tested. Hydrostatic tests expose your fire extinguisher to high pressure, typically around 500psi, which tests the integrity of the shell.

If the shell holds up, then you can confidently keep your current fire extinguisher for a few more years before it needs to be replaced.

What Can Go Wrong With Your Fire Extinguisher?

Some of the most common problems with portable fire extinguishers include:

  • A crack has caused compressed air to escape. Weakened seals around the neck of your fire extinguisher may have allowed compressed air to escape, which can prevent the extinguisher from working properly.
  • The chemical powder has become packed-down. If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, there’s a chance that the chemical powder may have become packed down and compressed. If this happens, you’ll need expert assistance to empty and recharge the extinguisher.

Are You Worried About the Integrity of Your Fire Extinguisher?

If you’re worried about the integrity of your fire extinguisher, there are a few common warning signs that you can look for in order to determine if servicing is needed. These include:

  • The safety pin is missing, or unsealed.
  • The fire extinguisher hose or nozzle is clogged, ripped, or cracked.
  • The handle is wobbly, or broken.
  • The most recent inspection tag is missing.

How to Safely Dispose of a Fire Extinguisher

Because fire extinguishers are kept under pressure and filled with chemicals, they can’t just be thrown in the trash if they are no longer safe or fit for use.

Below are the steps you need to know in order to safely dispose of your portable fire extinguisher:

  • Call the fire department to see if they will take your extinguisher and recharge or replace it.
  • If the fire department won’t take it, then you need to deposit your fire extinguisher at your closest hazardous waste disposal facility.

If your fire extinguisher is empty:

  • Start by squeezing the lever to make sure that all the extinguishant has been released.
  • Remove the fire extinguisher head so it’s clear that the contents have been removed.
  • Take the steel fire extinguisher to your closest recycling facility, or dispose of the empty canister in your recycling bin.

By properly taking care of your fire extinguisher you can ensure that your home or business is well-protected from fires for years to come.

If you operate a business in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Saskatoon, or Regina and are looking to know more about how to protect your investment from fire damage, contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection by calling 866-441-3473 today to schedule an appointment with a fire safety experts.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:17 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

The Basics of Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Inspections

Bison Fire's Basics of a Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher

When was the last time you had your dry chemical fire extinguisher inspected?

A fire extinguisher that hasn’t been well-maintained is more dangerous than not having a fire extinguisher at all, as the valuable seconds you may spend trying to get it to work might literally mean the difference between life and death.

This is why fire extinguisher maintenance is so important - but it’s critical that your inspections and maintenance are done correctly.

Below is a comprehensive overview of what your fire protection expert should do in order to perform a thorough inspection on your dry chemical fire extinguisher.

The Visual Inspection

The first step to assessing your fire extinguisher is to do a visual inspection. They’ll begin by making sure that the pressure gauge is in the green zone, and will often wipe the fire extinguisher with a cloth to check for dents, rust, and any other damage on the shell of the extinguisher.

The next step is to remove the hose and blow air through it in order to ensure that there’s no dust present in the tube. Afterward the handle, pull pin, and valve head assembly will be assessed in order to ensure that everything is in place and nothing like the pull pin is missing or damaged.

Your inspector will also check the instruction-nameplate, which must be in place and easily readable, as it contains all the important information about your extinguisher, including:

  • Letters and pictures of the classes of fires the extinguisher can extinguish.
  • The rating number which indicates extinguishing capability.
  • Details on how much dry chemical should be in the extinguisher.
  • Temperatures at which the extinguisher will operate.

Hydrostatic Testing

A hydrostatic test is something we’ve discussed here on the Bison Fire Protection blog before, but to quickly recap, your fire extinguisher is pressurized to test pressure and make sure that there are no hairline cracks or pinhole heals, and that the cylinder can maintain pressure without cracking and breaking.

Once the test is complete, the extinguisher will need to be dried out and updated with a test sticker to indicate that it has been tested.

The Six-Year Teardown

A six-year teardown is also often referred to as an “internal inspection.” The extinguisher will be broken down and completely emptied of the dry chemical powder.

At this point all of the components will be cleaned, any defective parts will be replaced, and the fire extinguisher will be reassembled.

Why a Gross Weight Check Matters

The final step to a comprehensive dry chemical fire extinguisher inspection will be to weigh the fully charged extinguisher.

This is referred to as the “gross weight check” because it takes into account the entire unit: hose, nozzle, pin, tamper seal, valve head, and of course the dry chemical component as well. For reference, a 5lb ABC fire extinguisher will sometimes display instructions that read like this:

“Fill with five pounds of ABC dry chemical for a gross weight of 8 lbs. 5 oz +- 8 oz.”

This means that the lowest gross weight the fire extinguisher can have is 7lbs, 13oz. Any lighter will mean that the inspector didn’t top up the dry chemical, or may not have used a scale. This is why it’s critical to work with trained experts like the technicians at Bison Fire Protection to ensure that your dry chemical fire extinguishers are always well-maintained and ready to be used at a moment’s notice.

If you operate a business in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Saskatoon, or Regina and are looking to know more about how to make sure your dry chemical fire extinguishers are properly maintained, contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection by calling 866-441-3473 or email at today and we’ll visit your business to provide a thorough assessment.

Posted by Rob Read at 9:41 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

How to Reduce the Risk of Fire in Your Business

Bison Fire's How to reduce the Risk of Fire in Your Business

As we covered in a recent post, most businesses stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars if their business is affected by a fire. This can have long-lasting consequences on your business’ profitability, and can mean damage and even lead to the total destruction of investments like property, equipment, and stocked items.

The good news is that most fires are preventable, and with a little training and preparedness you can be confident that your business’ risk of damage due to a a fire is as low as possible.

Below are three key steps to preventing fires in your business:

1. Invest in Training and Education

Your employees play a pivotal role in reducing the risks of a fire in your business. This is especially true in the restaurant industry, where training kitchen staff on how to avoid a fire in an industrial kitchen can dramatically reduce the chances of a kitchen fire.

By taking the time to educate them on your emergency action plan, providing training on how to locate and operate your fire extinguishers, and by teaching them to spot a potential fire hazard, you can empower your employees to reduce the risks and avoid potential fire damage.

2. Invest in Regular Maintenance and Inspections

Does your business have a fire sprinkler system installed? If ‘yes’, do you know the last time it was installed, tested, and activated?

If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, contact an expert from Bison Fire Protection for a thorough inspection of your business’ life safety system. Our highly trained technicians will make sure that your fire and safety systems meet both federal and provincial codes, and will make sure that your business is properly protected in the event of a fire.

3. Identify Fire Hazards

As we covered in our recent post, every business type is different when it comes to potential fire hazards, which means it’s critical to identify your business’ potential fire hazards and take the necessary steps to reduce those risks.

For most businesses a step as simple as identifying flammable liquids and making sure that they’re stored and handled properly can go a long way towards preventing a fire.

For businesses like restaurants, ensuring that your staff a properly trained to understand the fire risks associated with cooking equipment and regularly reviewing emergency fire procedures can have a lasting impact on the safety of your business.

4. Have the Proper Equipment Installed

If a fire does break out in your business, the only way to make sure that it doesn’t cause extensive and widespread damage is to have the proper equipment installed and tested before a fire occurs.

By working with qualified professionals to ensure that your fire safety equipment is ready to use and will work in the event of an emergency, you can give yourself the peace of mind you deserve when it comes to keeping your business fire-safe.

Whether it’s making sure your fire suppression system is up to code, installing additional fire alarms, or testing sprinkler systems, the experts at Bison Fire Protection are available to make sure that any on-site hazards are dealt with and and potential fire risks have been resolved.

If you operate a business in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Saskatoon, or Regina and are looking to know more about how to protect your investment from fire damage, contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection by calling 866-441-3473 today to schedule an appointment with a fire safety experts.



Posted by Rob Read at 8:53 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Bison Fire Makes the Growth 500 6 Years in a Row

                                                 Bison Fire Makes the Growth 500 6 Years in a Row

Bison Fire Protection Inc. Ranks No. 475 on the 2018 Growth 500

–Canadian Business unveils 30h annual list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies –

Winnipeg (September 13, 2018) Canadian Business and PROFIT today ranked Bison Fire Protection Inc. No. 475 on the 30th annual Growth 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Published in the October issue of Maclean’s magazine and at, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian businesses by their five-year revenue growth.

Bison Fire Protection Inc. made the 2018 Growth 500 list with five-year revenue growth of 106%.

“It is never easy to earn a spot on the Growth 500, but this year’s applicant pool was the most competitive yet,” says Deborah Aarts, Growth 500 program manager. “This year’s winners demonstrate the resilience, innovation and sheer management smarts it takes to build a thriving business today. Canada—and the world—needs more entrepreneurial success stories like these.”

“Bison Fire Protection Inc. is proud to be on the Growth 500 ranking for the sixth straight year,” says President Rob Read. “This achievement reflects the dedication and hard work of our incredible team and the quality of our products.”

Offering Fire Alarm, Sprinkler, and Fire Suppression products in three provinces at the industrial and commercial levels has many rewards. Knowing the products we install and service save businesses from severe loss is secondary to the lives we protect on a daily basis. We take pride in receiving Ansul’s Double Diamond Award for sales and service excellence, as well as becoming the 2nd largest Siemens Value Added Partner in Canada!

 Bison Fire Protection Inc.

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About Bison Fire Protection

Bison Fire Protection is committed to providing superior services and products for our customers.

Since our establishment in 2001, Bison Fire Protection has grown rapidly to help meet the safety needs of our customers. We began as a fire extinguisher and automatic suppression provider, and have since grown into a full-service fire suppression business which now also includes fire alarm and automatic sprinkler system installations. Our team is committed not only to providing professional fire protection service and solutions, but also to helping educate our customers and train them on how to stay safe. As part of our commitment to you, our customer, we ensure that all Bison Fire Protection staff are trained and certified by each of our suppliers.

About the Growth 500

For 30 years, the Growth 500 has been Canada’s most respectable and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year

revenue growth, the Growth 500—formerly known as the PROFIT 500—profiles the country’s most successful growing businesses. The Growth 500 is produced by Canadian Business. Winners are profiled in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at and For more information on the ranking, visit

About Canadian Business

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving and most-trusted business publication in the country. It is the country's premier media brand for executives and senior business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada's business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. Learn more at

Media contact

Rob Read, Bison Fire Protection Inc.,, 204 237 3473

Posted by Rob Read at 10:09 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Common Firestop Mistakes in Passive Fire Protection

Bison Fire's Common Fire Stop Mistakes

For many large-scale areas like hospitals, schools, college and university campuses, and nursing homes, passive fire protection plays an important role in keeping fires contained and compartmentalized in order to keep them from spreading

Passive fire protection systems use a series of “fire barriers” - fire-resistant walls and floors, often installed through multiple rooms - to keep a fire contained, but unfortunately if these barriers are not properly installed and sealed with the appropriate firestops, they can be compromised, rendering them useless in the event of a fire.

Where Are Firestops Installed?

Firestops are commonly used in passive fire protection systems, and can most commonly be found:

  • In areas where plumbing, electrical wiring, of parts of a building’s mechanical system must pass through a fire barrier.
  • Areas that may only pass through part of the fire barrier, such as sink drains, conduits from walls or ceilings, and outlet boxes.
  • Areas where building elements meet within fire-resistant floor or wall assemblies.
  • Firestops which have been reopened.

If a fire barrier has an area which hasn’t been properly sealed it may fail to contain gasses, smoke, and even flames. This allows the fire to spread more quickly, increasing damage to the property and reducing the time building occupants have to escape to safety.

Why Do Firestop Mistakes Compromise Fire Protection?

When a new building is under construction passive firestopping systems are included in the building plans, which are then evaluated and approved by building code officials. This means that if any renovations or upgrades take place once the building has been built, any new or altered penetrations to the fire barrier need to be firestopped in order to maintain the integrity of the passive suppression system.

Unfortunately, maintaining a passive fire suppression system and ensuring that any changes to the system are firestopped is one area where many business fail to follow up.

This oversight generally isn’t due to negligence, but a lack of understanding around the proper codes and requirements around maintaining a passive system.

That’s why it’s so important to work with qualified fire safety experts like the technicians at Bison Fire Protection. We work with your business on an ongoing basis to ensure that every component of your fire suppression system is always up-to-date and up to code.

Common Firestop Mistakes

Does your business or building have a passive fire system installed? Then take a look at this list of common reasons why firestop mistakes happen, and what you can do to prevent them:

Using the Wrong Materials

Firestopping systems can be purchased from a variety of manufacturers, but with more than 5,000 approved firestops available, it can feel daunting to choose the appropriate system needed for the type of penetration expected and the fire rating of the barrier.

Some important rules to follow when choosing the materials used in your forestops include:

  • Make sure that all materials are approved be a nationally recognized testing facility for the specific firestop to be installed on-site.
  • Never substitute approved items and materials with non-approved items like concrete, expandable combustible foam, or other materials that don’t meet fire rating standards.

Improper Installation

Neglecting to properly follow the UL or ASTM system requirements for installing firestops is the most common mistake businesses make when it comes to properly maintaining their passive fire systems.

It may be tempting to cut corners, but by following the instructions to the letter and being detail-oriented, you can make sure that your system is adhering to the appropriate codes and standards and working as expected in the event of an emergency.

Neglecting to Document Your Work

One of the other common issues businesses make when it comes to maintaining their firestops is neglecting to document the system and materials used when installing the firestop.

Not only is this information necessary during routine inspections, but these details play a critical role in ensuring that any repairs or replacements needed are done with the same materials. If your firestops haven’t been documented, you can consult your building construction plans to avoid having to expose your firestops for inspection.

Firestop inspections Are a “Must” for Businesses

All firestops must be inspected and approved at the time of construction, upgrade, and renovation. Annual inspections are also required in order to make sure that any damage, alterations, breaches, or penetrations are properly repaired and upgraded.

Maintaining your firestops is essential to reducing the damage that can potentially be caused by a fire, which means working with qualified experts to maintain and repair your passive fire systems.

For more information about how to maintain and repair your passive fire systems and ensure that your firestops are protecting your staff, business, and investments, contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection at 204-237-3473 or email at to schedule an appointment with a fire safety expert.

Posted by Rob Read at 11:17 AM 0 Comments