Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The 3 Easiest Ways to Avoid Commercial Fires

Bison Fires 3 easiest ways to avoid commercial fires

When business owners take preventative steps to protect their commercial property from a fire, often we think of the basics: properly-functioning smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire suppression sprinklers.

What’s missing from this list? If you answered “employees” then you’re correct! This is because your employees may accidentally start a fire while at work, and without proper training they may not know what they could have prevented it.

With that in mind, here are the top three things you and your employees can to do minimize the risk of a fire in your commercial building:

Resolve Electrical Issues

Problems with wall outlets, plugs, wiring, and electrical equipment can all be the source of a fire if not fixed in a timely manner.

For example, if one of your wall outlets has a socket that looks burnt or charred, call an electrician as soon as possible and make sure that none of your staff use the outlet until it has been repaired by a qualified professional.

Similarly, many commercial fires start from overloaded extension cords and electronics that haven’t been powered down when not in use. This is especially commonplace in office settings, where staff may cram multiple extension cords together in order to make sure their desktop PCs, laptops, phone chargers, tablet chargers, printers, etc. are always plugged in.

Keep Clutter to a Minimum

Cluttered and messy spaces can be anxiety-inducing in many of us, but leaving files, folders, papers, and other flammable items lying around can be one of the biggest fire hazards facing your business.

These items pose a significant risk because - of course - paper is highly flammable, and a single spark from an outlet or extension cord, can cause a fire to erupt on a desk or in an area where papers have been allowed to pile up.

Not only does this pose a danger of fires starting in your business, but should a fire start these flammable papers could wind up impeding your staff from being able leave the building and safely evacuate during an emergency.

Not Paying Attention

The larger the business, the higher the likelihood that someone will make a mistake that can lead to an emergency situation. This isn’t cause for blame; after all, we all make mistakes from time to time, but employees need to know what’s at stake, and what is expected of them, in the event of a fire-related emergency.

For example, in order to avoid leaving the stove on in the break room, or to avoid something burning in the microwave, encourage staff to visit the break room in pairs or groups so there is always someone in the room to keep an eye on things.

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 9:30 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Halloween Fire Safety Tips

Bison Fire's Halloween Tips

It’s October, which means that Halloween season is about to go into full swing. Many of us are looking forward to decorating with creepy candles, fake spiders webs, creepy candles, and our favourite Halloween costumes.

However, while these items often are the hallmarks of getting into the Halloween spirit, they also post an additional risk of fire hazards. If you’re planning to dress up and decorate your home this month, follow our steps to keep your home and loved ones protected from fires:

Halloween Decorating Safety Tips

Candles are one of the leading causes of home fires, resulting in over 15,000 fires each year and leading to some truly scary statistics:

  • Candle fires cause at least 166 deaths annually.
  • Candle-related fires are the cause of over 1,300 injuries.
  • Fires caused by candles cause $450 million in direct property damage.

Because Halloween is one of the most popular days for lighting candles, this holiday is among the top five days for candle-related fires. Avoid any real-life scares by following these decorating tips:

Use Battery-Operated Candles

Many people love putting candles in their jack-o-lanterns, but did you know that battery-operated candles are a perfect (and much safer) alternative? Just flip the switch and enjoy the spooky glow… without the potential for a fire hazard.

Another great option to go “candle free” is to experiment with using glow sticks instead of candles; these are also available in a variety of fun and interesting colours that can enhance your decorations without the potential of a fire.

Use Flashlights Instead of Candles or Tiki Torches

Many people love to light up their front yards and driveways with candles and tiki torches, but these can easily get knocked over and cause a fire. Not only does using flashlights keep your home and property protected, but they also minimize the risk that an excited trick-or-treater will brush against it in their costume.

Never Leave Candles Unattended

If you’re hooked on the idea of using candles to decorate then never, ever leave them unattended. Make sure to tell your children and trick-or-treaters to stay far away from any jack-o-lanterns or other decorations that are using candles.

Keep Combustible Decorations Away From Heat Sources

Remember: heat sources and combustible decorations don’t mix! Keep candles, portable heaters, and light bulbs away from decorations like dried flowers, crepe paper, corn stalks, and fake spider webs.

With these tips for decorating your home for Halloween you can keep this year’s celebrations festive, fun, and, most importantly, safe for everyone involved. For more fire safety tips, contact Bison Fire Protection today

Posted by Rob Read at 10:17 AM 0 Comments

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 info@bisonfire.com 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