Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bison's 12 Days of Fire Safety


Are you ready to stay fire safe this holiday season? Take a look at our ‘12 Days of Fire Safety’ list to make sure that your home and loved ones are protected against residential fires:

1. Check Your Smoke Alarms

Having a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, and outside of every bedroom and sleeping area is essential for preventing any loss of life during a fire. Make sure to test your smoke alarms each month and replace the batteries as needed.

2. Inspect Your Lights Before Decorating

Take time to inspect the integrity of the cord and each light. Check to see if the cords and cables are frayed, and make sure that no wires are exposed. Replace any broken or burnt-out lights before putting them up.

3. Keep Your Live Tree Well Watered

If your family has a tradition of using a live tree during the holidays then make sure to take the appropriate measures to keep your tree from becoming a fire hazard. Keep your tree in a stand which includes a water reservoir so that it is always adequately hydrated, since dry, brittle trees can easily catch fire.

4. Practice Your Fire Escape Plan

If your family is hosting out of town guests over the holidays, take time to run through your fire escape plan with them and run a drill together to make sure that your guests and family members are all aware of the safest ways to leave your home, and were to meet up in the event of a fire.

5. Replace Your Wax Candles with Fake Ones

Candles can add a charming ambience and help add to the festive mood of the season, but burning wax candles can lead to dangerous fire hazards.

Instead of burning wax candles and worrying about keeping them out of reach of children, pets, or your guests, visit your local dollar store and pick up some cheap battery-powered candles to replace them. You’ll get to enjoy the same ambience without any of the worry.

6. Be Careful with Extension Cords

Be mindful not to overload your extension cords, and arrange them so that they don’t run underneath any carpets or rugs. Additionally, make sure that they are out of the way and don’t present a tripping hazard.

7. Set Up Space Heaters Safely

If your home depends on space heaters for a little extra warmth, then make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and set up the heater a safe distance from other objects. If necessary, use a stand and prevent the heater from touching a soft surface like a carpet, which may singe.

8. Ask Smokers to Smoke Outside

Cigarette smoke isn’t just dangerous to inhale secondhand, but cigarette butts and ashtrays can present fire hazards during the holiday season, as ash and ember from the cigarette may get on the carpet or furniture and start a fire.

9. Pay Attention to Your Cooking

Never leave cooking food unattended, and make sure to set timers whenever something is in the oven, on the stove, or in the microwave. If you’re cooking with oil and a fire starts, carefully slide a lid over the pot or pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat.

10. Drink Responsibly

Everyone knows the dangers of drinking and driving, but it’s important to keep an eye for anyone who may be trying to smoke or cook while under the influence of alcohol, since it’s easy to get distracted and leave a pot or lit cigarette unattended.

11. Turn the Lights Off at Night

Leaving your lights on at night may fill your home with a warm glow, but leaving lights on unattended can put your home at risk of a residential fire, so make sure to shut off the lights before you go to bed.

12. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby 

Inspect your fire extinguisher and make sure that it is fully operational before the festivities begin. Make sure to take the time to show a guest or responsible family member how to use it in the event of an emergency.

Depend on Bison Fire Protection for all your fire safety needs in Winnipeg, Thompson, Kenora, Brandon, and Regina. Contact us for service and solutions today.

Posted by Rob Read at 4:27 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips

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For many of our customers, choosing a live Christmas tree with their families is a cherished holiday tradition.

The experience of choosing a tree together, bringing it home, decorating it and enjoying the seasonal smell of fresh pine throughout the holidays is a staple for many people. However, bringing a live tree into your home may be putting you and your family at risk, so it’s essential that you take every precaution to prevent a Christmas tree fire.

Below are some tips to help prevent this common kind of residential fire, and help keep you and your loved ones safe this season:

1. Choose the Freshest-Looking Tree Possible

The fresher the tree looks, the less likely it is to lead to a fire. When selecting a tree, inspect it for needles which are as green as possible, and touch them to see if they feel brittle and break easily. If they do, then make sure to choose a different tree.

Another indicator that your tree may be too dry to bring home is whether or not the trunk appears to be dry. If you can still see sap on the trunk of the tree, then you can confidently bring it home with you.

2. Keep Your Tree Hydrated

Keeping your tree properly hydrated doesn’t just keep it looking lush and green for a longer period of time, it can also help prevent residential fires.

If you don’t already have one, now is the time to invest in a tree stand which allows your tree to stand in a reservoir of water. The size of your tree stand will depend on the height and width of your tree, so take the time to get the proper measurements and select a stand which won’t be easily toppled by pets or playing children.

3. Keep Your Tree Cool

You don’t need to worry about keeping your tree warm and cozy; in fact, the farther away from a heat source that you can set up your tree, the better. This means keeping your tree a few feet away from heat sources like radiators, baseboard heaters, fireplaces, TVs, and space heaters.

Additionally, be careful about the amount of lights that you wrap around your tree. Use low energy lights which have been approved for use with live trees, and never use lights which have damaged or frayed cables. Attach a maximum of three strings per extension cord, and make sure to keep the cords from being covered by any rugs or carpets.

4. Discard Your Dry Tree

Keeping your tree around after the holidays may feel like a nice way to retain some holiday cheer, but a dry and brittle tree can be a serious fire hazard.

When discarding your tree, never put your tree branches or any needles in your fireplace or wood burning stove, as they can spark and accidentally set fire to nearby items. Instead, arrange to have your tree picked up by a your municipal garbage service, or take it to a recycling centre.

Stay safe this holiday season with help from the fire safety experts at Bison Fire Protection. Contact us for assistance with fire protection in Winnipeg, Regina, Thompson, Brandon, and Kenora.

Posted by Rob Read at 10:04 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Dangers of Using Fire Alarm Re-Setting Devices

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Remote Fire Alarm Resetters

Recently the Winnipeg Fire Alarm Paramedic Service issued a statement which indicated that they will no longer permit the use of remote fire alarm reset devices, or fire alarm re-setters, for the purposes of inspecting and testing fire alarm systems.

Here at Bison Fire, we’re pleased with the results of this decision, as we believe that using fire alarm re-setters is unsafe and puts both our technicians and our customers at risk.

What is a Fire Alarm Re-Setter?

Fire alarm re-setters are an electronic devices manufactured by a third party company or sometimes homemade, when installed into a fire alarm system they interrupt internal panel operations to intermittently sound the audible devices (which are usually bells or horn strobes) and reset the panel after an alarm has been tested.

Fire alarm systems often have many field components that need to be tested, and a piercing audible test for every one of those devices can be a noisy day for the occupants of your building.

Third party or homemade devices that interrupt internal panel functions of a fire alarm panel increases the risk of damaging or shortening the life of the equipment being tested.

In short, these devices are a shortcut which can cost building owners a lot of money and put lives at risk.

Why Are Fire Alarm Re-Setters Unsafe?

While fire alarm re-setters may be a more convenient method of fire alarm testing, we believe that the risks outweigh the benefits due to the following points”

Fire alarm re-setters aren’t ULC approved

Any electrical components used for fire alarm testing must be approved by the United Laboratories of Canada (ULC), which means that these devices are not suitable for use with ULC-approved electrical systems.

Re-Setting the fire alarm panel may cause damage

Continually removing and re-applying the power source during the course of a fire alarm inspection may damage the electrical components inside the electrical panel, and may void your manufacturer's warranty.

Exposed wiring puts everyone at risk

Exposing wiring of your electrical panel means that there is a chance that one of our technicians, or someone in your building, may accidentally touch the wiring and be electrocuted as a result.

Additionally, depending on where the fire alarm re-setter is placed, the wiring may cause a tripping hazard which may pull the wiring from the wall and cause damage to the individual.

It is illegal to leave a control panel open and unattended

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has the following to say about this topic:

Rule 2-200 General of the CEC states that: ‘Electrical equipment shall be installed and guarded so that adequate provision is made for the safety of persons and property and for the protection of the electrical equipment from mechanical or other damage to which it is liable to be exposed.’”

False alarms may be missed during the inspection

One of the goals of a fire alarm inspection is to ensure that there are no issues with the devices, and using a fire alarm re-setter may compromise the findings of our tests by displaying false positives, leaving everyone at risk.

Inspection findings may be compromised

Alarms must be confirmed while they are connected to the control panel, and many fire alarm reset devices require that these devices be disconnected in order to reset, potentially compromising and negating our findings.

Which Fire Alarm Testing Methods Does Bison Fire Use?

At Bison Fire, our policy is to send two technicians to every job site to thoroughly test each device and manually re-set the fire panel. Owner Rob Read had this to say:

“Bison Fire has never used fire alarm re-setters, as we feel the benefits of investing in our technicians far outweigh the cost savings or the inherent risks of liability or life. There are no shortcuts when working with life safety equipment. By investing in our people we are investing in our customers.”     

For more information about Bison Fire’s stance on remote reset devices, contact us at our Winnipeg, Kenora, Thompson, Brandon, or Regina offices.    

Posted by Rob Read at 8:36 AM 0 Comments