Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How to Know When to Update Your Fire Extinguisher

Bison Fire's How to know when to update your Fire Extinguisher

Whether at home, at work, or out and about in the community, we depend on fire extinguishers to keep us safe and protect us in the event of an unexpected fire. This makes fire extinguisher maintenance one of the most important things we can do to stay fire safe-day-to-day… but do you know when to replace your fire extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher that’s been well-maintained can last up to 20+ years, but that doesn’t mean that it will last that long. To make matters even more complicated, because it can be extremely difficult to know exactly how long a fire extinguisher may last, and as a result many fire extinguishers don’t come with an expiration date.

So how can you determine if it’s time to replace your fire extinguisher? Keep reading to find out:

Why Maintenance Matters

The easiest way to ensure that your fire extinguisher lasts as long as possible is to schedule regular inspections and tests from an experienced technician. Your technician is trained to identify any issues with your fire extinguisher, and maintenance can prevent your extinguisher from developing rust, becoming corroded, and becoming damaged.

Hydrostatic testing is one of the most important tests to be performed on your dry chemical fire extinguisher every 12 years. The cylinder is emptied, then filled with colored water and brought up to a high pressure in order to test the shell, hose, and nozzle. If these components can withstand the pressure for a short period of time, then your extinguisher is still safe to use.

Professional inspections should be scheduled on an annual basis, along with emptying and recharging all rechargeable extinguishers every six years.

Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Extinguisher

The first signal that it may be time to replace your fire extinguisher is asking yourself: “Do I know how long I’ve had my fire extinguisher?” If you don’t know, then it’s imperative that you call for an inspection as soon as possible to determine the quality of your extinguisher.

Additionally, if you notice any of the following warning signs, it’s a signal that your extinguisher needs to be serviced or replaced as soon as possible:

  • The extinguisher hose or nozzle is cracked or blocked with debris.
  • The handle is wobbly or broken.
  • The locking pin on the handle is missing/unsealed.
  • The extinguisher can’t be serviced in accordance with manufacturer’s maintenance manual.
  • The extinguisher was made by a company that is no longer in business.
  • There’s no inspection sticker with a record of checkups and maintenance on the extinguisher.

Bison Fire Protection is committed to keeping everyone in the prairie provinces safe. Contact us today by calling 866-441-3473 today to provide qualified and professional fire safety services in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Saskatoon, and Regina.

Posted by Rob Read at 8:59 AM 0 Comments

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

If 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 866-441-3473 today. We provide top-notch fire safety services in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, 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 866-441-3473 to schedule your next appointment, or contact us online today.

Posted by Rob Read at 4:29 PM 0 Comments