Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week

With the arrival of fall and cooler weather, it’s time to get serious about keeping your home, your workplace, and the environment safe from dangerous and potentially destructive fires. Luckily enough, October brings along with it Fire Prevention Week. This important commemorative week aims to start the discussion of fire prevention within schools, places of work, and the home, hoping to inspire North American citizens to create healthy habits that can keep themselves, and their loved ones, as safe from a fire-related emergency as possible.

When Did Fire Prevention Week Begin?

As the longest running public health observance event on record according to the National Archives and Records Administration’s LIbrary Information Center, Fire Prevention Week was first established in 1992. This annual week serves to commemorate the victims of The Great Chicago Fire, which killed over 250 people in 1871. On top of the horrific loss of life, 10,000 residents were left homeless, 2000 acres of area were burned, and over 17,400 structures and buildings were completely destroyed.

There is a popular legend surrounding how exactly the Great Chicago Fire began, involving a cow, a barn, and a lamp. According to the legend, a cow belonging to Catherine O’Leary, kicked over a lamp which set the barn on fire. This barn was set on the southwest side of Chicago, and once this fire spread, the whole town was eventually set ablaze. However, recent research has basically debunked this legend.

Interestingly enough, the Great Chicago Fire cow theory does have an ounce of truth, as the fire has been proven to almost certainly have started near Catherine O’Leary’s farm. There have been multiple theories behind what actually caused the fire to start. Multiple historians and investigative journalists have tried to come to a conclusion, including that it was a neighbour of Catherine O’Leary who started the fire, that the fire was started by a couple of  nearby boys were sneaking a cigarette behind the barn, or that the fire started when a firey meteorite hit.

Fire Prevention Week 2017

No matter how the Great Chicago Fire started in 1871, there is now more open access to fire prevention information and tips than ever before in history. This year, Fire Prevention Week falls on the week of October 8th to 14th, 2017. Each year, a new theme is chosen as the centre of discussion and a focal point of fire safety inspiration. “Every Second Counts - Plan 2 Ways Out!” is the chosen theme for 2017, attempting to highlight the importance of having multiple evacuation plans and paths for your home or place of work. Here are some important tips for creating multiple evacuation plans to keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • Plan out the escape routes with your family or work team to ensure everyone knows the safest ways out of the building.
  • Make sure that your exits are accessible for everyone. Ideally, there won’t be too many stairs or obstacles in the pathway.
  • Test your smoke alarms, or install smoke alarms in rooms where there are none.
  • Put furniture underneath the windows in basements to create an easier escape route.
  • If your home has multiple stories, a rescue ladder is helpful for higher levels.
  • Teach your children how to safely feel doors for fire, and ensure that they know that they need to get out and stay out of the home in case of a fire-related emergency.

For Fire Protection Week 2017, take the time to discuss fire prevention and safe evacuation with your family and community. Are you looking for more information on fire prevention and fire safety equipment? Contact the experts at Bison Fire Protection in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Regina, and Saskatoon. Find us online, or by calling 866-441-3473 to schedule an appointment today.

Posted by Rob Read at 8:30 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Guide to Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher Size

For the most part, a fire-related emergency within your home or place of business is not an expected occurrence. However, emergencies do happen. When they do, you’ll be thankful for the portable fire extinguisher that you had installed in your space.

Whether you’re replacing your outdated existing fire extinguisher for a modern, high-quality piece of equipment, or are implementing a new fire safety initiative in your building, it’s important to know the difference of types and sizes of the fire extinguisher needed for your specific space and potential use.

Know the Type of Fire Extinguisher You Need

The most commonly purchased type of fire extinguisher available on the market today are ABC fire extinguishers. ABC fire extinguishers are used to fight the following fires:

  • Class A fires, which are categorized as ordinary fires.
  • Class B fires, classified as flammable fuel fires.
  • Class C fires, which are classified as electrical fires.

For other types of fire risks, there are Class D and Class K fire extinguishers available. Class D extinguishers are necessary to tackle fires from ignitable metals, and Class K extinguishers are most commonly used to fight grease fires in kitchens (more commonly in commercial kitchens, but they can also be used within the home).

However, on top of choosing the correct type of portable fire extinguisher for your home or place of business, investing in the right size of fire extinguisher is vital to ensure that your fire safety equipment can effectively extinguish the potential size of fire.

Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher Size

For the most part, the bigger your fire extinguisher, the better. But in reality, you need to take into account the amount of space that you have available for storage, and how accessible the fire extinguisher is for users. For example, a large kitchen fire extinguisher may be too heavy for the average person to maneuver with ease. It’s important to note that the weight listed on a fire extinguisher is not its entire weight, but the amount of chemical kept inside. Keep in mind that the canister itself will add more pounds to the total weight.

One of the most vital considerations when choosing your fire extinguisher is the size of the room it must serve. On average, a 5-lb fire extinguisher is good for most rooms, but if you have a large commercial space or warehouse, it’s best to invest in a 10-lb extinguisher, as fire can spread further in these spaces.

Here’s a breakdown of the sizes of fire extinguishers, and the spaces that they will best serve in the case of fire:

2-lb Fire Extinguishers: These small and compact extinguishers are best kept in cars in case of a roadside emergen

5-lb Fire Extinguishers: These extinguishers are lightweight enough to be kept in smaller indoor spaces, such as your kitchen, office, or laundry area.

10-lb Fire Extinguishers: Best for garages, sheds, or workshops. These areas tend to have fires grow before they are noticed.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, households should aim to have a fire extinguisher on each floor. Of course, the number of fire extinguishers needed within businesses varies, as it is dependant on the size of building and office space. No matter the size of your space, having a fire safety plan posted in an obvious and accessible space is your best fire protection tool.

Our team at Bison Fire Protection does all that we can to help families and businesses alike find the best fire protection equipment for their home. Contact us today for service in Winnipeg, Thompson, Kenora, Brandon, Regina, or Saskatoon.

Posted by Rob Read at 3:49 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Annual Fire Pump Testing

Your fire pump is a crucial part of the effectiveness of a fire sprinkler system. The fire pump is connected to the public water supply, generating the flow of water into your fire sprinkler system when you need it most. To ensure that they’re ready to perform and help suppress flames during a fire-related emergency, it’s vital that they are annually tested, inspected, and maintained.

Whether your fire pump is powered by diesel or electricity, there are a couple of important tips and tricks that will help ensure your annual test is a success.

Diesel Powered Fire Pump Testing

If your sprinkler system runs with a diesel powered fire pump, it’s important that your fire pump is tested annually to keep it running smooth and ensure it’s using its fuel correctly and efficiently. As the diesel itself degrades over time, you should make sure that the diesel fuel is fresh every two years - or better yet, replace it when you do your annual testing. It’s best to hire a professional fire protection service to make sure these areas are covered during your annual test and inspection:

  • Ensure the strainers in the water cooling loop are kept clean. Once your diesel pump has been run, inspect the strainer in the cooling loop to ensure that it is clean and water can flow through efficiently.
  • Double-check the batteries to make sure they are working.
  • Ventilation of the diesel powered pump room is vital, so ensure that the exhaust is able to evacuate through your ventilation completely.
  • Make sure that there is some sort of signal on your monitoring point that is on when the fire pump is running, as someone should be notified as soon as it begins to run.

Electric Powered Fire Pumps

When testing your electric powered fire pump annually, ensure that the fire inspection professional is testing the following:

  • Ensure that the fire pump starts automatically. They’ll be able to tell by making sure the pressure switch or transducer is working upon starting the fire pump.
  • Check the drip from the packing boxes. There should be a slight water flow, but not a large splash of water. It’s important that the packing leakage is not completely stopped, as this will dry out the packing.
  • Check the packing drip drains are not clogged with debris or other sediment.
  • The casing relief valve, or circulation relief valve, should have enough water flowing through to keep the casing from overheating.

Stay Safe During Testing

During these tests, whether you have a diesel or electrically powered fire pump, it’s vital that you or the professional inspector is using gauges and testing devices that are not directly connected to the fire pump, as the data collected from the gauges on the fire pump cannot be trusted to give a correct reading if they’ve malfunctioned.

Because flowing water can be of high force, it’s important that the flow test is controlled and directed properly. Discharged water hoses should be anchored correctly, such as to  other pipes. When your fire pump is annually inspected by a trained fire safety contractor, you can rest assured that your building's sprinkler system will be ready to react during any fire emergency.

For more information on having your fire pump annually tested, you can trust the fire safety equipment professionals at Bison Fire Protection. Contact us for your fire protection solutions and services in Winnipeg, Thompson, Kenora, Brandon, Regina, and Saskatoon today.

Posted by Rob Read at 11:08 AM 0 Comments