Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The Importance of Office Fire Drills

Fire drills are one of the best ways for employers to make sure that their employees are safe and know what to do in the event of a fire. Practice and preparation helps employees respond to emergency situations quickly, calmly, and in the safest manner possible.

Does your business practice regular fire drills? If not, here are a few reasons why you should:

Fire Drill Objectives

The main reasons why you should be conducting regular fire drills are: 

?     They give employees the chance to practice emergency procedures in a safe and controlled simulation.

?     They determine if employees fully understand emergency duties, and can carry them out effectively.

?     They evaluate the effectiveness of your current emergency procedure, and can help you identify communication issues, bottlenecks, and other problems.

?     They comply with requirements of your local fire code.

Fire Drill Frequency

How often your business conducts fire drills depends largely on your local fire code, and partially on the fire hazards present in your workplace. If you work with flammable materials, or your office is located in a multi-storey building, then fire drills should be conducted every 3-6 months.

Should Fire Drills be Announced or Unannounced? 

While your employees would likely prefer that fire drills be announced in advance, unannounced drills are better tools for accurately measuring how prepared your employees are to respond to an emergency, and how effective your emergency procedures are.

However, if you are changing your emergency procedures, or are planning to introduce new employees to your evacuation procedures, it’s best to do so during announced drills. This is because your employees will be focused and feel secure, and are more likely to retain the new information that you’re presenting to them.

How to Evaluate a Fire Drill

When conducting a drill, make sure that safety staff are in place to observe, take notes, and evaluate the drill immediately after it happens. This is critical for ensuring that your employees comply with safety regulations, and for identifying any areas for improvement, such as obstructed hallways.

Some things to include in your evaluation are:

?     Did the fire alarms activate properly?

?     Could all of your employees hear the alarm?

?     Did any employees who need help evacuating get assistance?

?     Did your employees check their work areas for fire?

?     Could all employees clearly hear any instructions over the intercom?

?     Did any auto-locking doors open once the alarm sounded?

?     Did your employees close doors and windows (if applicable) before evacuating?

?     Was any equipment in use properly shut down?

?     Did all employees participate in the drill?

?     Did your employees carry out emergency duties properly?

?     Did all employees follow assigned evacuation routes?

?     Were all hallways and stairwells clear?

?     Did your employees know where to assemble outside after evacuating?

?     Was someone in charge of checking to make sure all employees were accounted for?

Fire drills may seem like a hassle, but making sure that all your employees are aware of your emergency procedures, and can safely evacuate the building in the event of a fire isn’t just good business; it could save a life!

Bison Office Fire Drills

Posted by Rob Read at 11:38 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Campus and Dorm Fire Safety Tips for Students

Living in a dorm during college or university is often the first time that many students are responsible for taking care of themselves and managing their personal safety.

In addition to living alone for the first time, many students are also feeling the strain of balancing class, studying, sports, and spending time with friends. As a result, many first-time students ignore, disregard, or simply don’t factor in fire safety when looking at their to-do list of priorities.

However, making sure that your dorm or campus living arrangement is safe and protected against fires doesn’t just protect physical investments, like computers, laptops, and textbooks; it can also save your life!

Dorm Fire Safety Tips

Your dorm where you sleep, study, and will spend a lot of time while not in class. As a result, it’s important to select a living space which is safe, has large windows and doors, and that you know the appropriate evacuation path in the event of an emergency.

Some other things to do to stay safe are:

?     Look for fully sprinklered housing when selecting a dorm, or when looking for rentals and off-campus housing.

?     Never disable a smoke alarm or move any other fire protection equipment, such as fire extinguishers.

?     Inspect rooms for fire hazards, such as exposed wiring and too-small windows.

?     Inspect all exit doors and windows to make sure that they work properly.

?     Make sure that you have local emergency numbers besides 911.

?     Always participate in fire drills in your dorm or shared housing, and memorize escape routes and evacuation plans.

?     Take every drill seriously - you never know when it could be real!

?     Don’t overload your electrical outlets, especially if you are living in an older building which doesn’t have grounded outlets.

?     Don’t overload extension cords.

?     Use a surge protector for your computer, and plug the protector directly into a wall outlet.

?     If you use heating and cooking appliances, make sure you know how to use, clean, and maintain them.

?     Don’t leave burning candles unattended, or near flammable items such as drapes, window coverings, or your bed.

?     Check your school’s policy for using electrical appliances in your room.

Campus Safety Tips

You may feel safe and secure while sitting in your classroom, but there are a variety of things to keep in mind in order to stay safe while on campus, including:

?     Taking note of all fire exits, windows, and doors which can be used to escape in the event of a fire.

?     Participating in all fire drills on campus, and paying attention to evacuation routes and meeting areas outside.

?     Not littering or leaving items in the way which can block stairwells or hallways.

?     If you smoke, disposing of cigarette butts in provided locations away from buildings and flammable areas, and respecting any “No Smoking” signs posted.

?     Having a “buddy system” with your friends to make sure that everyone was evacuated successfully in the event of an emergency.

?     Speaking to campus security about appropriate fire safety protocols.

These simple steps can help make sure that you have a happy, productive, and - above all else - safe school year on campus.


Bison Fire Preventing Campus Fires


If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Posted by Rob Read at 9:07 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

New Equipment for Bison Fire in Thompson

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Our Office in Thompson continually does us proud. When I consider where we started with that office back in 2006 with one person managing, servicing, handling inventory, and all the paperwork, to the five full time people we now have. This doesn’t include other staff members that regularly make the journey to “The Hub of the North”.

The Thompson office has grown to include all the products and services we offer with the city and surrounding area having supported us every step of the way. This support is reciprocated in having trained professional technicians now living locally. The days of waiting days for support or paying additional travel expenses from Winnipeg have become a thing of the past, and this is a savings every business in town enjoys.

With business volumes increasing it was time to invest in Thompson again. They need very specialized equipment to do their jobs to meet stringent fire code requirements, as well as to offer quality customer service. In speaking with Darren Garand the District Manager we discovered a need to replace aging tools to gain these efficiencies. As such The Thompson office is the new owner of two critical new pieces of equipment a fire extinguisher Hydrostatic tester and an Extinguisher dryer.

The Hydrostatic tester is used to test the integrity of the extinguisher shell. As a pressurized vessel we have to ensure that it doesn’t rupture due to old age and metal fatigue. The Extinguisher dryer does exactly that dries extinguisher shells after being filled with water during the Hydrostatic test. Another critical step because if the dry chemical gets wet it would “Clump” possibly blocking the syphon tube, the internal valve, or the nozzle preventing the extinguisher from discharging.

As I said our Thompson office does us proud, and we want to continue giving back to a community that supports us for the safety of its residents.

If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Bison Fire Thompson's New Extinguisher DryerBison Fire Thompson's New Hydrostatic Tester

Posted by Rob Read at 8:33 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Bison Fire Receives Ansul’s Diamond Award

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It must be award season again. We were fortunate to have the good people from Ansul drop into our office last week bearing gifts. Both Stuart Crabbe and Chris Stievenart came calling and fortunately (For them) they beat the winter weather that has us running for our sweaters this week.

Chris was in to talk with us about clean gas suppression systems and the success we’ve been enjoying selling them. Chris works with us to design install and service the Ansul family of agents that include Sapphire, Energin, and CO2. He also consults with us and our customers when evaluating what product is the best fit for the area we are protecting. His years of experience are an asset to our team.

Stuart supports our pre-engineered suppression products. These are the Ansul R-102 kitchen suppression systems that protect so many restaurants in our city. The Monarch Industrial Suppression Systems that we use in auto body shop paint booth & mix rooms and mining lube rooms. The Ansul A-101 suppression systems that we install and service on all types of mobile mining and forestry equipment. Lastly he supports our portable extinguishers that include regular stored pressure, Red Line Cartridge Operated Extinguishers, and the High Flow stored pressure extinguishers.

With these industry professionals always ready willing and able to assist us when needed our ability to give the customers the products they need when they need them is excellent and it shows. This year Stuart presented us with another Diamond alliance award! This industry distinction gives credibility to the training and hard work our technicians, designers, and sales people do all year.

This dedication to their jobs is why I like to say…….

If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Ansul Diamond Award 2015

Posted by Rob Read at 1:44 PM 0 Comments

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fire Pumps Have Unique Issues

In September our Fire Sprinkler division was called out to investigate why a fire pump was vibrating and sounded like the bearings were gone. I went there first to do a preliminary check to access the situation. On site I ran the fire pump on a dead head mode, meaning the discharge side valve was closed and no water was flowing, or another term would be, the fire pump was running at churn. I could hear rocks ticking inside. So I advised the customer that we should do a fire pump capacity test through the 6” test header, this way if the rocks were small they would flow out with the test. The results were below the fire pump performance curve, and when we did the 150% flow the fire pump would vibrate like it was way out of balance. We then informed the customer the next step was to take the pump apart to see if the impellers were damaged.

We contacted our fire pump supplier to see if parts were still available for this pump since it was over 40 years old. Parts were still available and were ordered.

When we took the pump apart we found a few rocks* wedged inside the pump. We proceeded to remove the rocks and inspected the impeller for damage. Fortunately there was none. While the pump was apart we took this opportunity to also replace the packings. Once the pump was reassembled we did another flow test. When we started the fire pump we heard more rocks being sucked in from the city main. We took it apart again and removed one more rock. On the last test the pump ran smoothly and the performance curve was met. The customer was relieved that he didn’t have to replace his pump and controller as this is very costly.

About 6 months prior some water main repairs had been done up the street and it would seem the main wasn’t flushed properly after the repairs. Without a thorough investigation we can only assume this is how the rocks ended up in the fire pump. Because this customer runs his fire pump weekly like he’s suppose too by fire code this issue was discovered and repaired. In a real fire situation this could have been devastating and deadly.

If you can make it burn we can put it out!

*No rocks were harmed during the repair of this fire pump

Bison Fire Services Fire PumpsBison Fire Inspects Fire Pumps

Posted by Rob Read at 9:46 AM 0 Comments