Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The deadly fire in the Quebec Care Home last January had a ripple effect across our country. Very few Canadians have not had some type of contact with care homes. I personally have had a number of differing experiences from a great grandmother who lived her final day’s in one year’s ago, to my wife who recently retired from a 30 year career in a nursing home, or her Aunt who currently resides in that same care home.
Care homes touch my family, but they also touch me professionally because in the fire protection business we understand the stress that can be caused be false fire alarm signals, sprinkler issues, or suppression problems that can slow or stop a facility that needs to feed many people. False alarms aside the real concerns are when there truly is an emergency situation that requires the very rapid relocation of a large number of people, many who need assistance. The very reason they are in care.
After the Quebec tragedy the Manitoba Government created a Fire Safety Task Force to look into what was needed here, and what the best solutions should be. The Manitoba chapter of the CFAA (CDN Fire Alarm Assn) felt they should have a presence in this task force, and our sales manager Phil Pickering volunteered to attend the meetings offer industry opinions, and report back as things developed. Phil took the position that while having fire plans are important they didn’t solve the problem of early fire alarm notification, or mitigating the spread of fire through a sprinkler system. I’m pleased that Phil’s suggestions were taken into consideration along with many other points brought forward by the professionals on the task force.
Our Seniors deserve the respect, and care to be properly protected at a time in their lives when we are entrusted to provide exactly that. I recently read a poem that sums this up perfectly.
What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
Are you thinking, when you look at me --
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply,
When you say in a loud voice -- "I do wish you'd try."
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe,
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you're thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse, you're looking at ME...
I'll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still;
As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another,
A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet.
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet;
A bride soon at twenty -- my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;
At twenty-five now I have young of my own,
Who need me to build a secure, happy home;
A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last;
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn;
At fifty once more babies play 'round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread,
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known;
I'm an old woman now and nature is cruel --
'Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where once I had a heart,
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again,
I think of the years, all too few -- gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last --
So I open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman, look closer, nurses -- see ME!
This poem was found among the possessions of an elderly lady who died in the geriatric ward of a hospital. No information is available concerning her -- who she was or when she died.
Several other provinces have made similar commitments to their care homes showing the same levels of care and concern for the people that brought us to where we are today. I’m very impressed that the Fire Safety Task Force moved as quickly as they did making the right decisions. I’m even more impressed with how fast the government saw the value of those recommendations, considered the dignity of our seniors, and put this into action.
If you can make it burn, we can put it out!
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
If you think this is about how well the provincial economy is doing you’ll be disappointed, and should probably stop here. Losses due to fires in Manitoba have been very high so far this year and we need to start taking fire protection far more seriously. Since January 2015 we have had 8 serious fires in our province with several deaths to animals, and most importantly children. This seems very heavy for only 9 weeks into the New Year. The time is long past that we start taking a much larger role in our personal protection.
Relying on others such as fire fighters to save your life should be a last resort. By taking just a few precautions & training you could put out the fire before it engulfs your home, or get you safely out of harms path. Every time a fire fighter enters a burning building they are risking their lives for you. This is something that should never be taken lightly.
Statistics for the fire losses we are currently experiencing will not be out for a very long time, but when you consider the people out of work because their workplace no longer exists, the financial hardship that those business owners face because statistically most businesses won’t recover from that type of loss, the hit insurance agencies take which effect everyone’s rates, and of course there’s no price to be placed on the lost loved ones this screams to me that we need to stop waiting for someone else fix it. “It’ll never happen to me” happens more often that we would like.
So what can we do to address this? Testing your Smoke and CO detectors twice a year is a good start but doesn’t go far enough.
- Do you have fire extinguishers in critical areas of your home, garage, or shops/sheds where you have gas, oils and electrical cords? Do they work?
- Are your Smoke & CO alarms over 10 years old? If so replace them. They get dirty and lose functionality.
- Have you cleaned your dryer vent, and ducting?
- Do you have stuff piled around your furnace, hot water tank, or exits? If so remove it.
- Do you have an escape plan, and practise it? This is where an extinguisher might create an exit.
- Do you know what type you need, and how to operate a fire extinguisher?
- Do you have an escape ladder stored in a central area on the second floor in 2 storey homes?
- Do you talk to your children about fire safety? Don’t rely on schools to teach them.
There are also many products available to help ensure your safety.
- Smoke & CO alarms wired into an alarm system, and are they monitored?
- Fire ladder
- Residential sprinkler system, and has it been tested?
- Residential suppression system over your stove & connected to the alarm system?
- Heat detector installed in the garage.
- Fire extinguishers
- On line training guides teaching what to do, and what to have.
- Get fire extinguisher training.
There are many web sites that can be searched to help ensure you are protected at home. Make it a family event to look into a new technique, and practise what you are learning. I can’t imagine what my life would be like with one or more people missing especially knowing that I could have taken a few simple precautions, and spent ½ hour less every six months in front of the television. The costs are minimal the return is massive. As I said earlier “The time is long past that we start taking a much larger role in our personal protection.” The life you save could be your own.
If you can make it burn, we can put it out!
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
We are pleased to welcome Marty Olsen to our Fire Alarm Contract Sales Division. This has been a growing division for us and Marty is a very welcome addition. I have to give Marty credit because while he has been in the Fire Alarm Industry for 14 years this is his first time in a sales role. It takes a lot of courage to make a career change even when it’s within the same industry. While Marty has dabbled in sales in the past he is now dedicated to that role, and the technical experience he gained working as a technician, then as a service manager will serve him well in the next phase of his career. The evidence of that being the orders he has already received after only 2 weeks in his new position.
There are many areas that we cover here at Bison Fire with Fire Alarms only being one of them, but a very important one. Marty will also be spending time supporting other related industries spending time educating The Engineering Community, Insurance Industries, and AHJ’s (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) on fire codes, best practices, industry changes, and of course the benefits of Siemens Fire Alarm systems. I expect that Marty will be a busy guy, and as an industry expert his contributions will be well received, making every building he works in safer for those within.
If you have any Fire Alarm questions Marty can be contacted at 204 237 3473 or click on his name for email.
Bringing expertise to your door!
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
With so many things happening in the Southern part of our province we sometimes overlook the great work that gets done every day in Northern Manitoba through our Thompson branch office. Darren Garand and his team have been very successfully protecting people’s lives, businesses, and properties for a number of years and their ability to deliver professional fire protection is equal to any place in Canada!
Darren’s team of professionals have steadily grown. He has taken advantage of the high caliber of students coming from UNC (University College of the North) and used them to enhance his fire alarm division. He has developed a solid sprinkler division, and regularly calls upon the team of experts he has available to him from all of our other locations.
Recently he had received a call from the local KFC needing an upgrade to their wet chemical kitchen suppression system. After consulting with them it was determined a completely new system was required to protect the high pressure deep fryers used to cook chicken. Darren used the Ansul R-102 system because of the ULC listings they have to correctly protect these fryers. Ansul is currently the only manufacturer to have this listing and with liability insurance being a large part of both the fire protection, and restaurant operations it truly was the only choice. The pictures below demonstrate the high quality workmanship they are doing in Thompson something Darren and his team take a lot of pride in.
Every service we offer in all of our branches are available in Thompson something that the community had to wait an eight hour drive and at the mercy of road conditions prior to our coming into the community in 2006 when only extinguisher sales and service were offered locally. Many people in the Southern part of our province forget how important Northern Manitoba truly is to our economy. Imagine if you can what our province might look like without the benefits that Manitoba Hydro, mining operations, tourism, and the variety of other climate driven industries bring us every year. We would be a much poorer province in many ways least of all financially.
Bringing expertise to your door!
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
I had the opportunity to speak to a room of Red River College students today. Once again I found it refreshing to see the interest and excitement on their faces as they considered their career choices after completing their education. With so many options and so many high quality companies in Winnipeg ahead of them it was a privilege to share with them the benefits of a career in Fire Protection. An industry that prior to my presentation 95% hadn’t even heard of.
The Fire Protection Industry is a very small when you compare it to many other jobs, or careers available, but its great business to be in. I spoke of the challenges we face every day, the sustainability of the industry, the variety of places you are allowed into every day. Imagine working in the top level of the Assiniboine Park Pavilion one day, working underground in a mine another, or even traveling to Nunavut. The job is a tourism adventure for the right type of person.
When the students also consider the service they would be providing for people on a daily basis there is a very large amount of job satisfaction and personal pride to be taken from the job. How would you feel if a building you had just serviced had a fire, yet because the systems you worked on that day evacuated every one safely, and extinguished the fire before the fire department arrived saving Firefighters from a dangerous situation, and minimized lost production time to a business? I know how it makes me feel.
Red River College and the other great post-secondary schools we have here in Manitoba are doing a fantastic job with today’s students. I have spoken to quite a few in and out of their classrooms, and interviewed many others. I’m impressed each time, and as long as this continues I know our future is in good hands.
If you can make it burn, we can put it out!