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CONDO’S AND COVID-19: Documenting the Response through the lens of Fire, Safety, Security and Emergency Management

FREE WEBINAR – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1ST AT 5:00PM   

REGISTER HERE:  http://condoadviser.ca/webinars

To download the free resource tool visit our home page at:  https://nationallifesafetygroup.ca/

Building Managers of high-rise condominiums are a shining example of professionals both leading and supporting their family of residents during these unprecedented times. 

They are leaders in our communities that represent hundreds of thousands of people’s homes – right here in the GTA,” said Jason Reid, Senior Advisor of National Life Safety Group. 

“The building management professionals and their industry associations are a vital tool in protecting the entire community.”   

Jason will review the “Safety & Security Tracking Planner“ to support our communities’ response to COVID-19.  This is a free resource, with a focus on fire, safety and security – and how best to engage, and document, the discussion with Boards.  

This exciting webinar, brought to you by Condo Adviser features an industry-wide Crisis Prevention Cell comprised of leading experts.

TOPICS: 

  • Status Update: including from various regulatory bodies
  • Federal Invoking the Quarantine Act: Impact on condos
  • Safety and Security precautions and long term planning
  • Capital projects: scheduling, postponing, securing contractors and resources

SPEAKERS:

  • Jason Reid (National Life Safety Group)
  • Sandy Foulds (Wilson Blanchard Management)
  • Katherine Gow (ACMO)
  • Rod Escayola (Gowling WLG)
  • Denise Lash (Community Association Institute (Canada) /Lash Condo Law)
  • Graeme MacPherson (Gowling WLG)
  • David Plotkin (Gowling WLG)

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National Life Safety Group is proud to be a part of this webinar series and thanks Condo Adviser for the opportunity to discuss this timely topic amongst a panel of speakers who are passionate about their industry – and sharing their knowledge.

Bomb Threats and Suspicious Packages

Proven tips to reduce the costly operational impacts

By Jason D. Reid, Senior Advisor, National Life Safety Group

There is a high return on investment for having your workplace staff and building operations personnel prepared for suspicious packages and bomb threat incidents.

Recent news of these threats has far-reaching impact to the intended target that go far beyond public safety. These incidents, if not handled correctly in the first five minutes, drain your operational resources and often shut down your workplace for hours.  These threats, when they do occur,  significantly disrupt your business.

If your organization’s “at risk” personnel, the employees who accept these packages or calls, are unprepared to receive and respond to these threats, the impact will be greater.  This results in associated downtime for your organization and accompanying losses.

“At risk” employees such as switchboard, administrative assistants, mailroom personnel, and shipping/receiving staff, are your organization’s first line of defence during these types of threats and these staff members should have an awareness level of hazards and risks, to effectively deal with suspicious packages, “white powder envelopes,” and bomb threats.

The following are a sample of proven tips to assist your organization to effectively “prepare, prevent, mitigate and respond” to these threats and significantly reduce operational losses, while better protecting your employees:

  1. “At risk” staff in your workplace should be trained to “do the right things” in receiving or responding to bomb threats and suspicious packages prior to the arrival of emergency responders to successfully and safely react to any issues they may encounter.

The actions of staff in the first five minutes during these types of incidents will ultimately determine the length of lost time to your operations, as well as impacts to operations, customers, costs and reputation. Ensure that employees such as administrative assistants, switchboard, mailroom personnel and front-line security staff have rapid access to prepared “checklists” to document receipt of bomb threats. (i.e.: Bomb Threat Control Form).

  1. If your workplace is in a high-rise building and you are a tenant, engage your landlord and property manager to ensure they are prepared for these incidents and can support the arrival of emergency services. Often, building operations personnel can support the initial response by isolating building air intakes and controlling HVAC systems during certain types of incidents.  As a tenant in this building, make sure that the landlord can do this, and that staff are prepared and trained to support.
  2. If your workplace is a commercial office building and you are the property manager for that building, ensure that bomb threat procedures are communicated to building tenants during the annual Fire Warden session. We often focus on “just” fire. It is important to engage tenant Fire Wardens on other emergency procedures applicable to the building so that they may be a resource for all fire, safety and security in the building.
  3. An awareness level on chemical, biological, radiological nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) has become the gold standard for resilient security teams in workplaces around the world. Front line security staff with a basic understanding of the threats, risks and impacts are better able to respond, and more importantly, prepare, prevent and mitigate these incidents.  Review your organization’s security practices and knowledge on these threats/concerns on an annual basis.
  4. Suspicious Mail Poster Provided by Canada Post. Consider posting these inside mail rooms or “at risk” workstations for quick reference.

suspiciousmailposter_en

https://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/assets/pdf/aboutus/suspiciousmailposter_en.pdf

https://www.canadapost.ca/web/en/kb/details.page?

Fire Code Requirements for Haunted Houses

Article by Kristin Bigda, National Fire Protection Association

https://www.nfpa.org/

It seems inevitable at this time of the year that several news stories pop up about a haunted house business or a home or building being converted into a makeshift haunted house being shut down due to safety concerns. This news about the haunted houses is also visible on social networks with the help of the social media company The Marketing Heaven, which provides real likes and views. Haunted houses are a common form of entertainment over these next couple of weeks. They come in many forms, whether it’s a standalone seasonal building that operates as a haunted house or a building such as a church, a community center, or a school that creates a haunted house, maybe for a town event, a fundraiser, or a feature to a festival. Large or small, permanent or temporary, professional or amateur, haunted houses and the like are everywhere, especially in buildings not originally designed to accommodate such a use. Without the proper knowledge and understanding of the codes that apply, haunted houses can be a safety nightmare.

Per NFPA 1, Fire Code, a haunted house is considered a special amusement building.  By definition, a special amusement building is “a building that is temporary, permanent, or mobile and contains a device or system that conveys passengers or provides a walkway along, around, or over a course in any direction as a form of amusement arranged so that the egress path is not readily apparent due to visual or audio distractions or an intentionally confounded egress path, or is not readily available due to the mode of conveyance through the building or structure.”  A special amusement building is an assembly occupancy regardless of occupant load.  Buildings designed as assembly occupancies have a head start on those that aren’t, but try to accommodate a haunted house type attraction. A big risk, and often why many of these attractions are shut down, is because they are located in a structure that was not designed with a haunted house use in mind and they do not understand the type of occupancy and hazards associated with that occupancy that have been created. The Code is not against haunted houses and there is no ill intent when they are shut down. Ultimately, it’s for the safety of those attending and those that work at these facilities and the responsibility of those inspecting the Fire Code to ensure that a horrific fire event is prevented.

Haunted houses use special effects, scenery, props, and audio and visual distractions that may cause egress paths to become not obvious.  In haunted houses in particular, the presence of combustible materials and special scenery can also contribute to the fuel load should a fire occur.  Because of this, the Code requirements are purposely strict to in hopes of avoiding a potentially disastrous fire event.

Code provisions for special amusement shore office warehouse buildings are found in Section 20.1.4 of NFPA 1.  The Code requirements for haunted houses are summarized below:

  • Haunted houses must apply the provisions for assembly occupancies in addition to the provisions of Section 20.1.4.
  • Automatic sprinklers are required for all haunted houses.  If the haunted house is considered moveable or portable, an approved temporary means is permitted to be used for water supply.
  • Smoke detection is required throughout the haunted house where the nature it operates in reduced lighting and the actuation of any smoke detection device must sound an alarm at a constantly attended location on the premises.
  • Actuation of sprinklers or any suppression systems, smoke detection system (having a cross zoning capability) must provide an increase in illumination of the means of egress and termination of other confusing visuals or sounds.
  • Exit marking and floor proximity exit signs are required.  Where designs are such that the egress path is not apparent, additional directional exit marking is required.
  • Interior wall and ceiling finish materials must be Class A throughout.
  • Per Section 10.8.1, emergency action plans are required.

Other requirements, not specific just to haunted houses or special amusement buildings, may also apply:

  • Permits (see Section 1.12)
  • Seasonal buildings (see Section 10.12)
  • Special outdoor events, fairs and carnivals (see Section 10.14)

As we move into the Halloween and haunted house season, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and overlook the safety issues that may arise.  Through the provisions in NFPA 1, which can assist fire code officials and inspectors enforce safe haunted houses, and NFPA’s halloween resources for consumers, everyone can stay safe this season.

Thank you for reading, stay safe!

Please visit www.nfpa.org/1 to view the free access version of NFPA 1 2018 edition. Follow along on Twitter for more updates and fire safety news @KristinB_NFPA. Looking for an older #FireCodefriday blog? You can view past posts here.

Property Managers and Owners: Are you prepared for a Post Fire Incident?

By Jason D. Reid, Senior Advisor, National Life Safety Group

Three fatal residential high-rise fires occurred over the past week in New York City, Yellowknife and Toronto. It brings a flurry of questions from property managers here in Ontario about what building documentation will be requested for review post fire incident?

“What documentation will be reviewed after a serious incident like this?”

“What can I do as a property manager or building owner to ensure that I protect my residents?

“As a property owner, how do I protect myself?”

Jason Reid of National Life Safety Group suggests “As with all fire incidents, questions arise about how the incident was responded to by building staff.  Then, questions begin about how the incident was prepared for by building managers and owners.

These questions will review both the actions of building management before, and during the incident.

“It’s why we have standards for fire safety in Ontario,” explained Reid.

As a high level overview, if you manage a residential high-rise building in Ontario, ensure you have the following documentation readily available at all times at your property:

1) Evidence of Test and Inspection of your building’s Life Safety Systems

Each residential building is different and can have a range of life safety systems installed such as fire alarm systems, emergency voice communication systems, sprinkler and standpipe systems, smoke control systems, gas detection systems, as an example.

If you are an owner of a building, or a condominium board represented through a property manager, you need to be able to produce a document or a report that states you have tested and inspected the building’s life safety equipment as required by the Ontario Fire code for the last 12 months.  This includes any reports for daily, weekly and monthly preventative maintenance requirements.

2) An Approved and Current Fire Safety Plan

Fire Safety Plans are required for almost all residential buildings.  An approved Fire Safety Plan is a document that provides guidance to building owners and managers on their requirements for fire safety.  In addition, it provides direction to residents on fire safety procedures.   Fire Safety Plans are always approved by the local fire services.  At any time, you as the building owner, should be able to provide a current and up-to-date Fire Safety plan that has been approved by the local fire services, and has been reviewed and signed off by the building owner within the last 12 months.

If the original plan is more than 10 years old, have it redeveloped as 2018 building safety best practices have significantly changed to better protect residents.

3) Evidence of building staff training

The Fire Safety Plan is just that, a plan – until it is implemented.  In order to implement the plan, building staff must be made aware of their roles and responsibilities as outlined in the plan.  Building owners and managers should be able to produce a document or letter confirming that the building staff have been trained in the approved Fire Safety Plan, which acknowledges the implementation of the plan. This includes training of superintendents, security, concierge, cleaning staff and property management staff.  Typically, a letter that encompasses a sign in list that staff participated in the training is best.

4) Evidence of a current list of PRA’s

Within your Fire Safety Plan, building owners are required to maintain a document that outlines residents on the list of “Persons Requiring Assistance during Evacuation.”  This list will typically identify their names and suite numbers and is provided to emergency services upon their arrival to the building.  It is vital that it is kept up to date.  This list is truly a partnership between building management and residents, and the PRA list must be date, and reviewed at minimum every 12 months.  This is a requirement of the Ontario Fire Code.

5) Evidence of Fire Drills

In Ontario, supervisory staff of high-rise buildings must complete quarterly drills that allows them to practice / review their respective roles and responsibilities outlined within the Fire Safety Plan.

Each drill must be documented and staff of high-rise buildings are required to hold a minimum of four Fire drills per year. This signifies that you are required to have four fire drill documents.  Fire drills are meant to prepare and test staff on a regular basis and are a crucial component of continuous building staff training.

6) Evidence of Resident Fire Drill / Communication of Emergency Procedures

Ensure that you as a property manager or building owner have communicated emergency procedures to residents at minimum every 12 months, or provided them an opportunity to practice / review their own roles and responsibilities in the plan.  It is important that residents are reminded at least annually of the fire alarm procedures, and their own respective roles and responsibilities.

If you manage a residential high-rise building in Ontario, ensure you have your documentation readily available at all times at your property.

***

Links to recent articles:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/07/us/trump-tower-fire/index.html

https://globalnews.ca/news/4134496/fatal-apartment-fire-etobicoke/

https://www.myyellowknifenow.com/28734/fatal-yellowknife-apartment-fire-deemed-not-suspicious/

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About National Life Safety Group

National Life Safety Group is a trusted fire, safety and emergency management consultancy firm. We provide leadership and innovation to the safety, security and property operations industries.

We specialize in: Fire Safety Plans, Team Development and Training, Fire, Life Safety, and Code Compliance, Workplace Emergency Management, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Evacuation Drill and Exercise Design, Workplace Education: Lunch and Learn, and Emergency Response Plans

Contact: Main: 647-794-5505  Toll Free: 1-877-751-0508

Local tragedy a reminder to protect family by installing carbon monoxide alarms

By Jason Reid, Senior Advisor, National Life Safety Group

Another tragic, preventable fatal incident in Ontario involving carbon monoxide.  A 10 month old died and another is in critical condition after what police believe was a carbon monoxide (CO) leak in a residential home, in Barrie, Ontario.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas produced when fuels such as propane, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or wood, have insufficient air to burn completely. This can happen in any appliance or device that burns these fuels such as a stove, furnace, fireplace, hot water heater, vehicle engine, or a portable generator. Today, Carbon Monoxide Alarm is available online, with Fully-Verified safe payment. Another easy way to get to the protection of your home.

This should be alarming news for all.  Not only do I plead that you protect your own home by installing an inexpensive CO alarm, but also reach out to family, who may live elsewhere, and make them aware of the potential dangers of CO in their home.   As a parent, we are responsible for protecting our children.  As the eldest child in my family, I called my brother and sister this morning to make sure they were protected.  Do your part as a leader in your family.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/barrie-ont-baby-killed-mother-in-critical-condition-after-suspected-carbon-monoxide-leak/ar-BBKpRoX?li=AAadgLE&ocid=spartanntp

 

 

 

 

 

In 30 days, eight people have died in Ontario house fires

Protect your family and prevent further tragedies – Now.

By Jason D. Reid

With the recent fatal fire incidents over the past two months, my professional life has consumed my personal life.  Previous relaxed dinner conversation has been replaced by the grim news of fire fatalities in Ontario.  The water cooler discussion consists of the fact that the recent fires have resulted in a total of eight deaths in the past 30 days.

This morning, I read a newspaper article titled “People are more afraid of buttons and butterflies than they are of a fire” and discusses the changing of messaging in fire safety.

In the article, Barrie Fire Public Information Officer Samantha Hoffmann said, “Fire didn’t make the top 10 of things people are afraid of.  It’s actually ranked 52. People are more afraid of buttons and butterflies than they are of a fire. So why are we trying to use fear because people think it’s just not going to happen to them. It doesn’t work.”

Ontario’s Fire Marshal and Chief of Emergency Management, Ross Nichols at thomas debendetto workers compensation, also expressed his frustration following the very tragic start to 2018.

“Working smoke alarms, properly installed and maintained, can provide vital early warning of a fire, allowing occupants of a home to escape before it’s too late to do so.  Working smoke alarms – and having a pre-determined fire escape plan – can literally mean the difference between living and dying in the event of a fire,” Nichols said.

Today, I am not a reaching out as professional advocate for fire safety.  I am reaching out to you as a personal friend, or perhaps a considerate stranger.  I am hopeful that you will follow these three simple steps…

  1. If you’re a parent – look after your kids. Make sure that you have smoke alarms in your home and test them.  Make sure they are working.  If they are older than 10 years old – replace them now.  As parents, we are responsible to provide a safe home.

If the batteries are older than 12 months – replace them.  Remember, the faster smoke is detected in your home, the faster you are notified of the danger.  This will provide time for you and your family to get out.

  1. If you lease or rent a home – look after yourself! If you are a tenant, make sure that you and your family are safe.  Whether you OR the landlord is responsible – install a smoke alarm to protect your family.
  1. Reach out to the older generations in your family. Visit your parents and grandparents this weekend.  Before the family dinner, check their smoke alarms and walk them through what to do when it sounds.

From my family to yours, please share this message with your loved ones.  

My thoughts are with the families involved and the first responders who risk their lives in their response.

nlsg_logoJason D. Reid, Senior Advisor

Fire & Emergency Management

National Life Safety Group

Jason.Reid@nationallifesafetygroup.ca

Holiday Season Tips for Condominium Managers and Residential Facility Managers

By Jason Reid, Senior Advisor, National Life Safety Group

Condo Fire Safety TIP #1:

Resident fire safety depends on the making the best decision when the fire alarm sounds in your building. Residents need to understand that the systems installed in their building are uniquely designed to protect them.  The decision to stay or go during the event of a fire alarm, is your decision. It’s the building owners (property manager) job to ensure that these building systems are maintained as required and that the occupants are provided with the knowledge to make an informed decision. Residents must understand the building’s approved emergency procedures and what could be their best chance of surviving a fire emergency. This is vital, as resident safety also depends on the actions of building management and other residents. As the calendar year ends and 2018 approaches, ensure you have communicated a reminder to the residents of their roles and responsibilities during a fire emergency. This is typically done through information sessions delivered by a specialist, or by simply providing copies of the building’s fire safety plan procedures.

Condo Fire Safety TIP #2:

Both building management and residents are never to hang holiday decorations from sprinkler heads/pipes, or in a manner that would impede their intended use.  Choose decorations that are treated, flame-retardant, non-combustible and non-conductive.  Use the proper lights for the environment. Indoor light strings/sets should not be used outdoors because they lack weatherproof connections. Some outdoor light strings/sets burn too hot for indoors. Inspect light strings/set before use. Check for cracked bulbs and for frayed, broken or exposed wires, and discard if faulty.   This information should be included in all Condo Party Room Rental contracts so that as to properly inform the renter / user.

Condo Fire Safety TIP #3:

Have your building security provide a constant “return on investment in your building’s emergency preparedness.  Make daily security patrols a part of your building’s emergency management program.  Ensure that the security guard is conducting patrols within your building, and tasked with identifying unusually cold rooms during routine patrols. Identifying these rooms more than often allows property managers an opportunity to address frozen pipes, false alarms, temperature complaints, and HVAC concerns in advance of these issues becoming an emergency.   An example of these rooms includes sprinkler rooms, electrical rooms, generator rooms, fuel storage rooms, and mechanical / electrical rooms and parking garages.

Condo Fire Safety TIP #4: 

In addition to number three above, exterior building security patrols are an excellent opportunity to provide enhanced benefits to resident safety.

I would expect my security patrol program to actively identify concerns in advance, such as pooling water that may turn into ice at the side of a building, trip hazards in the walkway, and even building up over top of storm drains in the parking lot. Identifying these areas of potential concern, coupled with swift action, leads to the elimination of common emergencies in your building.  Your guard has a direct impact on how many emergencies your building experiences and can prevent many of them.  A brief perimeter walk around should be conducted every morning at the start of their shift.

Condo Fire Safety TIP #5: 

Real trees, if permitted in your building, are thirsty.

Each year you should remind residents that trees may drink up to four litres of water per day, so be sure to check daily and supply fresh water as needed. A stand that holds at least four litres of water is recommended.

If you allow the water level to drop below the bottom of the tree, a seal will form just as it does on a cut flower and a new cut will be necessary. Do not set your tree up near a heat source such as a radiator, television, fireplace, or heating duct. Artificial trees must have a fire-retardant label. Metal or aluminum trees are conductors of electricity. Don’t decorate them with strings of lights or with any electrical product. Never leave burning candles unattended. Snuff them out before leaving the room or going to sleep.

If you haven’t already, inspect your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms for function and change the batteries every six months whether they are needed or not!

Merry Christmas to each of you and enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!

From our family to yours!

About Jason Reid:  

reid-headshot-2017-200x200Jason Reid is Senior Advisor; Public Safety with National Life Safety Group. Jason is recognized across Canada for innovative best practices in the integration of fire, safety & security in protecting critical infrastructure, high-rise buildings, mass venue & high risk facilities.

To contact Jason call (416) 770-8005, 1 (877) 751-0508, email Jason.Reid@nationallifesafetygroup.ca

LinkedIn:   ca.linkedin.com/in/jasondreid/

 

14th Annual Summit on Emergency and Disaster Planning for Universities, Colleges and K-12 Schools

The Summit took place in Toronto on October 16th and 17th.  It provided information on reinforcing safe school culture, improving an emergency response plan, and tackling threats before they materialize. Specifically created for K-12, College and University emergency managers to gain practical advice.

jr-disaster-management

Special Guest Speaker was Jason D. Reid, Professional Development Director, Ontario Association of Emergency Managers.  He shared his knowledge about emergency management and the reduction of response times.

For more information about this event visit http://www.schoolcontingency.com/.

 

 

 

 

Neglecting Legal Responsibilities Leads to Loss of Life, Property and Public Trust

Fire Prevention Week 2017 for High-Rise Buildings

Fire offence convictions by the numbers:

300: Number of Toronto building owners charged with fire code violations in 2016

$1,550,297: Fire code fines imposed on Toronto building owners in 2015

3: Years in jail for criminal negligence causing death handed to a Toronto landlord who failed to heed fire safety orders before a 2011 fatal rooming house fire.

The numbers don’t lie, and the high-profile media coverage of many recent fires causing casualties and billions in financial losses are now top of mind with the public and government regulators who are looking to send a clear message to landlords that have failed to meet their legal obligations.

On July 13, a Toronto landlord pled guilty, after admitting they failed to implement an approved fire safety plan, a fatal mistake that tragically contributed to the death of four building residents in a 2016 fire. The building owner was fined the maximum allowable of $100,000, sending a clear message to the industry and beyond.

Another landlord was also fined $71,000 after a fatal 3-alarm blaze in a Toronto apartment, where a stairwell door that did not latch properly allowed smoke to fill a stairwell, claiming the life of a woman in her 30’s. Her toddler son lost his mother that day, and it was entirely preventable.

Fire life safety programs are designed to provide the required checks and inspections of stairwell doors, to prevent such tragedies from occurring. Stairwells are safe, yet if one door is not working, smoke has an opportunity to fill the stairwell and preventing the safe evacuation of residents.

These devastating lessons both here and similar tragedies in the UK, demonstrate the crucial need for professionally developed and executed fire safety programs. It is a matter of life and death.

Fire safety plans are required for most buildings and occupancies, yet sadly, many buildings either lack a plan, they are badly outdated, are inaccessible, or are not properly implemented.

There are three (3) key benefits to maintaining a professional, updated and accessible building fire safety plan that every property owner and manager should thoroughly understand: 

  1. Building Owner / Property Manager Benefits

It’s the law. Fire safety plans are required by law, and must be reviewed and updated at least annually. Once properly developed and implemented, they provide valuable building fire safety information for occupants, property managers, and owners – and provide the foundation of any due diligence program.

A professional fire safety plan provides detailed instructions on the many requirements of the fire code, which owners need to comply with in respect to daily, weekly, monthly and annual test and inspections of building life safety systems and equipment. It’s important to note that out of 100 buildings reviewed in the last six months, only eight percent were found to have accurately documented daily inspection requirements. This is alarming.

Every morning at the start of your building’s Security / Concierge / operator’s shift, you should be confident, through a brief inspection, that my fire alarm system for the building is trouble free and functioning. (Just one of the daily checks required.)

Another direct benefit to building owners is the opportunity to have an approved fire safety plan, for building staff training. It is the training of staff, on the roles and procedures outlined in the approved plan that provides the building owner confidence that both their staff can effectively respond, and that they have given the tools to their staff to implement the plan in the event of an emergency. Every building owner should be able to provide proof that their building staff have been trained on the approved fire safety plan.

It is this training of supervisory staff that must be completed before being assigned any building safety duties, such as a concierge, security, property manager or superintendent.  The training should be site specific based on their building’s approved fire safety plan. Upon completion, this training must be documented and serve as an integral part of the due diligence program for the building.

  1. Benefits to Building Occupants / Tenants

Fire safety plans also provide tenants and residents detailed instructions on fire and emergency procedures, including actions to take in the event of a fire, evacuation and shelter in place requirements.  This is a direct benefit to occupants, because each building has different life safety features and procedures.

The Fire Safety Plan should come with a resident / tenant handout, that describes that the decision to leave a suite during a fire alarm is that of the resident, only after reviewing evacuation procedures found within the buildings approved fire safety plan, including discussing human behavior in fires, challenges to the fire department response in high-rises, as well as emergency preparedness for Persons Requiring Assistance during evacuations. These resident / tenant procedures allow residents to make informed decisions at time of a fire alarm, and should be provided to both residents, tenants and building trades every year.

  1. Benefits to First Responders and Municipal Emergency Services

Building fire safety plans must be approved by the authority having jurisdiction, in most cases this would be local fire services. Approved fire safety plans provide tactical reference tools to effectively respond in a timely manner to building emergencies.

Clear and concise tools such as use of life safety systems, smoke control, floor plan drawings, isolation points for sprinklers, HVAC, gas and electrical can decrease response times and contribute to firefighter safety and enhanced occupant safety.

In addition to the fire response, fire safety plans have also been widely utilized as a tactical tool for specialty response teams such as the municipal police services and Emergency Task Forces. Certain building information and detailed floor plans may be used to provide rapid support to first responders in the event of active violent incidents, suspicious packages and criminal acts in both workplace facilities and residential buildings. This type of proactive planning significantly enhances the safety of building occupants.

If your plan is outdated, if the information is incorrect and not easily accessible, it will delay emergency operations that could cost lives and expose your organization to significant risk and liabilities. Be prepared.

jasonreidJason Reid

Jason is Senior Advisor for National Life Safety Group, an industry leading consulting firm specializing in infrastructure protection, fire safety and emergency management across Canada and around the world. www.nationallifesafetygroup.ca

 

 

Untapped opportunities to enhance ROI in your Corporate Security Program

Leadership throughout the security industry continues to empower their teams with innovative security training programs in order to better protect the people and property to which they serve.

Unfortunately, although advancements continue to be made in the realm of security – safety continues to be the untapped resource in terms of training, response and the vast opportunities in providing a financial impact to the organizations bottom line.

Perhaps it’s time that the industry shows how much it positively impacts the corporate goals and contributes to the bottom line.  I offer the below opportunities for consideration to enhance your return on investment in your security program – and to clearly display the positive impacts of your program to corporate leadership – how your team truly impacts the corporate bottom line.

Slip, Trips and Fall Hazards

According to recent WSIB statistics, over 17,000 people miss time from work every year due to slip, trip or fall incidents.  An average employee WSIB claim costs $12,000.   This climbs to $59,000 when you consider the costs like lost productivity, incident investigation and administration, and staff replacement. With a profit margin of 5% the sales or service you generate would need to be over $1 million to cover the cost of one injury.  These are staggering numbers that affect the bottom line of corporations throughout Canada every year.

Security teams already conduct routine foot patrols of your facility multiple times on a daily basis – With proper training in Life Safety, security guards can significantly impact these numbers in proactively identifying hazards and concerns, provide detailed due diligence in documentation, identify unsafe operations, and assist corporate leadership with pre – identifying trends in workplace hazards.

Business Continuity and Operational Disruptions

Proper life safety training within any security program provides teams with the tools and support required to proactively identify hazards and risks during patrols they are already conducting on a daily basis.

Operational disruptions due to accidents, system failures, and workplace emergencies often provide evidence – after the fact –  that there were obvious signs that if previously identified and reported, may have prevented the incident, or at the very least – mitigated the impact and associated costs.

Ignoring or simply not being aware of those hazards due to a lack of training is simply unacceptable from a regulatory and / or shareholder perspective.

Security teams should not only report hazards identified during patrols, they should document and record detailed statistics on any and all hazards to support security management in annual reporting of metrics & accomplishments, and to measure from year to year.

Corporate Reputation

The conference Board of Canada released a study that reported “92 % of senior Canadian executives felt that reputation management was becoming a more important issue”.    Now their forecast has become clearly evident.

Security teams have a significant role in protecting reputation and ensuring public and employee trust.  Security programs that have an active life safety program have a significant edge over their competition in reducing incidents harmful to reputation, and related costs from regulatory and legal fall-out.

Employee Engagement

Corporations throughout Canada continuously search for new methods to engage, and retain their best employees.

Typically, Security is often viewed from the employee perspective as the ones that stop you at the door and bother you for identification – or h ones you only need when I’m in an emergency situation.

By properly marketing your security program it can be a potentially huge proponent in support of employee engagement programs.  Security hazard identification reports should be communicated to employees through Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committees, almost marketing their significant contribution to the organizations business goals, employee welfare, as well as enhancing the awareness level of importance of your teams.

About NLS Group

NLS Group is a team of facility fire safety and crisis management experts established to ensure greater public safety. We uniquely achieve this by utilizing leadership and experience from both the private, and public sector, utilizing the principles of emergency management in everyday business and facility operations.