March 2013 - Code Compliance


Portable Fire Extinguisher Installation Requirements

March 26, 2013

Portable fire extinguishers are required in all buildings and any hazardous process or operation located outside.  Dwelling units used as a domicile by one or more persons that contain cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities are exempt.

Before selecting the correct size or class of portable extinguisher the level of hazard must first be determined. 

 

Level of Hazard;

A light hazard occupancy is where small fires could be expected such as in offices, school rooms, churches, or assembly halls.

An ordinary hazard occupancy is where moderate size fires could be expected, such as in mercantile occupancies, display rooms, auto showrooms, parking garages, light manufacturing, warehouses and school shop areas.

An extra hazard occupancy is where fires of severe magnitude could be expected, such as in woodworking, auto repair, aircraft servicing, mercantile storage areas, warehouses with high-piled combustibles and processes incorporating flammable liquids or combustible liquids.

 

Class of Extinguisher;

Class A  fires are ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics.

Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil.   

Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets.

Class D  fires involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium.  

Class K fires involve cooking oils, trans-fats, or fats in cooking appliances that are typically found in restaurant and cafeteria kitchens.  

 

All buildings must be protected with a Class A portable extinguisher and available for use at all times.  Additional portable extinguisher protection is also required for hazardous occupancies that are determined by the Class of extinguisher that is most suitable.

The minimum fire protection for Class A occupancies within a maximum travel distance of 25 m to an extinguisher is defined in Table 1.

 Table 1

Minimum Extinguisher Rating

Maximum Area of Protection/ Extinguisher for Class A Fires, m2

Light Hazard

Medium Hazard

Extra Hazard

2A

600

300

Not Acceptable

3A

900

400

300

4A

1100

600

400

6A

1100

900

600

10A

1100

1100

900

20A

1100

1100

1100

40A

1100

1100

1100

 

Where flammable and combustible liquids are present, Class B portable extinguishers must meet the requirements of Table 2.  Multiple extinguishers may be used to satisfy the requirement provided not more than three extinguishers are used.

Table 2

Grade of Hazard

Basic Minimum Extinguisher Rating per Unit

Maximum Travel Distance to Extinguishers, m

Light

5B

9

10B

15

Ordinary

10B

9

20B

15

Extra

20B

9

40B

15

 

Class C portable extinguishers are not rated but must conform to the same distribution provisions as Class A and Class B extinguishers and must be provided in or near any service rooms containing electrical equipment.

In a location where combustible metals exist, a Class D portable extinguisher that is suitable for the combustible metal is required and must be located no more than 25 m from the hazard.

Note:  There are circumstances where additional portable extinguisher protection is required.  Please refer to the Ontario Fire Code to ensure that all the regulations are being met.

Be Smart this Barbeque Season…

March 17, 2013

Over one quarter (28%) of home structure fires involving an outdoor barbeque start because the barbeque was located too close to a structure.  Five out of every six (83%) fires were fueled by either propane or natural gas while 14% used charcoal or other solid fuel. (Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment, Marty Ahrens, November 2012)

Poor maintenance practices are the leading contributor to gas barbeque fires.  By following these simple safety tips you can be sure to enjoy a safe barbecue season.

Tips:

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using or repairing your barbeque.  If you have not used your barbeque in some time, review the instructions.

Check all hoses and gas connections before using the barbecue for the first time each year.  Apply a 50/50 solution of soap and water with a small paint brush to all the connections.  Expanding bubbles indicate a gas leak and the propane gas cylinder or shut off valve should be shut off immediately.  Do not light the barbeque until the leak is repaired.

The burner “Venturi” tubes can often become clogged by spiders and other insects.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to remove, clean and reinstall the burner “Venturi” tubes.

Barbeques should only be used outdoors and placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.  Always make sure the lid is open before lighting the barbeque.

The barbeque should be kept free of grease or fat buildup and never left unattended while in use. 

Children and pets should remain at least three feet away from the barbeque.

After cooking, always turn off the barbeque and gas supply.  Close the lid to protect the barbecue components from the elements.  When not in use keep your barbeque stored in a shaded area. 

Propane cylinders must not be stored indoors.

Hamilton Lodging House Owner Fined $17,000 for Retrofit Violations

March 2, 2013

The owner of a 2-storey lodging house, occupied by six student lodgers, has been found guilty of seven Ontario Fire Code violations and fined $17,000. 

The violations included Retrofit Section 9.3 violations involving failure to construct a fire separation having a 30-minute fire resistance rating between a first floor sleeping room and the adjacent stairs, failure to construct a fire separation having a 30-minute fire resistance rating between the basement and first storey, failure to install exit signs. 

Parts 2 and Part 6 violations included failure to remove combustible storage from under the basement stairs, failure to install portable fire extinguishers on the second and basement storeys, failure to maintain the portable fire extinguisher on the first storey and failure to prepare and submit a fire safety plan.