Forward-thinking developers protect their investments with optimized fire safety systems
Posted Jan 18, 2022 12:00:00 PM.
Fire Safety systems are mandated by the province of Nova Scotia. While these systems are a requirement, they also offer several levels of protection ranging from liability to peace of mind. The team who does the install, maintenance, service and inspection of your system should have the flexibility to meet your structure’s needs and satisfy provincial codes.
David Phillips, Wilsons Security’s Fire & Life Safety Business Development Manager says “Our goal is to make sure fire alarm systems are operational, and up to code. And we try to help owners navigate all the changes in code and their liabilities. Because if you own a building, especially if people live in that building, you're responsible for the lives of your residents. And so, we're trying to point out where they may have weaknesses in systems that need to be looked at for upgrades which may leave them open to liability if anything was to ever happen in a building.”
Because it is installed during the construction of building, a fire alarm is not often top-of-mind for building owners; it simply operates in the background. That is how it should be, until it is called into action and then it is anything but silent if it is working as it should. “Its entire life is spent sitting on the wall monitoring a facility for any signs of fire. It’s one of those systems you put in and hope you never have to use, because if you were using it there's probably a fire in the building.” David Phillips continues, “The fire alarm system is monitoring a building for smoke and/or fire and it's integrated with other systems in the building: sprinkler systems, elevator systems, ventilation systems and so on. A fire alarm system’s primary objective is to detect fire and notify people in the building so they can get out. At the same time it interacts with other building systems ensuring the fire can be dealt with.”
Wilsons Security’s Fire & Life Safety division brings its 15 plus years of valuable experience into their current oversight of 1000 building structures. The construction of those buildings spans from the early 1900s to this very day and as such, they are equipped with a variety of fire alarm systems. “Some of them would not meet code today but did meet code at the time they were built. So, fire alarm systems are often “grandfathered”. If you built the building in the 50s, you have fire alarm system that was designed in the 50s that may still be considered acceptable.” David Phillips expands “The only people that can force upgrades on that is the local authority and we do see some of that. Also if you do major renovations to the building, you have to upgrade the fire alarm system and bring it to the current code level. A large part of what we do is the inspection, service and maintenance of systems. That’s where will pay special attention to the building and look for areas that owners should look to change just to bring things up to more current code levels. The end result is improved Life Safety and at the same time, limiting their liabilities.”
With fire safety standards evolving, it is both important and life-saving for those codes to change. David Phillips “There are many buildings around that have limitations due to older code, the most common being the audible levels in the system. We are starting to see a shift to more enforcement on these things by local authorities, which is a good thing. Part of our responsibility as a provider is to keep owners and property managers ahead of those changes”
From construction of a new building to the maintenance of that building, fire alarm safety systems are integral from a business perspective and are ultimately provincially mandated. Wilsons Security appreciates the responsibility of their role, David Phillips
“It's our job to make sure that they understand where they are in that loop right? So that they don't get taken by surprise. When we are working in a building, we want to leave that day knowing that we’ve left that building as safe as possible. Life safety is our always our first priority.”
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