Right now, fire departments throughout Ontario are performing more inspections than they ever have before. At the same time, fine amounts in Ontario have increased. A building owner that may have received a $50,000 fine a few years ago is more likely to get hit with a $150,000 fine today.
To be clear, they are not “picking” on building owners. A spike in the number of residential fires has put an unprecedented amount of pressure on fire departments to keep us all safe, and do this by inspecting buildings to make sure they are Fire Code compliant.
What does this mean? If you have not already, you will undergo an inspection in the next few months. And you will not get much notice.
This is why we’re working with a lot of buildings that are looking to prepare for these inspections, and make fire safety a full-time/12-months-of-the-year focus.
How do we do that? Most often, by guiding them through a yearly fire code inspection process.
Your Fire Safety Plan Needs to be Updated
Things like your fire safety plan have to be reviewed annually and amended if there are any changes to the building that impact that fire safety plan.
If your building’s fire safety hasn’t been top of mind recently, there is a good chance that your plan is outdated.
Things change. And many of those things will require you to amend your fire safety plan. Maybe the communal patio area wasn’t ready when you put together your plan, and now you have people and propane BBQs in a high-traffic area. Or maybe the commercial space on the main floor was empty when you put the plan together, and now it’s a laundry mat.
Small Issues Need to Be Caught, So Big Problems (and Fines) are Avoided
Trust us. You would MUCH rather we find an issue in your building than have the fire department find it.
When we find it, it’s an opportunity for improvement before a Fire Department Inspection. If the Fire Department finds it, they are obligated to act, which could mean a hefty fine or inspection order for you.
Now, imagine we find two, three, or four potential problems. We will explain exactly what needs to be done to fix them before the fire department does their inspections.
Oftentimes, property managers will be shocked by the things that we find. If the fire department found those problems, those same managers would be shocked, worried, and in a trickier situation.
You Need to Train (and Re-train) Your Staff
I know you’ve invested a lot in the latest life safety system technology, but your staff is the most important part of keeping your building safe and maintaining high safety standards. Without question!
Part of committing to fire safety is making sure your staff is fully trained on your policies and procedures, and that they are aware of their roles in the big picture.
We’ve heard countless people blame staff turnover for lapses in fire safety standards and record keeping. That’s why we tell people that you need to make fire safety policies and procedures training a part of every new hire’s onboarding. It needs to be as much a part of the onboarding process as filling out tax forms.
Fire Departments Appreciate That You've Made an Effort
The fire inspectors have obviously done countless inspections throughout your city. And they can very quickly distinguish a building that prioritizes fire safety from one that doesn’t.
If they can tell that you’ve made every best effort to stay on top of things, they are far more likely to issue you a warning if they find something small during their inspection. Now you have a small written warning and 30 days to fix the problem, instead of a notice of violation.
Trust us, this makes a big difference.
Preparation Gives You Peace of Mind
If I told you, right now, “The fire department will be here in 3 hours for an inspection,” what emotional response would that trigger?
If you’re completely unprepared, you would probably feel a sense of panic, or even impending doom.
But, if you’ve been on top of things, you will feel a bit of anxiety (it’s impossible not to), but you will feel much better knowing your systems are compliant, your staff is trained, and your documentation is complete.
Let’s Start Preparing For Your Next Inspection Right Now
Your ongoing journey to maintaining sustainable compliance can be complex, so don’t do it alone!
If you want to ensure that your building is safe and compliant, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-281-8863.