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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 105 total)
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  • in reply to: Remote/Virtual Inspections #13525
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    NFPA is working on a new Standard for these if you weren’t aware.  It’s still in draft form but I think you might be able to see it for comment. It’s #915.

    With my Chief’s support, I offered it to my 4 small group homes last fall as I’m very familiar with their buildings and they are very good on their maintenance. They declined and were more comfortable with me being on site.

    Aside from the VOs, at this time we only manage to just keep up with complaint and request (no routine inspections). Considering these are always buildings we have either never been in or it’s been a long time, I personally wouldn’t be comfortable doing remote on an unfamiliar building.

    in reply to: Tablets #13517
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    I use pen and notebook. While I do have a tablet available, and do use it in the field for some aspects of my job, inspections and investigations isn’t one of them. I only have experience with our current software and it is not user friendly for inspections – at least not without a TON of back-end setup. Some of the other programs might be more user friendly but I simply don’t have experience with them.

    For efficiency in the field, it’s hard to beat my pen and notebook. There might be a bit more work back in the office to type up an Order than if a program did if for me but we aren’t there yet.

    Kevin, going away from tablets, did you go back to pen or something else?

    in reply to: Fire Code Compliance Affidavit #13516
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    Since Council adopted the bylaw, they should also provide sufficient staffing to carry out the duties of the bylaw. If they don’t want to provide the staffing, they shouldn’t have adopted the bylaw.

    As we all know, whether we inspect or not, the owner is always responsible. And we also all know, the vast majority of landlords we deal with ‘think’ they are in compliance, and usually they are wrong. From my perspective, the affidavit would be pointless. I’d never sign one as an owner and I’d never accept one as FPO.  The only additional requirements that would come into play for short term rentals (compared to other rentals) is and for the landlord to test alarms after every change in tenancy. And that’s only a change in frequency of the testing, not the requirement to do it.

    Do you already have that as a process for any other occupancies that you don’t inspect every year?  Why not just change it to a 3 year cycle?

    There’s been lots of talk over the years about inspecting these type of occupancies. Have there been any studies to show they are any higher of risk than any other type of property or occupancy? Personally, I see zero difference for risk between them and any other residential rental. But I also haven’t seen any studies either.


    in reply to: Partial Fire Alarm System to monitor sprinklers? #13307
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for pointing out the OBC vs S524 difference for the installation of the components.

    The sprinkler system requires annunciation on the fire alarm panel but since a fire alarm system is not required, how do you have a fire alarm panel without a fire alarm system? Yes, it’s very convoluted.

    It’s not the Architect saying the fire alarm system is required. It’s the CBO and myself. The Architect is proposing to supervise the sprinkler system components and annunciate & transmit notification to the FD with something other than a true fire alarm panel. What that ‘something’ is, we have no idea, nor to what standards its installed to (but it has to meet S561 for the transmission part) and also no information on maintenance standards.

    I think they’ve spent more time and effort trying to figure out a way to not install a dozen or so pull stations and a couple extra smokes than it would have taken to just install them and be done with it.

    in reply to: Kiddie 3 in 1 Smoke/Co Strobes & Red Plastic Ribbon Seals #13261
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    Good question Nick. I was thinking the one that goes around the outside to keep the debris out of the grills during construction.

    in reply to: Kiddie 3 in 1 Smoke/Co Strobes & Red Plastic Ribbon Seals #13228
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    Hi Ryan,

    There’s a number of threads already here about both the Kiddie and First Alert issues. It’s definitely being looked into but no resolution yet.

    One known issue is the Kiddie ones have a specific initialization sequence that must be followed which is a bit odd. For their initial power-up, they must be first connected to 120 power and then the safety seal on the pre-installed batteries removed. If the electrician pulls the seal off before going up the ladder to install (like logic would suggest – less work at the top of the ladder) activating the batteries before the 120, they do not sync properly and are prone to false alarms.

    The above does not appear to be the only issue, but it’s the only one I personally have encountered.

    As for the safety seal, I have also encountered it, several times, sometimes a complete strip, sometimes only a chunk remains, but never have I seen a house where all of them have been missed thankfully. Education of the building community is the only answer to that. As I’m both FPO and Building Inspector, it was easy for me to talk with the electricians and builders, and haven’t seen the problem in quite a while now. Everyone misses things from time to time. Your Building Dept adding this to their occupancy checklist is the single biggest piece and let them educate the building community.

    in reply to: Sports Complex – Glass Gate system #13204
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    I would refer them to the Building Department as they are altering a means of egress which makes a bldg permit required. Once they’ve been installed, then OFC is there to ensure the releasing mechanisms etc are properly maintained.

    At minimum, they need an Architect and quite possibly an Electrical Engineer to provide the design & calculations for the building permit. A quick flip thru the OBC gets me the following, door swing (OBC, exit width calculations (OBC,,,,, exit obstructions (OBC , latch mechanisms (OBC,, visibility of the panels (OBC,

    These are the type of situations where fostering a good relationship between the Building and Fire Departments is crucial for efficiency and ensuring things are properly addressed. I also recognize that the sports complex is likely municipally owned and that emphasizes the need to ensure the proper process is followed.

    in reply to: cameras #13203
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    Wow. Just Wow. Let’s see, how many ways can we poke a hole in what they are suggesting?

    1. OFM says “Never use your phone for inspections/investigations. If the case goes to court, you loose your phone and everything on it.”

    2. Even if we were to use our phone, how the !@#$ do they expect us to transfer 100+ high quality photos without a cable? Spend 3 days to email them one by one?

    3. How do you load a file that’s too big to email? The way our system is set up, I can’t even email myself ONE photo at full size/resolution – I have to shrink them all.

    4. How many courses have we taken part in that we are given a file by USB?

    5. Is IT willing to risk a $1500 phone on a site rather than a $500 camera?

    6. While phone cameras have been getting better, a real camera still wins out every time. Ever seen OFM Inspector/Investigator using a phone? Nope. Always a real camera. Same goes for Police Arson Investigators.

    And those are just off the top of my head. I don’t see you needing a work-around, IT needs a reality check.




    in reply to: Standpipe and Sprinkler Systems #13171
    John WilsonJohn Wilson


    Sorry for the late reply, I just realized you commented a few weeks ago…

    If/when I get reports indicating inspect/test to NFPA 25 with deficiencies, but those deficiencies are NOT part of Pt 6, I advise the owner/owner representative that it’s beyond the minimum standards that I can enforce and OFC is the min level they are legally required to meet. Hose cabinet hose maintenance for example is one area that is literally a waste of money considering buildings don’t have trained staff to use them and every FD I’ve ever spoken with will never use them due to lack of required testing.

    I also usually tell them that it were my building, I’d be going with NFPA 25 and not OFC just for my own piece of mind.

    in reply to: Surplus Storage of Hand Sanitizer in Schools #13018
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    With a quick look thru 4.2.6. and the cabinet requirements of 4.2.10. for the individual schools, I would suggest they have the 500L capacity flammable cabinets – or smaller if they can get by with it and keep the stock within these limits considering the sanitizer actually out for use is in addition to the supplies in the cabinet.

    For the school board themselves, if they are receiving more stock than what they can immediately distribute, they have it delivered to the maintenance shop for storage and distribute to the schools from there as the shop should be considered an industrial occupancy and they could then work with the limits of 4.2.7.

    in reply to: Surplus Storage of Hand Sanitizer in Schools #13004
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    There’s 2 problems with the exemptions Nick mentions.

    (e) I see lots of places where they are using a gallon jug with a pump top on it for public use so even if that’s the only supply of it in the building, it’s technically over the limits of the exemption.

    (f) Min alcohol content is 60% to be effective as a hand sanitizer so this exemption doesn’t apply either.


    TimminsFD: What quantities are you talking about? Is it a few gallons on a shelf in the janitor closet or are they storing skids of it in a corner somewhere?

    in reply to: Fire doors in schools #13003
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    After visiting the school and discussing with my Chief, we have agreed on the following for the one school that has requested so far. I suspect we will do similar with our other schools if they make a request.  Feel free to use or amend if you feel it will help you.

    The Fire Chief and I have discussed your request to wedge open multiple fire doors within the school in an effort to reduce contact surfaces to help reduce the potential for transmission of Covid-19. The doors can essentially be grouped into 3 classifications: doors to the classrooms & offices, doors in horizontal exits (within corridor, same floor level) and doors in stairwell separations. Under the provisions of the Ontario Fire Code, Clause we are prepared to approve the following:

    Classroom and office doors may be wedged open any time the space is occupied. It shall be the responsibility of the staff member in charge of the specific area to ensure the door is closed if the space is to be left unoccupied. Doors to hazardous areas such as the auto shop, wood shop, janitor’s closets, etc. are not to be wedged open at any time.

    Corridor doors may be wedged open during regular school hours. In the event of the fire alarm sounding, it shall be the responsibility of the first staff member through the doorway to remove the wedges allowing the doors to close. It shall be the responsibility of the sweep team to ensure these doors are closed.

    Stairwell doors have two different possible scenarios. If class times are staggered throughout the day, these doors shall be kept closed at all times except when in use. If classes are kept with conventional schedule of all classes with the same start/end time, it is approved to wedge the stairwell doors open for these short class change times and during the lunch break. Any time the stairwell doors are wedged open, one staff member shall be assigned to each stairwell to ensure that the doors are closed upon the fire alarm sounding or at the end of the designated timeframe. This duty of ensuring the stairwell doors are closed shall take priority over any other task except their own personal safety.

    The Fire Safety Plan shall be updated to reflect the above items and all staff members shall be advised of their specific duties and a record shall be kept of the staff member’s acknowledgement of said duties.

    Perth Fire Services reserves the right to amend or revoke this approval at any time.

    in reply to: 9.5 building with washer/dryer in exit stairwell. #12996
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    Hi Matt,

    There are a couple things that come to mind for your situation.

    First, don’t worry about the fact that the issue wasn’t brought up before you got there, we all miss things (including the Building Dept) from time to time and can have slightly different interpretations of the Code based on our own personal background. I’ve got a ton of 3 storey buildings here with fire escapes that my predecessor missed required protection of If you can justify it as an issue, then carry on with resolution. If the building owner can demonstrate a different path thru the OFC and OBC that makes sense, you might consider it good enough and move on to another item/building.

    Under OFC 9.5, I don’t find anything where we can force separation of your situation of laundry room (no fuel fired appliance) but & definitely come into play as Marcus mentions. That’s fairly easy that they can’t be just sitting there on the landing of the exit.  I know we all have older buildings where they were built 100 yrs ago with service rooms off the stairs but we certainly shouldn’t be allowing new ones to be built like that.

    This is where it gets messy. Without seeing the building (or at least floor plans) for me to be sure, you might want to check the OBC.  Is the building over or under 600 sq m building area (OBC Pt 3 or Pt 9)? If it’s Pt 3, look at If it’s Pt 9, look at Either way, a service room shouldn’t be opening into an exit stair.  Based on those two Sentences, the solution should not have been to leave the laundry equipment where it was and separate them from the exit. They should have been removed from the exit and installed elsewhere in the building.

    That’s my take on it.

    in reply to: Fire doors in schools #12989
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    I actually have a site visit booked for this afternoon at one of my high schools for exactly this. I think (95% sure) my other high school and one elementary school already have them on mag-hold-opens…can’t remember about the other 2 elementary schools.

    My understanding is that it’s about ones in the corridors that separate the school into wings etc. The ones on the classrooms mostly don’t have self-closing devices anyway and are already in the FSP for the teacher to close upon exiting the class. I might consider the ones for the horizontal exits but unlikely I’ll make any concessions for the exit stairs.

    I’ll update after I’ve been there today.

    in reply to: Underground propane tanks…lots of them…lol #12918
    John WilsonJohn Wilson

    I recently read about that, can’t remember where the article was though.  I think it said it was first in recent memory in the province but there are a couple others in existence.    Off the top of my head, the setup will be heavily regulated by the TSSA and OBC has a play in it (which actually might just deffer to OFC Pt 4…). Pre plan and  Fire Safety Plan would be critical.

    Sounds quite interesting.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 105 total)