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