The “Life Safety of Property Management – Finally a certificate program in Ontario.

Leadership throughout the property management industry continues to empower their teams with innovative training programs in order to better provide services to the people and property in which they serve.  Unfortunately, although advancements continue to be made, the field of safety continues to be the untapped resource in terms of training, response and the vast opportunities to better protect building occupants – Until now.

On October 3rd  of this year, over 35 property management  industry leaders were invited to the Fire & Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) , a world class firefighter training campus, to learn about the unprecedented resources now available to support their PM’s ongoing work.

Under Provincial Fire Code, building managers, residential superintendents, and property supervisory personnel are required to be familiar with the buildings life safety systems they are responsible for.  The term “Life Safety” is a broad one, and references anything that may impact building occupant safety.  (Please see chart for example of these systems).

In addition to the above, the program reviews best practices for persons requiring assistance during evacuations.   Persons requiring assistance during a building evacuation may be described as anyone who has reduced mobility, a speech, hearing or visual impair­ment, or a cognitive limitation—regardless of whether or not these conditions are temporary or permanent.

This training program provides the industry with recognized certificate training in building fire & life Safety code compliance, as well as vast array f operational and safety best practices.

The program provides a clear overview of building safety systems, procedures for supervisory personnel, and reference material for use in the event of a building emergency.

Further, the program provides detailed information on testing and inspection requirements, occupant training, and what to do in the event of a life safety system failure.  These are critical components to successfully managing a property, and protecting the public and your family of tenants.

With respect to fire drills, PM’s are mandated to conduct these drills as required by law, yet little to n guidance is provided to them with respect to preparing for these drills, never mind holding these drills.  The program offered through FESTI provides ste by step instructions, coupled with lessons learned from both an operational impact and liability realm.

In addition to the above, the program also brings property managers up to speed on newly introduced legislation, so that they may be better prepared for the impacts in there industry – For example the new Ontario CO law.

Why is the Ontario Fire Code (OFC) being amended?
OFC changes relating to CO alarms are part of the implementation of the Hawkins Gignac Act, 2013, which received Royal Assent just recently in December 2013. This Act amended the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (FPPA) to allow the regulation of CO alarms through amendments to the OFC. The Act also proclaims the week beginning November 1 as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week.

Do all existing residential buildings require CO alarms?
Existing residential occupancies that contain at least one fuel-burning appliance (e.g., gas water heater or gas furnace), fireplace or an attached garage, require the installation of a CO alarm.

When did the CO alarm regulation come into force?
The CO alarm regulation came into force on October 15, 2014. Buildings that contain no more than six suites of residential occupancy are required to comply with the installation and replacement requirements within 6 months of the in-force date (April 15, 2015, at the latest).

Buildings that contain more than six suites of residential occupancy are required to comply with the installation and replacement requirements within 12 months of the in-force date (October 15, 2015, at the latest).

The maintenance and testing requirements for existing CO alarms (e.g. those devices previously installed to comply with the OBC or a municipal by-law) take effect on the in-force date (October 15, 2014).

Be Aware that many municipalities already have bylaws in place that may or may not require CO alarms in your building. For example, Toronto has a bylaw; Please see Link: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/1184_387.pdf

The Life Safety Of Property Management Highlights:

  • Commercial and Residential Property Management & Life Safety Integration: Building Critical Infrastructure and Facility Life Safety Features
  • Emergency Response & Continuity of building Operations; Hazardous Materials, Fire, Evacuation, Medical Emergencies, Extreme Weather, Evacuation & Shelter in Place, H2S, O2, CO2, Suspicious packages and Bomb Threats.
  • Fire Safety Plans, Fire & Human Behavior, Building / Facility Fire Warden Roles & Responsibilities, Persons Requiring Assistance during Evacuations, Effective Fire Drills & Industry leading documentation practices
  • Code Compliance, Facility Inspections & Hazard Identification & Preventative Maintenance
  • Emergency Systems; Fire Alarm, Sprinklers, Gas & Refrigerant Detection Systems, Firefighter Elevators, Emergency Power, Public Address Systems, Emergency Lighting
  • Arriving Fire, Police & EMS Priorities & Expectations, Lessons Learned, Common Challenges during Evacuations
  • Building the Life Safety business case

The Life Safety of Property Management, launched by the world’s most elite firefighter training facility, is an educational program uniquely developed for the property management industry.  “The program provides best practices, lessons learned, and valuable insights from high-rise fire safety experts, police, fire and EMS personnel” says Jason Reid, co-author of the program, “it brings reality to the operations world of property management.”