The safety of your employees and valuable office equipment should be top of any small business owner’s agenda, and learning the requirements of the National Fire Code is an absolute essential. Committing violations can be dangerous and can also result in costly fines. The exact requirements and fines for violations vary between provinces, and requirements can be more binding for certain buildings, such as private seniors’ residences. Furthermore, different municipalities can impose even more stringent standards, so it’s vital to be up to date with the appropriate specifications for the location of your small business premises.
You are probably already aware of your fire safety responsibilities to maintain a safe and healthy work environment under Canada’s Labour Code. The National Fire Code requirements include the expectation to maintain sprinkler systems, alarms, automatic door closers, and emergency equipment in good working order. In addition, draperies, curtains, and other decorative materials in certain areas should be compliant with National Fire Code regulations.
You also need to have an emergency evacuation plan and procedure in place that you share with all people involved and that is tested by a regular fire evacuation and rescue drill. Members of staff responsible for operating equipment such as fire extinguishers and alarm systems need to be trained in their use and be fully aware of escape routes. You should also provide a list of people on site, details of the use of the premises, and information about the age and fire resistance of the building to personnel charged with evacuating your building if fire breaks out.
To ensure that you are compliant with the National Fire Code for your jurisdiction, check with your municipal, provincial, or territorial office. Being proactive gives you the peace of mind that you are doing your very best to protect your employees in the event of a fire and ensures you don’t incur hefty fines by violating any part of the Code.