Office of the Fire Marshal
When most people think of a tourism experience, it is likely that fire safety is seldom at the top of their list. They are more apt to be thinking of trophy fish, rugged hiking trails or serene sunsets, all far removed from the normal hustle and bustle. There is no doubt that these are just some of the things that provide the appeal and romanticism associated with outdoor tourism. But wait! What about fire safety? Most of the fire hazards that exist everyday in people’s homes are also present in tourist lodges, resorts, and cabins.
Clients are quick to expect clean bedding, good food, no bear attacks, and no mice in their granola. Maybe it’s time that they come to also expect to be safe from the risk of fire! Can they be sure that appropriate precautions have been taken to prevent fires from ruining their vacation experience, or putting their lives at risk?
Perhaps the time has come for tourist operators to focus more attention on fire safety for their clients. The Ontario Fire Code contains specific requirements for certain types of buildings or occupancies. Perhaps the most commonly known of these requirements are those related to the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms. The early detection and warning provided by smoke alarms are critical to survival in a fire situation.
Whether or not other fire safety regulations in the Fire Code specifically apply to your property, you as the owner should take all reasonable precautions to reduce or remove the risk of fire. Perhaps the best tool that can be employed in this effort is a detailed Fire Safety Plan. A Fire Safety Plan could be considered as an Owner’s manual for your building or properties. Key issues that need to be addressed in a Fire Safety Plan include:
Emergency procedures to be used in the event of a fire,
Organization and training of staff to carry out fire safety duties,
Identification and control of hazards in and around the buildings on your property, and
Maintenance of building facilities and equipment.
As your business changes or grows, your Fire Safety Plan needs to be revised accordingly in order to reflect the current situation. As many tourist operators are located in areas where there is limited or no response capabilities from a fire department, due diligence dictates that all necessary precautions should be taken to prevent fires from occurring. The safety and well being of your clients and protection of your investment are not mutually exclusive. Preparing and implementing an effective Fire Safety Plan will identify and address fire risks and prepare staff to react quickly and appropriately in the event that a fire does occur.
Fire Safety Plans will be explored in greater detail in subsequent editions of The Outfitter. For more information about fire safety visit http://www.ofm.gov.on.ca
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is in no way intended to substitute for specific requirements of fire safety legislation including the Ontario Fire Code, O. Reg. 213/07.
This article was taken from page 9 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, Spring 2009 Issue