Life Safety Systems
The purpose of life safety systems in our buildings is to keep us safe. These systems include fire alarms, sprinkler systems, emergency lights and exit signs. They silently monitor conditions and are always ready to activate on a moments notice to:
- Alert people of a life-threatening fire hazard
- Give occupants as much time as possible to take action
- Limit property damage by containing a hazard until the local fire department arrives
- Provide direction and light to safe passage when the main power systems fails.
In Alberta and BC, everyone can expect a minimum amount of coverage from life safety systems, no matter what type of building or location. Because of modern building codes, Canada has one of the lowest death rates from fires in the world.
Managing the Complexity of Building Life Safety Systems
The green running man originated in Japan is the internationally recognized exit sign.
As professional engineers of life safety systems, we design:
- Fire alarms systems to get people out alive. The latest technology is used to detect a fire as quickly as possible. The earlier the notice, the more time to escape and initiate an emergency response.
- Fire protection systems include sprinkler systems for buildings and fire suppression systems for commercial kitchens in restaurants. These systems limit the spread of fire from room to room and from building to building.
- Exit signs show the way out of the building and remain illuminated for 30 minutes after the power goes out.
- Emergency lighting systems illuminate a safe way out even when the main power is out.
These complex systems and projects meet the requirements set out in the BC Building code and Alberta Building code for various types, usages and occupancy levels of buildings. Both codes are based on the National Building Code of Canada which mandates the level of safety.
Residential suites in multi-residential buildings do not require emergency lighting systems but the public halls and stairwells do.
Fire alarm systems are required for restaurants that have more than 150 occupants while cafes do not require them unless the larger building has one.
The level of risk for a certain type of building is based on decades' worth of unfortunate disasters across North America. Canadian citizens can be reassured that all modern buildings meet the minimum safety levels.
When older buildings undergo renovations, they must be brought up to modern standards, sometimes at significant costs but with the same goal of reducing the loss of life and property.
Fires Will Happen
Innocent livelihoods were destroyed but no lives were lost in the Great Toronto fire in 1904.
The great fire of Toronto in 1904 taught us that a misfortune at one business should never lead to the hardship of others. That fire in the downtown core destroyed 20 acres of land and buildings with the loss of 5000 jobs (temporarily).
Life safety systems limit the needless ruin of lives and livelihoods.
These complex systems can work separately and sometimes together. For instance, exit signage and emergency lighting systems can be in combination. Sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems usually go hand-in-hand while some buildings may just require a fire-alarm system.
Why does my building need a life safety system?
As electrical consultants, we've been asked by business owners and property managers why their building need a life safety systems even though the risk of fire hazards is low.
Our answer: As a society, we are all responsible for one another.
We have learned from our societal history how to prevent a repeat of a tragic loss. And as business owners and property managers, it's our responsibility to make things as safe as possible for those who use our buildings.
Life Safety Systems - Where do I Start?
Life safety systems can be overwhelming, especially for existing buildings that require a renovation. These projects needs to comply with the most modern building regulations set out in the building code.
Life Safety Systems - What we do
Paralynx Engineering and affiliate engineers offers a complete design and verification of life safety system design for industrial, commercial and multi-story residential buildings in Alberta and BC. Our mechanical engineering consulting partners provide fire protection systems that include:
- Dry sprinker systems
- Fire pumps
- Deluge, standpipe and fire extinguishers
- Foam systems and fog mist systems.
- Airport holding rooms
- 25 Storey residential buildings
- Commercial buildings
Our electrical engineering consulting expertise includes buildings of all sizes and functions. We make sure to meet the requirements set out in the building code and also to right-size the systems to minimize risk of loss to your business.
The designs are then issued for tender to contractors so you can:
- Choose the best price
- Choice from a lot of certified manufacturers instead of being tied to just one
- Get guidance from an independent engineer. We are not tied to a single-source manufacturer.
All designs are done in CAD software. Each customized design is up to date with national, provincial, municipal regulations.
Accidents will happen and since there are a lot of lives and livelihoods riding on life safety system, a good design is absolutely necessary. From exit signs to emergency lighting systems, from sprinkler systems to fire alarms, our engineering goal is get people out a live and to keep damage to a minimum.