F O R B U I L D I N G O W N E R S , A S S E T A N D P R O P E R T Y M A N AG E R S
VOL. 23 NO. 5 • SEPTEMBER 2016
EMPOWERING THE “TRUE FIRST RESPONDERS” READYING CDM INCENTIVES ONTARIO ATTEMPTS ELECTRICITY RATE RELIEF WINTER PROPERTY SAFETY
USHERING IN THE NEW AGE OF SECURITY
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CONTENTS COVER STORY
USHERING IN THE NEW AGE OF SECURITY How advanced technologies and staff are protecting today's assets
IN THIS ISSUE
EMPOWERING THE “TRUE FIRST RESPONDERS”
ONTARIO ATTEMPTS ELECTRICITY RATE RELIEF
Clearing the way for those first on the scene
Industrial sector perk opened up for more commercial customers
ONTARIO READYING CDM INCENTIVES FOR PORTFOLIOS Program to target buildings located in at least two different electricity utility jurisdictions
FIVE TIPS FOR WINTER PROPERTY SAFETY A specialist shares seasonal advice for protecting building occupants and properties
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Peter J. Laforme, Executive Vice President
Andre Lebedev, P.Eng., Director of Electrical Engineering
Rob Niessl, P.Eng., Director of Engineering, Northern Region
Robert Borovina, P.Eng., Director of Mechanical Engineering
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A SEASON FOR CHANGE There's change in the air, and it's not just the first bite of fall. New technologies and trends are altering the property management landscape when it comes to how assets are secured, protected, and powered. It's a lot to manage, but this industry has never been one to back away from a challenge. We've turned our attentions to a number of these game-changers in the pages ahead. In Ushering in the New Age of Security, we look at the latest trends in building protection with help from leading security providers; and in Jason Reid’s Five Tips for Winter Property Safety, we run down ways to keep both properties and their occupants safe in the cold seasons. A number of promising energy developments are also coming to Ontario. Our own Barb Carss tackles two of these in Ontario Readying CDM Incentives for Portfolios and Ontario Attempts Electricity Rate Relief. Property professionals are no stranger to change, since part of the job is keeping an eye on what's ahead. Even still, part of the job is keeping an eye on what's ahead. Our mission to is to make that part of your job easier, and in the coming months we'll be spotlighting developments in sustainability, professional services, and building interior technologies. As always, if you have any feedback, ideas for an article, or are open to participating in a Q&A on your part of the industry, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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USHERING IN THE
NEW AGE OF SECURITY How advanced technologies and staff are protecting today's assets BY MATT BRADFORD
new generation of cyber attacks and tech-savvy thieves has brought security considerations to the fore amongst property owners and managers. And while protecting physical assets and personal data has always been a priority, the need to keep pace with modern security threats and trends is stronger than ever. “Security threats are diverse and constantly changing, and so the need to control costs has never been more pressing,” affirms Katie McLeod, national director of communications and sales with G4S Canada, noting, “The most recent
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data shows that Canada has seen its first significant rise in property and violent crime in decades. Security programs must therefore be optimized to provide adequate protection and risk mitigation in the face of evolving threats.” Today, security companies are answering the call with innovative technologies, systems, and strategies that are every bit as advanced and complex as the criminals they are working to keep at bay. What's more, those innovations are driving an awareness for the modern risks and habits of the people they're trying to protect.
“Physical security technology is constantly changing and evolving to meet people’s – and business’s – needs,” notes Peter Redfern, commercial sales leader with Tyco Integrated Fire & Security. “As today’s workforce adopts a more on-thego lifestyle, we’re seeing technological advances that meet those needs in physical security, like remote control capability, which enables property owners to manage their security assets from a remote location to better meet business needs”. “As demand for these types of solutions increase, we’ll see more physical security
strategies incorporating this kind of structure,” he predicts. Leading that evolution are Bluetoothand near-field technologies that are putting security control – and property access – in the hands of residents and property managers alike. Advanced video surveillance and analytics are also changing the scope of security by allowing property stakeholders to monitor and track activity at all hours. Footage from these devices can also be used to carry out complex tasks such as detecting license plates within a parking garage and
identify which don't belong, detecting subtle disturbances in remote parts of the building, and providing remote video concierge services for 24/7 protection. “Now, it's not always necessary to have a front desk concierge at all hours of the day. Remote video concierge technology lets property owners complement onsite security personnel at a reduced cost,” explains McLeod. “What's more, with a virtual concierge service, there is live interaction with a 'virtual person' for information, remote access, and parcel delivery - but no one sits at the front desk. Through two-way
audio and video capabilities, the operator is visible to building residents and guests from a flat-screen television situated where the concierge person would normally sit.” That's not to say technology is replacing human assets. In fact, physical security guards are still a vital part of a building's defense as they provide a familiar sense of comfort to residents and a visible deterrent to criminal activity. What is changing, however, is that security guards are becoming more sophisticated, more technologically adept, and better trained to use technological tools to their advantage.
SECURITY GUARDS ARE BECOMING MORE SOPHISTICATED, MORE TECHNOLOGICALLY ADEPT, AND BETTER TRAINED TO USE TECHNOLOGICAL TOOLS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE.
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The overall role and function of security has also evolved. Once regarded as a single, individual element of a building's operations, it is now important for property managers to integrate security strategy that works as a unified whole based off the building’s security needs. For example, says Redfern, “Property owners are integrating mass notification systems into their buildings. This is a combination of technologies that can be used to protect building occupants in the event of an emergency. Many security elements go into an integrated mass notification system including visual signage, voice communication systems, direct communication, and more. That said, it’s important for building owners to think holistically when planning which security strategy works best for them.” The department of “security” has traditionally been operational in nature and one part of a building's management structure. Security in its more modern form, however, has also grown to become an active part of the overall business. “Security has now evolved to be a business enabler by supporting corporate priorities, protecting assets and infrastructure, and actively aiding in the overall risk management effort,” says McLeod. “Perhaps one of the largest and most common oversights owners and managers make in that regard pertains to strategic direction. You need to ask: What is the purpose of the security function in the first place? Why do you have security on site? Why do they perform some security-related duties and not others?” To operate most effectively, she adds, security departments and their corresponding programs should be aligned with the mission and strategic goals of the organization through a formal mandate or charter which outlines security objectives and business priorities. The age of the cookie-cutter security strategy is gone. With many more factors at play, property owners must implement customized security strategies that align with their building’s unique requirements. Yet before embarking on a system-wide upgrade, Redfern advises property stakeholders to take the time to understand their building, its needs, and its possible threats. “Before you do anything else, you need to do risk assessment. Only after you've given consideration to careful planning, installation, and integration will you be able to provide a reliable solution that best fits the building’s needs.” ■
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“TRUE FIRST RESPONDERS” Clearing the way for those first on the scene BY DOUG ARAKI
hen the media talk of the “first responder”, images of brave fire fighters racing into burning buildings, or police of officers marching onto an accident scene, most often come to mind. These brave men and women with their countless hours of training, backed up with proven and advanced technology, are put in to harms way routinely to protect and help people during times of crisis. With their training and experience, they are able to quickly assess the situation, make decisions with the resources provided to them, and, in most cases, deal with an incident resulting in a favourable outcome. Rarely, however, are these first responders on the scene of an incident when it first presents itself. In fact, most of the time first responders are three to five minutes away in the best of circumstances; and in the worst case scenario, maybe as long as three to five days. Therefore, the “true first responders” (TFRs) are the civilians who are in close
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proximity to the event when it occurs and in a position to assist. In a building or facility, these are the building engineers, property managers, operators, security officers, janitors, tenant floor wardens, and ordinary occupants that wish to assist. The policies and procedures that the TFRs initiate prior to the arrival of the authorities can dramatically influence the outcome of the event either positively or negatively. The odds of having a positive outcome are directly proportional to the quality of the building emergency response plans, training programs, and tools provided to the TFRs. It is important the building owner and/ or property managers realize that without the support of these TFRs, the life safety of tenants and occupants could be at risk. They must be given procedures, training, and support to be able to manage an emergency event until such time as the community first responders arrive and are in a position to assume the responsibility
for the management of the event. Again, in small events, this internal response duration may only be for a few minutes, whereas in a large event or regional disaster this may be up to several days. A PLANNED RESPONSE The foundation of a building emergency response program must consist of an approved building fire safety plan (regulated by the fire code) and a comprehensive multi-hazard emergency response plan with detailed descriptions of the roles/responsibilities and how-to instruction for the TFRs involved in an emergency event. Building owners and property management companies also need to take into consideration plan continuity, scalability, and nomenclature when developing their building emergency response plans. This fact was recognized by jurisdictions across North America, which has adopted the Incident Command System (ICS)
as a cornerstone to their emergency management policies. This integrated system establishes a uniform set of processes, protocols, and procedures that all emergency responders, at every level can use to conduct emergency response actions. They will have the same preparation, goals, expectations, and – more importantly – they will be speaking the same language. At the building or facility and corporate level, having everyone executing from the same play book is essential to a successful outcome. Even though fire emergencies still pose the greatest risk and threat to building occupants, it is necessary to plan and prepare for a number of other life-threatening events such as earthquake, tornado, hurricane, flood, bomb threat, suspicious package, hazardous materials, power failure, medical and active shooter incidents. Once the emergency response plans are developed, it is absolutely imperative these plans are implemented and maintained on an on-going basis. Consider your emergency plans as live documents that may need updating due to changes at your building or periodic changes in your
TFRs. The training, exercising, and testing of the plans and the TFRs on a continual basis is imperative or it will fail. Training can be relatively generic for general occupants, but needs to be role and site-specific at the building or facility level. To manage changes and implementation, consider the use of technology that will allow you to leverage your time and costs such as online eLearning or the use of mobile technology to provide TFRs the knowledge and confidence necessary to
lead your building occupants to safety. By bringing awareness to the role of TFRs and providing them with the knowledge, tools, and disaster response, the end result will be a reduction in life loss, injury, property damage, reputation damage, liability, downtime, and confusion in dealing with an emergency. ■ ________________________________________ DOUG ARAKI IS PRESIDENT AT WPS DISASTER MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS.
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ONTARIO READYING CDM INCENTIVES FOR PORTFOLIOS Program to target buildings located in at least two different electricity utility jurisdictions BY BARB CARSS
roposed incentives for building owners/managers operating in more than one of Ontario’s 70+ electricity utility jurisdictions may not be as lucrative as other existing conservation and demand management (CDM) programs. The recently released draft plan for a performance-based method of calculating energy savings generally earns praise for its intent, but stakeholders asked to provide feedback have challenged some of the details, including the suggested incentive rate of $0.04 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of measured savings for a maximum of four years.
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“Economically, it would be disadvantageous to pursue the P4P (pay-for-performance) program,” maintains Andrew Pride, an energy management consultant and former vice president of conservation at the now defunct Ontario Power Authority. “I would recommend a minimum of 5 cents/kWh over four years or to extend the 4 cents to a five-year term.” The proposed program arises from the Minister of Energy’s directive to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) earlier this year, in which he called for a centrally administered CDM program targeting commercial, multi-residential
and institutional portfolios with buildings located in various regions of the province. The IESO was instructed to consult with local distribution companies (LDCs) to develop a pay-for-performance (P4P) program that could be ready for launch in the fall of 2016. In part, it’s an effort to streamline the logistics of Ontario’s Conservation First Framework — which designates LDCs as the delivery agents of CDM programs and holds them responsible for attaining specified consumption reduction targets — for portfolio owners/managers who may have to deal with multiple LDCs. In addition,
“Retrofit-based energy conservation measures alone cannot deliver optimized energy savings in buildings. There needs to be mechanisms to address and motivate a behavioural component, and performancebased programs account for this,” concurs Bala Gnanam, director of sustainable building operations and strategic partnerships with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Toronto. “A whole-building based program would also drive innovation and persistence of savings from the installed energy conservation measures and management best practices.”
the P4P model moves beyond the current emphasis on replacing energy-consuming equipment and devices to a whole-building approach that involves a mix of retrofit measures, operational adjustments and outreach to building occupants. “Operational savings incentives are an important evolution of CDM that has up to this point been missing as an offering. Conceptually, this is a positive development with great opportunity across some, if not all, sectors,” observes Joe Bilé, manager of CDM program delivery with Toronto Hydro and co-chair of a broader working group of LDCs developing CDM programs.
PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE RULES As envisioned in the draft program design the IESO released in mid-July, payouts will be calculated by comparing buildings’ actual metered electricity consumption against baseline energy modelling conducted prior to the program’s start. Participating customers would be required to enroll at least two buildings located in different LDC jurisdictions and commit to achieving annual energy savings of at least 5 per cent for a minimum two-year period. Buildings signed up for the P4P program would be ineligible for most other CDM incentives LDCs offer, with the exception of funding for energy audits and/or energy managers. However, LDCs will be able to count savings achieved within their territories toward their own mandated targets. Hourly meter data, at minimum, will be required for all enrolled buildings. Ideally, the IESO would also prefer buildings with initial annual electricity consumption of at least 2 million kWh, but states it may allow for groupings of smaller buildings that equal that total. Although designed as a four-year program, there will be leeway to opt out after two years. In all cases, the IESO’s accredited third-party technical reviewer must confirm 12 months of participants’ savings data before they can receive their payout for each year. Program designers are now considering the comments they’ve solicited on the draft plan, including submissions from BOMA Toronto, the LDCs’ working group and consultants to the real estate industry. The proposed incentive rate and prohibition on P4P participants tapping into other incentives draw almost unanimous criticism, while respondents
typically favour the flexibility to aggregate buildings to reach required consumption thresholds and agree that buildings should also be benchmarked through Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager program. Pride’s recommended 5 cents/kWh incentive rate is actually the lowball among submitted suggestions, with others calling for a minimum of 6 cents/ kWh, or a frontloaded or back-loaded incremental scale with rates from 4 cents to 8 cents/kWh over a five-year term. These arguments are based on what would effectively be competing offers from LDCs under the SaveOnEnergy banner — such as $0.20 per kWh of savings from process and systems upgrades — and the higher risk P4P participants would have to take since their payout would first be contingent on achieving 5 per cent savings. If forced to choose just one program stream, as the proposed P4P rules contemplate, energy management specialists speculate that many customers will opt for the retrofit incentives they already know. “Instead of an either-or with the current list of LDCs’ offers, why not allow both?” asks Geoff Lupton, director of energy, fleet and traffic for the city of Hamilton and a member of the IESO’s 18-member Stakeholder Advisory Committee, representing Ontario municipalities. “The strategy might be to calculate the incentive given to a particular measure and subtract part or all of it from the pay-for-performance funding.” MORE COLLABORATION AND OPENNESS URGED Bilé cautions against “different rules, promoted by a different organization and with minimal interface with LDCs”
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that could create confusion. From the LDCs’ perspective, they provide a logical platform for coordinating CDM incentives for portfolios because they often already have relationships with prospective P4P participants through key account managers. “It would enable the LDCs to continue with their strong momentum in promoting retrofit and other programs. In fact, customers who believe their savings are actually higher than the LDC will credit can prove it and be rewarded through the P4P program,” Pride adds. “The programs can be complementary.” Yet, the promise of streamlined centralized administration is appealing to prospective applicants. “A complaint that is normally levied against the current SaveOnEnergy program, from many landlords and energy services providers who assist or act on behalf of landlords, is that some LDCs do not respond to inquiries in a timely manner, and in some cases, don’t respond at all. This must change,” Gnanam asserts. “It is hoped that a centralized program for multi-distributor consumers would make it easier for landlords and service providers to follow up on the status of 4:11 PM their applications, payments and other inquiries related to their projects.” Relatively few organizations from the broader public sector will qualify for the program since they rarely own buildings in more than one LDC’s jurisdiction. Universities with campuses throughout the province, health care networks that straddle municipal borders and some regional governments operating nonprofit housing and long-term care facilities in lower-tier municipalities served by different LDCs are among the exceptions, but the wider exclusion of Ontario’s cities disappoints Lupton. “I’m a fan of the pay-for-performance concept. If done right, it should allow for more comprehensive measures and controls,” he says. “The goal is to achieve kWh reduction, so the fewer the rules and the higher the participation levels, the better the results.” The IESO is scheduled to respond to comments by early September. ■ ________________________________________
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BARBARA CARSS IS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF CANADIAN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT. THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE REMI NETWORK (WWW.REMINETWORK.COM).
ELECTRICITY RATE RELIEF Industrial sector perk opened up for more commercial customers BY BARB CARSS
he Ontario government’s newly announced electricity rate relief efforts will give large commercial customers access to a perk their peers in the industrial sector already enjoy. Proposed expanded eligibility for the now narrowly named Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) would allow any consumer with a monthly electricity load of at least 1 megawatt (MW) to potentially reduce the Global Adjustment that represents upwards of 70 per cent of the commodity cost of electricity. “For large commercial consumers between 1 and 5 MW it could be a huge opportunity,” observes Neal Bach, president of the energy management consulting firm, Energy Profiles Limited. “The flipside is that smaller electricity accounts will pay even higher rates, but it will motivate a large and capable segment of the electricity market to significantly reduce demand exactly when the province needs it most.” Meanwhile, as announced in Ontario’s Speech from the Throne this September, multi-residential landlords will qualify for a rebate on the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax (HST) along
with residential, small business and farm customers. The resulting 8 per cent discount on hydro bills beginning in January will moderate other anticipated added expenses over the next 12 to 14 months. “The impact of an 8 per cent credit, which is obviously nice to have, is still going to be outweighed by other rising costs. We’re advising our clients to be prepared for an overall increase of 4 to 6 per cent,” says Peter Mills, co-chief executive officer of the utility sub-metering company, Wyse Meter Solutions Inc.. SHIFTING THE ALLOCATION OF GLOBAL ADJUSTMENT Proposed broadened ICI eligibility is analogous to the exercise of property tax reassessment. The Ontario government won’t be losing any revenue, simply realigning how it is collected. More than 1,000 additional customers could join the existing exclusive group of about 300 primarily industrial operators now participating in the program. Under rules first introduced in 2010, only customers with average monthly electricity demand of 5 MW qualified for the program, thus excluding most commercial buildings
smaller than 1 million square feet. That threshold was subsequently dropped to 3 MW for a small number of light industrial and agricultural sectors, of which data centres were the only beneficiaries likely to occupy commercial real estate. As with reassessment, shifts in the allocation of the Global Adjustment will benefit some customers and further burden others. However, proactive commercial real estate owners/managers are poised to be among the winners. “Lowering the threshold to 1 MW would allow many of our members who have invested a great deal of money in conservation to reap some additional financial benefits,” says Bala Gnanam, director of sustainable building operations and strategic partnerships with the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Toronto. “So far, savings from conservation efforts have been consumed, for the most part, by the global adjustment mechanism.” Ultimately, this mechanism, propagated via the ICI, is premised on inequitable distribution of the Global Adjustment. ICI participants, categorized as Class A, enjoy a different formula for calculating their
share of the opaque envelope of costs — including contracted prices for nuclear and non-hydroelectric renewable generation and funds devoted to conservation and demand management (CDM) programs — that Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) pegs at an average of 9.85 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the first seven months of 2016. The Global Adjustment for Class A customers is calculated based on consumption during the five hours of the year — measured from May 1 to April 30 — with highest recorded electricity demand. Class A customers who can successfully predict those peaks and reduce power loads will lower the mathematical factor used to calculate their Global Adjustment for an entire year’s billing period. Non-eligible retail electricity customers, categorized as Class B, then pick up the remainder of the cost each month, paying it on a straightforward $/kWh basis. “If done right, the ICI can offset a large portion of the customer’s Global Adjustment charges, but as the Global Adjustment is based mostly on fixed costs, the savings will need to be paid by those who don’t qualify for the ICI,” explains Andrew Pride, a consultant specializing in energy management and strategic conservation planning. For example, a 2013 report to the IESO from Navigant notes that Class A customers paid an average of $27.70 per megawatthour (MWh) for the Global Adjustment in the period from October 2011 to September 2012, while Class B customers paid an average of $48.70/MWh.
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ENERGY EFFICIENCY PAYBACKS The Ontario government is highlighting the potential beneficiaries, stating in a September 13 release that eligible customers “will be able to find cost savings of up to 34 per cent, depending on 12:30 PM their ability to reduce peak electricity consumption.” The financial fallout for customers who do not qualify is not mentioned, but the pending cost redistribution makes an even stronger financial argument for energy efficiency. “Class B customers will need to focus more on energy conservation to bring their overall consumption down, thus lowering their Global Adjustment cost,” Pride advises. Larger commercial customers are likewise urged to consider ways to capitalize on Class A status through conservation. “Because the potential for cost reductions is so material, a lot of firms will rethink their entire energy cost management strategy,” Bach says. “At the very least, it will dramatically increase the focus on minimizing electricity use on peak days, but it will also make the case for on-site electricity storage and/or generation very compelling for businesses that can do it.” Operationally, it will still be easier for industrial consumers to take advantage of the program since they have more flexibility to shut down production and associated electricity loads during times of peak demand. Commercial real estate’s electricity demand tends to be more in sync with the peaks as heating or cooling loads follow the outdoor temperature. “The response capability may be an issue,” says Scott Rouse, managing partner of the consulting firm, Energy@Work. “There’s also the question of the true need for this when Ontario has demand capacity exceeding what is needed for most of the time.” ■ ______________________________________________________________
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BARBARA CARSS IS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF CANADIAN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT. THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE REMI NETWORK (WWW.REMINETWORK.COM).
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FIVE TIPS FOR WINTER PROPERTY SAFETY A specialist shares seasonal advice for protecting building occupants and properties BY JASON D. REID
015's winter was mild, and this year's season could very well follow suit. Yet while winter safety tips may not be top of mind for condo managers just yet, prepared property managers have already begun proactively reducing the risks and impacts of the cold months ahead. To further enhance occupant safety programs and protect building operations, consider the following five safety tips for preventing, planning for, and responding to common seasonal emergencies. 1. MONITOR ROOM TEMPERATURES Make routine security checks a part of a property's emergency management program. Task the security officer conducting patrols in a building with
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identifying unusually cold rooms. Examples of the rooms that should be monitored include sprinkler rooms, electrical rooms, generator rooms, fuel storage rooms, and mechanical / electrical rooms and parking garages. More than often, this allows property managers to proactively address frozen pipes, false alarms, temperature complaints, and HVAC concerns before they become an emergency. Further, this proactive initiative allows property managers to foresee and preempt resident complaints. 2. PATROL THE PERIMETER Slips, trips, and falls are the leading causes of injuries at work in Ontario and the leading injury claim property managers
face in 2016. Security personnel can have a positive impact on this trend. Direct security personnel conducting routine patrols to include the perimeter of the building, as well as any walkways and access routes to the property. Have security personnel identify potential concerns, such as icy or wet and slippery surface conditions. Also ensure that security knows what steps to take depending on the findings of these patrols and document this due diligence. If it’s not documented, it typically did not happen. Quickly detecting and applying salt on an icy walkway will eliminate a slip, trip, and fall hazard. What’s more, it will show that the property's stakeholders have an effective safety program in place.
3. TRAIN BUILDING STAFF The Ontario Fire Code gives building owners numerous responsibilities, the most important of which is to ensure their fire department-approved building plan is implemented. As representatives of building owners, property managers, and their supporting staff must be trained to act in the event of an emergency — an often forgotten component of these plans. Fire safety experts offer training sessions, as a component of implementation, and provide certificates of completion that document a property manager and his or her team’s training. Ensuring building superintendents and on-site security personnel are trained in how to manually start emergency
generators, smoke control, and exhaust fans emerged as an industry best practice after the 2013 ice storm. These systems are often an integral part of responses to building emergencies, and as such, supervisory staff should know how to use them. When emergency services arrive at a condo’s door, they expect a trained and knowledgeable person to assist them with building-specific details. 4. HOLD INFORMATION SESSIONS The holidays serve as a reminder of what’s important, such as family. A building’s family of residents and/or tenants expects to be safe in its home. All property occupants need to have a basic understanding of the life safety
systems in their building, which are ultimately designed to protect them. They also need to know that their decision to evacuate or stay in their suite during a fire alarm is theirs, but the hard fact is that the earlier building occupants leave in the event of a fire, the better the chances they have of surviving. It’s the property manager’s job to ensure that residents make informed decisions. Fire and smoke move very quickly, and the conditions in any part of the building may change in an instant. Smoke can spread through a building and enter a suite, even when the fire is many floors away. During an emergency, occupants will not have much time to decide what to do, so make sure they know what to do ahead of time. A specific building’s fire and evacuation procedures are found in its approved Fire Safety Plan, which may differ from building to building. Hold an information meeting at least once a year, whether it be a fire safety session or a question-and-answer period for concerned residents. Occupants need to know the evacuation and shelter-inplace procedures, including the vital role of their property management team during fire alarms. 5. ENSURE HOLIDAY SAFETY Whether for a condo or office building, remind occupants of the following holiday fire safety tips to ensure buildings are safe and secure during the holiday season. • Decorations: Always choose decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible, and non-conductive. Never hang holiday decorations from sprinkler heads/pipes, or in a way that would impede their intended use. • Holiday flowers and plants: Holly and mistletoe can be fatal to small children; www.REMInetwork.com
the smaller the child, the smaller the dose that can cause serious medical problems. Poinsettia leaves are typically not fatal if swallowed, but can have negative impacts. Call 9-1-1 if a child ingests any of these plants. • Trees: Do not set real trees up near a heat source such as a radiator, television, fireplace, or heating duct. Artificial trees must have a label indicating that they are fire-retardant. Metal or aluminum trees are conductors of electricity, so do
not decorate them with strings of lights or any other electrical product. • Lights: 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, checking for cracked bulbs and for frayed, broken, or exposed wires. Discard if faulty. • Fireplace: Never burn gift wrappings,
boxes, cartons, or other types of packing in the fireplace. They burn too rapidly and generate far too much heat. • Candles: Never leave burning candles unattended. Snuff them out before leaving the room or going to sleep. Check your property rules as open flame / sparks or heat generating devices may not be allowed for use in your building unless approved. • Carbon Monoxide: Don’t forget to inspect carbon monoxide and smoke alarms for function prior to the holidays. The above steps can significantly enhance a property manager’s building operations this winter, and better prepare and equip their teams to effectively prevent, prepare, mitigate, respond, and ultimately recover from emergencies. ■
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JASON REID IS A BUILDING EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST & SENIOR ADVISOR TO NATIONAL LIFE SAFETY GROUP. HE IS ALSO THE 2015 CHAIR; RESILIENT COMMUNITIES ONTARIO’S FIRE & EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE, AND A PAST CHAIR; EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE AT BOMA TORONTO
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