EMERGENCY POWER SYSTEM MAINTENANCE
February 2, 2018
The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) wishes to emphasize the importance of complying with the inspection, testing and maintenance requirements for emergency power systems outlined in Section 6.7 of Division B of the Fire Code. These measures provide opportunities to proactively identify performance issues and resolve any problems with the equipment or fuel. During inspections, fire inspectors are reminded to review site maintenance records to ensure that records are complete and that maintenance of equipment is in compliance with the Fire Code.
Studies have shown that diesel fuels containing biodiesel content may be more susceptible to premature degradation when not properly maintained due to the chemical properties of biodiesel. Although the OFMEM has not received any reports of incidents of emergency generator failures, it should be noted that, when equipment and/or fuel for emergency power systems have not been maintained according to Fire Code requirements, there may be risks that problems will not be detected and that the performance of emergency generators will be affected detrimentally.
Additional information about emergency power systems maintenance is provided in the attached sheet of questions and answers.
Enquiries regarding Fire Code requirements pertaining to emergency power systems should be sent to Technical Services by e-mail at FireSafetyStandards@ontario.ca.
Fire Marshal’s Communiqué 2018-03
Questions and answers
What are the Ontario Fire Code requirements for the inspection, testing and maintenance of emergency power systems?
Emergency power systems are to be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with CSA-C282, Emergency Electrical Power Supply for Buildings [Sentence 220.127.116.11.(1), Division B of the Fire Code].
What can owners do to ensure their emergency power system is properly maintained?
Owners should adhere to maintenance requirements outlined in the Fire Code and to any additional instructions specified by the equipment manufacturer. Owners may hire a service provider with qualified personnel that is knowledgeable in emergency power system maintenance. Owners should also thoroughly review maintenance reports prepared by service providers.
What can fire inspectors do to ensure emergency power systems are properly maintained?
During inspections, fire inspectors should review the site maintenance records for emergency power systems to ensure that records are complete and conform to CSA-C282 requirements. In addition, fire inspectors should review these records to see if they indicate that the fuel supply is being maintained in accordance with Fire Code requirements.
In facilities housing vulnerable occupants, Annex B of Fire Marshal’s Directive 2014‑002, Annual Inspection Checklist for Care Occupancies, Care and Treatment Occupancies, and Retirement Homes, requires that emergency power system records be reviewed as part of the mandatory annual inspection.
Do health care facilities have additional maintenance requirements for emergency power systems?
Emergency power systems in health care facilities are to be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with CSA-Z32, Electrical Safety and Essential Electrical Systems in Health Care Facilities. The emergency power system maintenance provisions in CSA-Z32 defer to the provisions of CSA-C282. Under clause 11.4 of CSA-C282, all monthly activities (see Table 3 of CSA-C282) in health care facilities are to be performed on a weekly basis [Sentence 18.104.22.168.(2), Division B of the Fire Code].
What is biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a fuel produced from biomass (e.g., plant oils, animal fats).
What are the pros and cons of biodiesel?
Biodiesel can be produced locally and reduces overall air pollution. Biodiesel acts as a solvent, which can remove deposits in a fuel system. However, biodiesel gels more readily than petrodiesel in cold weather. In addition, biodiesels have a shorter shelf life than petrodiesels, and may need to be filtered and treated more often than diesel fuel in order to remove water, scale and bacteria. Over prolonged periods, the development of water, scale and bacteria within fuel may affect the performance of equipment that is not being maintained.