Part of our ‘new normal’ in Canada is adjusting to temporary changes. Whether it’s shutting down businesses and worksites, adding space to hospitals or ramping up work on a construction site.

This means we also have to shift how we monitor businesses, worksites and temporary shelters in the event of a fire or medical emergency. That’s where the WES3 wireless evacuation and fire alert system comes in. It’s a proven solution in uncertain times.

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We’re examining 3 temporary scenarios that WES3 can help keep workers safe and protect your assets and the community around you from fire.

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What is WES3?

WES3 is a wireless evacuation system, which can run for years on internal batteries. The system consists of 6 types of devices including a base station, heat detector, smoke detector, medical alert call point, interface module, and a link unit which extend the reach of the system. When dispersed throughout a building, this system can communicate emergency situations that would require immediate attention or a first responder – like a heart attack, an evacuation or even a fire. WES3 allows you to monitor your worksite from anywhere in the world using the Connect base station and the REACT mobile app.

Benefits of WES3:

  • Rapid installation for fire, evacuation and medical alerts.
  • 3G or 4G connectivity for offsite communications via text alerts.
  • Self-install system.
  • Allows total flexibility by moving units from place to place or site to site.
  • Easily connects to existing systems.
  • 3 year battery life (under normal conditions).

Want to learn more about WES3?

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Scenario 1: Temporary structures and tents

Hospitals across Canada have constructed temporary structures and tents in advance of a potential influx of patients.

In their whitepaper called Temporary Compliance Options for Alternate Care Sites released in April 2020, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) stated the following:

Automatic sprinkler protection is an essential measure that has been required in NFPA 101 for many years in new and even many existing health care occupancies. While many of the large, open exhibit centers and similar facilities will likely be protected with automatic sprinklers, there is no straightforward or simple way to extend that protection into individual, enclosed isolation pods whether they are small individual tent structures (10 ft x 10 ft) that serve as the patient room or that are purpose-built and lined up in a row. One potential alternative to address fire protection in that scenario might be to provide smoke detection or, at a minimum, single-station smoke alarms inside each of those individual spaces to provide some early warnings.

WES3 smoke and heat alarms communicate through a mesh network to alert staff and pinpoint the area where the alarm sounded. This speeds up response time and eliminates confusion from determining where an alarm is sounding.

Scenario 2: Business shut down or slowed down

Many businesses across the country have shut their doors in the midst of this pandemic. Yet the government has deemed businesses like manufacturing, distribution and energy as essential.

While these businesses remain open, they have fewer staff or are working in isolated areas to encourage physical distancing. Since there are less people working closely together, signs of a fire or medical emergency can go unnoticed.

Scenario 3: Construction sites

ontario construction sites

Quebec returned construction projects to its list of essential services after ordering sites shut down in late March. Across the Prairie and Maritime provinces construction sites are working with smaller crews.

Ontario removed industrial and commercial construction from its essential services list. The province has also ramped up construction for projects like hospitals and assessment centres. These are now permitted to operate 24 hours a day.

The risk of working at night:

There are a host of well-documented issues for working overnight, which is summed up in this American Psychological Association article ‘The Risk of Night Work

“Working against a person’s natural sleep cycle causes sleep disorders, as well as fatigue. Fatigue, in turn, worsens moods, decreases cognitive abilities and reflexes, and makes people more vulnerable to disease.”

Fatigue can interfere with a person’s decision making ability and increase risk of making mistakes on a construction site which has flammable materials, accelerants and unfinished electrical work present.

If construction sites must shut down:

If the COVID-19 cases worsen in Canada, there is a real chance that construction sites could shut down.

Construction sites are always susceptible to a host of threats. A site left unattended for days, weeks, or months is a hotbed of danger, loss, and potential lawsuits. Consider the possibility of intruders committing theft, squatting, arson, vandalism, and other crimes.

Choose WES3 as a solution for these temporary issues:

While a smoke alarm bought at your local hardware store is a cheap way to detect fire in temporary structures, there is no way for a third-party to pinpoint the location when calling 9-1-1.

WES3 smoke and heat alarms communicate through a mesh network to alert staff and pinpoint the area where the alarm sounded to speed up response time and eliminate confusion.


WES3 wireless units are set up according to your site’s fire prevention plan. In a few minutes the system is set up and running to protect the sites. You can also number the units for easy identification.

The units connect to form a network so if a fire breaks out any unit can automatically trigger a site-wide alarm. The base station pinpoints the exact location of the trigger unit.

The base station is the WES3 network’s primary control unit. It enables full management and real-time diagnostics for any connected units. You can also pair the system with the REACT app, which notifies relevant staff via text message in case of alarm.

Your staff can also download an accurate log of all system events by USB for timely reporting of on-site issues.

No indication of when these temporary scenarios will end:

Without a crystal ball, there’s no indication of how long these temporary scenarios will continue. So for now this is the new normal.

It’s more important than ever to protect your staff, assets and wider community and not increase demand on first responders. Whether you need protection a temporary structure, a skeleton crew or a construction site that is now running 24 hours a day, WES3 is a good option.

Want to learn more?

Schedule a call today.

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Derek McEwen

Market Segment Manager, Fire Systems and Mining Technology

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