Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday July 7 2015
4:56 AM EDT
2014-01-26 at 17:27

Nightmare scenario

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue chief John Hay.
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Thunder Bay Fire Rescue chief John Hay.
By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

A severe fire in a retirement home is a scary notion for the city’s fire chief.

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue chief John Hay said mobility issues for residents has the potential to create a disastrous situation, especially if reaction time is delayed.

“It’s very challenging to move people who can’t move themselves,” Hay said on Friday.

“In the city of Thunder Bay we require fire safety plans for those types of occupancies and within those fire safety plans is an evacuation plan and the best chance of saving lives is having people evacuated before the fire department gets there.”

As of Sunday, 10 people have been confirmed dead with another 22 believed to have died following the devastating Jan. 23 blaze that destroyed a seniors’ residence in L’Isle-Verte, Que.

According to a Quebec Department of Health document, the residence only had a partial sprinkler system.

Media reports detail that two-thirds of the building was rendered inaccessible by the fire, with crews only able to get to the remaining portion.

Ontario has seen at least four fatal fires in seniors’ apartments or retirement homes within the last five years, which prompted a coroner’s inquest.

That inquest resulted in 39 recommendations related to safety measures to be taken in retirement homes and assisted living facilities, mostly centring around sprinkler systems.

A provincial law passed at the start of the year dictates immediate deadlines for fire safety planning and safety regulations for new buildings, as well as compliance dates for retrofitting existing buildings.

One of those compliance dates states that a sprinkler system must be installed by 2025.

Hay said while sprinklers likely won’t douse a severe fire, they can provide a vital lifeline and extend the amount of time for people to evacuate a burning building.

“Sprinklers are a great tool for lengthening the amount of time from being alerted to a fire alarm or smoke detector and getting out,” he said. “The ability to get out can be lengthened with sprinklers and the property lost can be lessened with sprinklers.”

Each facility has to produce a fire safety plan to be approved by the fire department as well as an annual fire drill conducted at or replicating the lowest staffing level.

Hay also said his department is working with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to address overcrowding issues and ensure compliance with the fire code.

(With files from The Canadian Press)

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We've improved our comment system.
Jon Powers says:
Just yet another example of "Harpers' Health Care".

I guess the "Min Standard" were the same as was on the RMS Titanic.

Just 3 Night Staff to evacuate 50 Patients and put the fire out before Fire gets to the seen.

Things have got to change!

The families who have lost loved ones should be the last in the country to go threw this.

No More! No More! No More!

Great Story!
1/27/2014 12:59:08 PM
pc says:
Health care is the provincial jurisdiction. Also I worked in a nursing home years ago and the Libs. were in power. We had one person on the 2nd floor and 1 person on the ground floor on night shifts. There were 50 patients on each floor and almost all were bedridden.
So tell me how was this the Harper gov. fault?
It was a tragedy plain and simple and it should be a wake up call for everyone.
2025 us a long way off so maybe it should be forwarded a bit.
For families looking at these homes maybe the first question they ask is what are the fire prevention policies not, what are the meals like or how friendly are the staff to patients. You can live with lousy food and unfriendly staff but you cannot live in a fire.
But let's quit the blame game and work together to fix the problems. After all you may be in one of these homes someday.
1/27/2014 7:45:49 PM
moi says:
Smoking kills.
1/27/2014 6:37:38 AM
unknowncronik says:
ya mean "smoke kills"
1/27/2014 11:19:11 AM
Gord says:
you know who it might be scarier for?? The tenants of the home that are dead.. just sayin'
1/26/2014 9:07:25 PM
Back-in-the-bay says:
I see what your comment was going for, but was it called for. Fire and rescue merely confirms how horrible that situation would be for everyone. I don't see how you could've taken it the way you did, unless to simply be antagonistic for no reason.
1/27/2014 7:24:35 AM
Gord says:
Sorry Mom - Next time I will be sure to check with you before I express a thought
1/27/2014 11:46:37 AM
Tannoy says:
Not scary for them at all, because they're dead.
1/27/2014 8:56:13 AM
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