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B.C. initiative to fill gaps in sawmill fire code inspections

Nov. 1, 2012 – On Wednesday, the B.C. government announced a new initiative – the fire inspection and prevention initiative (FIPI) – to help fill inspectional and jurisdictional gaps in the fire code, which were revealed through a close examination of the province’s fire inspection process.

November 1, 2012
By Olivia D'Orazio

Nov. 1, 2012 – On Wednesday, the B.C. government announced a new initiative – the fire inspection and prevention initiative (FIPI) – to help fill inspectional and jurisdictional gaps in the fire code, which were revealed through a close examination of the province’s fire inspection process.

While building owners and employees have always been responsible for fire code compliance, the initiative, which was formed in response to the recent tragic explosions at B.C. sawmills, will ask high-risk facility owners to provide documentation of this compliance.

“The Fire Services Act requires that we respond to reports of non-compliance of the Fire Code,” said B.C.’s deputy fire commissioner, Kelly Gilday.

“With the creation of FIPI, there will be better information sharing that will allow us to continue to respond and impose penalties or remedies as necessary.”

The government expects this initiative will improve awareness of employers’ fire safety obligations and education about B.C.’s Fire Code standards.

Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills, said: “We believe that through the better accountability that we will demand from industrial owners and operators, as well as through improved education and awareness, we will be able to save more lives and improve safety at all of our high-risk industrial operations in British Columbia.”

It will also improve co-ordination between WorkSafeBC, the B.C. Safety Authority and the Office of the Fire Commissioner. WorkSafeBC will invest $1 million in funding over two years for FIPI, in order to reduce the risk that fire represents to workers and to improve compliance.

“Now, with the co-ordinated framework we’re implementing and the oversight from FIPI, there are more stringent checks and balances to ensure that inspections are being done,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, “but also when they’re not, that there are sufficient and adequate consequences.”