Law would improve firefighter safety

October 16, 2018
Written by
Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece has re-introduced the Rea and Walter Act (Truss and Lightweight Construction Identification) at Queen’s Park in an effort to improve firefighter safety.

The Act, known as Bill 33, will require commercial and industrial buildings, as well as certain multi-family dwellings using truss and lightweight construction (TLC), to be marked by an identification emblem.

Buildings containing TLC will be required to post 1 of 3 emblems:
  • “F” decals if only the floor of the building uses TLC.
  • “R” decals if only the roof of the building uses TLC.
  • “FR” decals if both the floor and the roof of the building use TLC.
The Act is in honour of two North Perth fire service members. Ken Rea and Ray Walter died in 2011 when the roof of a store constructed with TLC collapsed while fighting a fire.

“Firefighters need to know which buildings contain truss and lightweight construction,” Pettapiece said. “When a fire breaks out they need to know how to attack it safely.”

The Rea and Walter Act was wiped off the legislative agenda when the previous Liberal government prorogued the legislature in March 2018.

Pettapiece noted that a fire at Tim Horton’s in Arthur, Ont., on July 21 demonstrated once again the need for truss and lightweight construction identification.

In response to the incident Wellington North Fire Service Chief Dave Guilbault said, “We were not aware that the roof trusses were lightweight. There was no way of knowing. There could have been serious injuries or loss of life.”

Pettapiece said the Rea and Walter Act will restore trust and accountability between fire departments, municipalities and small business owners.

“I am hopeful this bill will again receive all-party support,” he said after tabling it in the Legislature. “I am looking forward to working with all of my colleagues and stakeholder groups across the province. It is the minimum standard our firefighters should expect.”

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