Fire Fighting in Canada

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OAFC vows to continue sprinkler efforts

Oct. 3, 2010, Ajax, Ont.  – The fire chiefs of Ontario acknowledge that a retirement home and its administrator have been convicted of violating the Ontario Fire Code, after the Office of the Fire Marshall’s investigation of a 2009 fatal retirement home fire. The fire at the Muskoka Heights Retirement Home in Orillia resulted in the tragic deaths of four senior citizens and the critical injury of six others.

October 3, 2010
By Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs

The four individuals who perished in this facility join the 40 others who have
died in care occupancy fires since 1980. That is a discouraging statistic. But
we are encouraged by the fact that this is the first time that a facility and
its administrator have been convicted of violating the Ontario Fire Code.

Ontario’s fire chiefs support the justice system in its recognition of
the seriousness of violating the Fire Code, and the tragedies that may ensue.
These convictions send a clear message: failure to comply with the Fire Code is
unacceptable.

Although convictions after the fact are good, prevention is
even better. While investigators and the courts continue to do their job,
Ontario’s fire chiefs and the provincial government need to do ours. That job is
to remind people that prevention saves lives, at the same time as we implement
additional fire prevention measures.

One of these measures is mandating
automatic fire sprinklers in all care occupancies, such as retirement homes.
These facilities are entrusted with the care of our most vulnerable citizens:
our parents, grandparents, and people with special needs. To us, these buildings
are institutions. To their residents, they are home.

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We will continue to
work with the Ontario government to educate the public about fire prevention,
while we look for and introduce improvements that will help keep all of us safer
where we live, work, learn and play.