Fire Safety Review of Residential Care Facilities Released

The Ministry of Health has released the final report into the fire safety of residential care facilities in British Columbia. The report includes a nine point action plan that included the following measures: establishment of appropriate fire safety plans; installing or repairing fire-rated doors; providing additional smoke detectors and visual alarms; replacing outdated or aging fire safety equipment; and reviewing night staffing levels in residential care.

The report (Fire Safety Assessment Report for Licensed Residential Care Facilities and Registered Assisted Living Residences) looked at the 359 residential long-term care facilities and 209 registered seniors assisted living residences in British Columbia.  The review found that twelve long-term care facilities had partial sprinklers and nine had no sprinkler systems.  Furthermore, that five registered seniors assisted living residences were operating without full sprinkler systems.  Overall, the review indicated that less than six percent of the long-term care facilities and assisted living residences in BC had partial or no sprinkler systems.

The report was undertaken following a tragic fire at a senior’s residence in Quebec in January 2014 where thirty-two people were killed and fifteen others were injured to determine the potential risks in BC.  The review pointed out that the BC Building Code has required sprinklers in residential care homes since 1998.  The assessment suggested that while there were some fire safety risks related to residential care facilities there were not any major concerns.

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