Long-term care facilities face stricter fire code rules
As investigators try to figure out what happened in a deadly nursing home fire in Quebec, new fire code regulations have come into effect for long-term care homes and other facilities in Ontario.
At the Independence Centre and Network building in Sudbury — home to 24 people with disabilities — the building will need sprinklers in every apartment and on every floor, as a result of changes to the fire code that came into effect Jan. 1.
Executive director Marie Leon said she welcomes the changes, but is worried about paying for them.
"It was something that was on our radar before and I'm hoping, with this change, that the ministry is going to help us offset some of the cost to that,” she said.
Greater Sudbury's chief fire prevention officer Marc Lanthier said there are 60 nursing homes, group homes and other facilities in the city covered by the new law.
He said they are now required to have extra staff training and hold documented fire drills — something many do already.
"All the occupancies we're speaking of conduct monthly fire drills. They've been doing this for a number of years now."
Lanthier said some of the long-term care homes in Sudbury do not have sprinkler systems, and the new law gives them a few years to have them installed.
But time is not the issue for home directors like Leon.
"From what I understand it's going to be a fairly big expense and, being a non-profit organization, that's going to be a fairly big challenge in the next year or so."