Some Manitoba hospitals have no fire sprinkler systems
Some of Manitoba's hospitals do not have sprinkler systems installed, worrying local firefighters.
It's currently not mandatory in Manitoba for hospitals to have sprinkler systems, although the provincial government says its building standards committee has been asked to re-examine the issue.
George Chyzy, the fire chief in Arborg, Man., says he's concerned that the community's hospital does not have a sprinkler system.
"Sprinklers definitely save lives. It's been a proven fact in other provinces," Chyzy said, adding that buildings with sprinklers do not burn to the ground.
"You take the city of Vancouver, for example. They made it mandatory in all residential houses, and their fire deaths went down dramatically … and their property loss went down dramatically."
The fire department in Selkirk, Man., says there are no sprinklers inside that city's hospital, other than inside the incinerator room.
"If the fire gets from one spot and gets into the main part of the building, there's only so many resources that you have," said Dan Thorsteinson, Selkirk's fire chief.
"So it makes it harder and harder for you to be able to put the fire out because it's growing faster than you can get at it."
Some care homes have no sprinklers
Earlier this week, CBC News reported that dozens of personal care homes throughout the province do not have sprinkler systems.
Of the 39 care homes in the province that have no sprinkler coverage, 35 of them are outside urban areas.
Fire sprinklers are mandatory in personal care home and hospitals in six provinces, but Manitoba isn't one of them.
Since 1998, Manitoba's building code has required all newly built or extensively renovated personal care homes to include full sprinkler systems.
However, the government does not require older facilities to be retrofitted to meet the same standards.
The issue of retrofitting older personal care homes and hospitals with sprinklers is an issue that Manitoba firefighters have been demanding action on for years.
Both Chyzy and Thorsteinson said they hope renewed calls for change will lead to government action.
"It's going to have to take the political will and pressure to try and get that implemented," said Thorsteinson.
One private long-term care provider, Extendicare, changed its policy in 2006 to ensure all of its facilities have sprinklers.
The Association of Canadian Fire Chiefs wants governments to go even further with legislation — it's calling for sprinklers to be installed in all new homes and businesses, too.