Monday, July 22, 2019

High rise fire safety measures in place to protect Winnipeggers

The union representing fire fighters in Winnipeg said buildings here don’t have the same problems as the Grenfell Tower in London, but there are issues in the city.

A fire on June 14 at the tower killed at least 79 people.

President Alex Forrest said over the past 10 years there’s been too much plastic used in modern construction.

“We believe buildings have been built more dangerous than they have in the past,” he said in an interview with CTV Winnipeg Saturday.

“Now we have particle boards. We have glues, so there’s plastics that are involved, buildings are much more flammable.”

Jed Cox with River City Home Inspection said an inspection can help identify fire safety features but doesn’t cover everything.

“We are limited by the wall covering, by the building itself, the materials are hidden to us. Our main concerns is looking at the visible stuff that’s out in the open. Is there a smoke alarm, is it working, is there a sprinkler, is there proper signage?,” said Cox.

Several safety measures are already in place to protect Winnipeggers in high rises.

The City of Winnipeg said high rises are built with fire resistant materials to control spread and smoke, and how materials react to fire is scrutinized.

Safety features are incorporated into design, and generally the larger and taller the building, the more safety features there are.

In the event of a high rise fire, the city said the fire is automatically upgraded to a higher priority to make sure there are enough people to fight the fire and evacuate the building.

The city also said high rises are equipped with monitored fire alarm systems and pumps to ensure an adequate supply of water and pressure on every floor, and have sophisticated air control features to keep smoke from entering stairwells.

The Professional Property Managers Association represents the owners and managers of about 75,000 rental units in Manitoba.

Keep reading on CTV News

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