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#1 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 08:15 AM

I don't want to take the Skirt Mtn. thread away off topic again, but I thought I'd ask a question here abour fire depts.

I understand that the Langford department is volunteer, yet they take care of a much larger area and more residents than Oak Bay.

Is there a point where someone (who?) decides you must have a full-time department? And what about the case of a newer area, most of Langford has been built over the last 15 years, and therefore is built to better fire standards than most of Oak Bay. So can a newer community expect less fire, or less severe fires to deal with?

#2 Holden West

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 08:21 AM

I think improved building codes have a profound effect on fires although I don't think new houses have sprinklers like condos do.

I'm glad you did this so I could reply to this:

In Langford for example, you build up 30 stories, who is going to pay to have the Langford Fire Department staffed 24/7 with 80 career firefighters? Langford only has one aerial ladder device, so who is going to buy another 2?


As VHF pointed out, they don't use aerial trucks for highrise fires. This is a scare tactic we've heard before from the anti-highrise crowd. The firefighters don't care much one way or another, it's just different techniques for different situations.
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#3 davek

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:49 AM

I think improved building codes have a profound effect on fires although I don't think new houses have sprinklers like condos do.


The only time I've seen new houses required to have sprinklers is when they have to apply for a variance to accommodate a particularly steep driveway, or because they are too far from a fire hydrant.

The building code also mandates a more restrictive building standard when a fire department is more than a prescribed amount of time away, although it doesn't apply to one- or two-family dwellings. This creates pressure to create a fire department, but not necessarily a paid force.

I wonder if house insurance has the same sort of effect? That is, if you are a certain distance away from a department, your rates are higher.

And there is an interesting article on fire fighting provision here.

#4 piltdownman

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:11 AM

I would imagine that setbacks would also be a big factor in the requirements of a fire department. The greater the distance from the next building the less the chance that the fire will spread. So the larger your setbacks and lower the density the smaller the scale of average fire event. So in a dense downtown core you need a large full time fire department to prevent a small fire spreading into a disaster, where as in a region with single family homes chances are in a fire only a single residence will burn down.

I know on the street where my parents live in the big city there is a new five home development that received a variance on the setbacks by using a fire resistant construction materials.

#5 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:19 AM

And there is an interesting article on fire fighting provision here.


Yes, that's good. I can't speak to the theory that they get votes from union members in the fire departments, but it sure does seem silly that fires are down 40% but fire departments are up 20% in staffing.

And it does seem silly that fire trucks go to all these medical calls. In the months before my father died, my parents had occasion to call an ambulance to the home a few times. Sure enough along would come the fire truck too.

#6 davek

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:31 AM

Yes, that's good. I can't speak to the theory that they get votes from union members in the fire departments, but it sure does seem silly that fires are down 40% but fire departments are up 20% in staffing.


And not just union members. I spoke recently with a builder who is an influential citizen in the Western Communities, and he spoke to me of having previously advised a candidate for municipal council to make sure the fire department was assured they would be looked after, thereby assuring the support not only of the paid members, but also the volunteers and their families. The candidate did so, and has been in office ever since. Another example of government soiling almost everything it touches...

#7 sebberry

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 01:24 PM

I wonder if house insurance has the same sort of effect? That is, if you are a certain distance away from a department, your rates are higher.


I know my condo policy has hydrant/fire hall within xxxM/xxxKM listed on it.

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#8 LJ

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 07:39 PM

I think improved building codes have a profound effect on fires although I don't think new houses have sprinklers like condos do.

.


We have been through this before haven't we? The building code was changed in 2007 to require all new SFH to be sprinklered.
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#9 Baro

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:32 PM

What?? I've been involved in some house design and construction and never heard of a sprinklered house before. What am I missing?
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#10 Holden West

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:57 PM

Carolyn Heiman (oh, how we miss her) in the Times Colonist, 2008:

[T]he salary for the [fire chiefs of the four core municipalities is] $443,014. That's more than the salary of the New York City's fire commissioner. The fire chief of Saskatoon -- that has roughly the same population as the four municipalities -- is $155,000.


It should be noted NYC's fire commissioner watches over 16,000 employees, including over 10,000 firefighters and 2,700 paramedics.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#11 cam

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:15 AM

I think improved building codes have a profound effect on fires although I don't think new houses have sprinklers like condos do.

I'm glad you did this so I could reply to this:



As VHF pointed out, they don't use aerial trucks for highrise fires. This is a scare tactic we've heard before from the anti-highrise crowd. The firefighters don't care much one way or another, it's just different techniques for different situations.


You would be incorrect. Aerial trucks are used in highrise fires and emergencies. As are MULTIPLE other rescue and engine companies.

As I stated in a PM to VicHockeyFan, the need for aerial devices, and career firefighters is in regards to insurance ratings.

The Fire Underwriters set the insurance rates in our communities. The more equipment and more career firefighters, the lower the insurance rates.

Single family homes do not require sprinkler systems, that is a bylaw introduced by municipalities.

The reason staffing has increased for Fire Departments while actual structural fires have decreased, is because of the job description.




Fire Departments now cover many things, including:
  • Emergency Operations Centres for disasters
  • Vehicle rescue, and environmental mitigation (fluid leaks from the vehicles)
  • trench rescue, high angle rescue, low angle rescue
  • Medical emergencies - commonly only medical C, D, and E - all considered life threatening if not responded to immediately
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Inspections - every licensed business must be inspected at certain intervals, every gathering place (school, theatre, arena, etc) must be inspected even more often
  • Public education - fire extinguisher training, cpr training, emergency planning training, smoke detector installation, school aged emergency preparedness, etc., etc.
  • And of course Fires...
  • Which are more dangerous today, than they were 25 years ago. Due to higher density, and cheaper building materials
In regards to Langford being Volunteer - They currently have only a handful of Career members - including their Chiefs, Training Officer, Inspectors, and dispatch staff (which dispatch for greater Victoria and gulf islands minus Victoria, and the Peninsula municipalities). Langford will continue to be a volunteer based fire department until their volunteers are no longer able to handle the workload.

I can't speak to how difficult it is for Langford to provide their service, but I can guarantee they are having difficulties with recruitment and retention of volunteers, like every other volunteer Fire Department in Canada.

As for Fire Departments responding to medical emergencies - the dispatch is tiered. Ambulance is called, and if it falls into the category the Fire Department is called. Fire Departments are better situated to respond to emergencies, and can arrive sooner to begin providing life saving measures. Fire Departments do not have control over responding to calls that happen to be closer to the ambulance station, and thus the ambulance arrives sooner. The question you need to ask is, if you are hurt, or injured, would you rather the firefighters arrive and start treatment, or would you rather wait 10 minutes for the ambulance?

And not just union members. I spoke recently with a builder who is an influential citizen in the Western Communities, and he spoke to me of having previously advised a candidate for municipal council to make sure the fire department was assured they would be looked after, thereby assuring the support not only of the paid members, but also the volunteers and their families. The candidate did so, and has been in office ever since. Another example of government soiling almost everything it touches...

A very poor example. Volunteer Fire Departments should be a top priority for any municipality. They should be properly funded and supported. If not, the TAXPAYER can pay to have a full career fire department. I guarantee that whatever the council member promotes to support the Fire Department is a fraction of the cost of a career fire department. You as a taxpayer should be thankful that they've chosen to "take care of the fire department", instead of neglecting or underfunding which would undoubltabley end the volunteering and raise taxes by about 50-75%

#12 Sparky

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:38 AM

We have been through this before haven't we? The building code was changed in 2007 to require all new SFH to be sprinklered.


LJ Help me out here. I am building a new house at the present, and I am not installing sprinklers. Can you point me to the building code requirement that you are refering to. My most current BC Building Code book is 2006. I must be missing something. Cam notes above that there may be municipal bylaws that require sprinklers in single family homes, but I doubt that is the case.

#13 Holden West

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:44 AM

I can't recall any new houses with sprinklers.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#14 Sparky

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:46 AM

I can't recall any new houses with sprinklers.


I agree. This topic puzzels me, and I am in the fire alarm business.

#15 victorian fan

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:47 AM

Make sprinklers mandatory in new homes: Fire chiefs
By Gwendolyn Richards, Calgary Herald
March 24, 2010


Read more: http://www.timescolo...l#ixzz0jCwAj3hn

#16 cam

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:40 AM

LJ Help me out here. I am building a new house at the present, and I am not installing sprinklers. Can you point me to the building code requirement that you are refering to. My most current BC Building Code book is 2006. I must be missing something. Cam notes above that there may be municipal bylaws that require sprinklers in single family homes, but I doubt that is the case.


From the City of Vancouver Fire Department website:

http://vancouver.ca/.../sprinkler.html

The following statistical information was provided by T.R. Timm,City Building Inspector
In April, 1990 the City of Vancouver passed a by-law requiring all new residential construction in the City to be built with fire sprinklers installed. In the fifteen (15) years prior to this by-law being passed, it was estimated that approx.18,000 residential dwelling units had already been sprinklered. This figure includes almost 9,000 high risk residential occupancies in the downtown core that were sprinklered under retroactive fire by-law legislation passed in 1973. Upgrades of existing residential buildings have not been counted since 1990.
In the past nine years, over 10,000 new one and two family dwelling units (approx. 9% of the current stock) have been constructed with fire sprinklers installed. In the same time period, over 31,500 residential units in multi-family residential buildings (approx. 24% of the current stock) have been built. It is currently estimated that over 59,500 dwelling units (approx. 26% of the City's residential stock) are sprinklered, including over 38% of all multi-residential units.
Mandatory sprinklerization in all new construction has already significantly reduced the City of Vancouver's annual fire casualties statistics as compared to previous years or other cities in North America that do not have similar legislation in place. This trend is expected to continue as the number of sprinklered dwellings in the City's housing stock continues to increase.

Smoke Alarms and Fire Sprinklers..........DON'T STAY HOME WITHOUT THEM!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Again, each municipality can implement a bylaw requiring sprinkler systems. The building code does not currently require sprinkler systems.



#17 sebberry

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:46 AM

I like the idea of sprinklers in homes. I wish I had them in my building.

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#18 davek

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 10:43 AM

There is no requirement in the current edition of the 2006 BCBC for all new SFDs to be sprinklered. At least none that my fellow building inspectors know of.

#19 Bingo

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 11:24 AM

I like the idea of sprinklers in homes. I wish I had them in my building.


You can always move into a leaky condo.

#20 LJ

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 07:44 PM

LJ Help me out here. I am building a new house at the present, and I am not installing sprinklers. Can you point me to the building code requirement that you are refering to. My most current BC Building Code book is 2006. I must be missing something. Cam notes above that there may be municipal bylaws that require sprinklers in single family homes, but I doubt that is the case.


The topic was the Langford fire dept., in Langford all new SFH since 2007 have required sprinklers. The cost was about 10k for my house.
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