City of Calgary lays Alberta Fire Code charges
The City of Calgary has laid 65 charges for Alberta Fire Code violations against the life safety system provider Premium Fire Protection Ltd. and 10 of the company’s employees. In addition, 15 charges for Alberta Fire Code violations were laid against several large retail outlets that retained the services of Premium Fire Protection Ltd.
These charges follow an intensive seven-month investigation by Calgary Fire Safety Codes Officers. The investigation is ongoing with the possibility of more charges being laid.
The Alberta Fire Code violations are related to installation of the following life safety systems by unqualified and uncertified persons:
- Fire alarm and voice communications systems
- Portable fire extinguishers
- Special fire suppression systems
Life safety systems are the front line of detection and suppression from fire and safety incidents. Companies and people providing life safety system services are responsible to comply with all requirements of the Alberta Fire Code. These systems include (but not limited to) fire alarms, sprinkler systems, special suppression systems and fire extinguishers.
“This is the first time The City of Calgary Fire Department has laid these types of charges under the Alberta Fire Code,” said Paul Frank, Prosecutor for The City of Calgary. “Our goals are compliance and public safety. We want to remind the businesses retaining services that it is their responsibility to verify that life safety system installers and inspectors are qualified and certified.”
The Alberta Fire Code is designed to protect the public, create compliance, and deter businesses from unsafe practices. Companies and people can be fined up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for subsequent offences. Provincial courts determine the amount of the fine.
“Violations of the Alberta Fire Code pose a serious risk to building occupants and responding firefighters,” says Ken Uzeloc, Deputy Chief, Calgary Fire Department. “Although The City’s preferred approach to safety code compliance is education, the seriousness of these violations and the fact that Premium Fire Protection Ltd. operates in Calgary, other areas of Alberta and other provinces, led The City of Calgary Fire Department to lay charges in these cases.”
City business owners who retain the services of life safety system service providers are strongly encouraged to understand their responsibilities related to the Alberta Fire Code and are reminded of the following:
- Owners are responsible to ensure that the service companies they hire to install, maintain and repair their life safety systems are licensed to work within the city of Calgary or the jurisdiction where they operate.
- Persons installing and working on life safety systems must be certified and qualified to work on those specific life safety systems.
- Owners are expected to ask for and verify the proof of certification and qualifications based on the component of the life safety system that is being installed.
At any time, business owners can contact 311 to arrange an appointment with a Calgary Fire Safety Codes Officer who can perform a site visit, and provide guidance on the Alberta Fire Code and how companies can be compliant with the code.