President of Premium Fire Protection Enters Guilty Pleas in Fire Code Violations
On June 23, 2021, the president of Premium Fire Protection Ltd. pleaded guilty to four counts under the Safety Codes Act, after an investigation and prosecution by The City of Calgary related to Fire Code violations.
The prosecution, which included a June 11 decision against Premium for 15 violations of the Fire Code, has now resulted in individual convictions. The decision underlines that businesses and their contractors have a responsibility to meet the requirements of the Fire Code.
“Mr. Kurt Bertrand pleaded guilty to four counts under the Safety Codes Act for being a contractor and for failing to ensure that employees of Premium Fire Protection Ltd. were certified and qualified to perform work on life safety equipment in Calgary, Alberta,” said City prosecutor Leane Lifely.
Originally, two dozen charges were laid against Bertrand related to operations at Premium; the guilty plea settles the prosecution without an expected five-day trial.
“We are very happy with the guilty pleas submitted in this matter,” said Deputy Chief Ken Uzeloc of the Calgary Fire Department. “This further reinforces the accountability on companies, owners and employees to operate in compliance with Fire Code requirements. The Calgary Fire Department takes our responsibility in keeping citizens safe very seriously and will continue to ensure compliance of Fire Codes from all sectors.”
Charges were originally laid against Premium in July 29, 2019, related to the installation of life safety systems at businesses around Calgary that had contracted Premium’s services.
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 for complying with all requirements of the Fire Code. These systems include fire alarms, sprinkler systems, special suppression systems and fire extinguishers.
The City prosecution of Premium Fire Protection Ltd. and its president underlines several important points for Alberta business owners:
- Businesses retaining fire safety services have a responsibility to verify that life safety systems and those working on them are qualified and certified.
- Completed work must be documented, pursuant to the Safety Codes Act. It is important for contractors to provide documentation to businesses regarding required work on life safety systems – and for businesses to obtain documentation if it has not been provided.
- Both businesses and contractors must be prepared to show documentation in the event of a Fire Code inspection.
It is expected that penalties as a result of these convictions will be determined by the Court on July 29, 2021.
Under the Safety Codes Act, a fine amount for a first offence can be up to $100,000 and up to a maximum of $500,000 for subsequent offences and/or imprisonment.
To learn more about life safety systems, please visit calgary.ca/fire