Fewer fire inspections of some Red Deer businesses proposed

Most blazes occur in people’s homes, says deputy fire chief

“Low-risk” commercial buildings in Red Deer could get fewer fire inspections, if proposed changes are adopted by Red Deer City council.

Reducing the frequency of commercial fire inspections from every year to every second year was proposed in an updated Red Deer Quality Management Plan, presented Monday to council.

Deputy fire chief Bart Rowland told councillors an decade of fire data shows that 80 per cent of blazes his department responds to happen at private residences, and only 20 per cent occur at commercial properties.

Yet, local fire inspectors spend 80 per cent of their time inspecting commercial buildings.

By reducing fire inspections at low-risk businesses, Rowland said more time could be allotted to enhancing fire safety education programs that are aimed homeowners.

But Coun. Dianne Wyntjes questioned whether the low incidents of commercial fires could be the result “keeping folks on their toes” with the annual inspections.

Rowland responded that a higher inspections have not not been shown to reduce the frequency of fires. He believes doing more to help educate people about hazards in the home would produce better results.

The Quality Management Plan, which also proposes that the city take over over petroleum tank inspections, which are currently contracted to external agencies, will be discussed further by council later this month.


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