MPP Randy Pettapiece Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown in Kenora to discuss fire safety initiative

(Kenora, ON) – Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece and Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown were in Kenora today to discuss Pettapiece’s new fire safety initiative—truss and lightweight construction identification. They met with Fire Chief Todd Skene from The City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Service, and Fire Chief Darryl Desjardins from the Ear Falls Fire Department.

 

Pettapiece is working on a private member’s bill which would require most commercial and industrial buildings, as well as apartment complexes of three or more units, to display an emblem alerting fire crews to the building’s use of truss and lightweight construction.

“We had a very productive discussion,” said Pettapiece following the meeting. “I appreciate their support and advice as we work to get this bill passed in the legislature.”

“I have long had a great detail of respect for Ontario’s firefighters. They are the ones that put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe,” added Patrick Brown.  “Having met with firefighters from every corner of this province, I know that lots more can be done to keep them safe so that they can continue to keep us safe. MPP Pettapiece’s bill is an important step in this direction. It was great to hear so much support from the Kenora firefighters.”

Truss-and lightweight-type construction is used in almost every new home and in building renovations. The term generally refers to construction using building components that bear the weight of the building with a minimum amount of materials, rather than “overbuilding.”

Tests conducted by the National Research Council Canada show that the times to reach structural failure during a fire for truss and lightweight construction were 35-60% shorter than that for solid wood joist assembly. Structural failure can happen in as little as six minutes.

“Lightweight- and truss-type construction is increasingly commonplace,” Pettapiece explained. “But unless it is identified, it can pose serious risk to responding firefighters. That’s why they need as much information as possible—as soon as they arrive on scene—to assess the risk and plan their attack.”

In 2011, a fire claimed the lives of North Perth Fire Service members Ken Rea and Ray Walter. Pettapiece hopes to help prevent further tragedies by addressing truss and lightweight construction—one of the factors in that accident.

“My bill is named after Ken Rea and Ray Walter, who lost their lives in service to their community,” said Pettapiece. “If passed, this bill will add a measure of safety to responding firefighters. It could very well save lives.”

Pettapiece modeled his bill after the successful bylaw passed in the City of Stratford, which requires buildings using truss and lightweight construction to post an emblem by their door. Municipalities including West Perth, Perth East and Perth South have passed similar bylaws.

Over the summer, Pettapiece has consulted stakeholders across the province on his bill. He plans to formally introduce his bill in the legislature in the fall. Debate on the bill is scheduled for October 20, 2016.