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Council approves fewer fire inspections

The Penticton city council unanimously approved fewer fire inspections in the city at Monday's meeting.

The decision was reached following a presentation by Fire Chief Wayne Williams, where he suggested adjusting inspection frquencies to focus on high risk buildings.

"The fire chief recommended that the original fire inspection schedule was unachievable," said Mayor Garry Litke.  "So he reduced the number of inspections so it becomes more realistic, while ensuring safety."

According to the staff report, the inspection frequencies of the Penticton Fire Department have not been reviewed for a number of years, with the current policy being developed at a time when the Office of the Fire Commissioner was involved in  recommending the frequencies across the province.

However, over the past two years, the department has only been able to achieve approximately 50 per cent of the inspections per the existing policy. The main reason being it does not have the capacity to undertake all the required inspections using the current system of two inspectors.

The adjustment of the policy will allow the department to focus on high risk buildings such as restaurants, industrial workshops, care homes and day cares, while reducing the inspections on lower risk properties. 

For example, the current number of inspections per year for theatres are six per year, which would go down to one per year. The same would be true for churches and halls.

Night clubs, schools, large day cares and restaurants will go from six visits a year to two.

The fire chief will monitor the program to ensure the inspections take place. An annual review will be completed and the program adjusted as required.

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