By Korie Marshall

The Village of Valemount announced their newly designated Fire Inspector last week.

The announcement follows a devastating fire in a seniors home in Quebec, leaving 32 residents presumed dead, and prompting inquiries into the safety of senior’s homes across the country.

“Fires in public buildings are frightening and devastating events, as we have recently seen in the tragic fire in the senior’s home in L’Isle-Verte, Quebec on Thursday, January 23, 2014,” says a press release from the Village. “Reducing the likelihood of such events in Valemount will be Dean Schneider, the Village’s recently designated Fire Inspector.”

The Village says Schneider will be scheduling fire inspections of all buildings open to the public, including hotels, restaurants, businesses, schools, churches and other institutions throughout 2014. There is no fee for an inspection, but it is a requirement of the Fire Commissioner and of the Province, and an annual inspection is often a requirement for insurance or licensing for businesses and organizations.

Schneider has been with the Village as Building Inspector since May 2013, and has recently finished his fire inspection training with the National Fire Protection Association. Steve Barnes, the Village’s previous building inspector, had nearly completed his training but did not renew his contract with the Village.

Schneider says an inspection covers all aspects of building safety, from lighting, marked and operable exits and tests on fire suppression systems to safe storage of hazardous chemicals and visible street addresses. He can make recommendations to follow up on the next inspection, but if an issue is serious enough he can issue warnings and arrange re-inspections. If an issue is serious and the property owner does not comply, it can be referred to the provincial Fire Commissioner’s office for enforcement through provincial safety legislation, such as the BC Fire Code.

Rick Lalonde, Valemount’s Fire Chief says he is confident Schneider will fulfill the role with skill and proficiency, ensuring inspections are done on a timely basis.

The Village says a fire inspection is valuable to a building owner because it increases employee and customer safety, reduces liability, and increases the confidence of residents and visitors using public buildings in the area. “Increased safety is invaluable and benefits us all.”