Perth to initiate fire break policy on developments

The Town of Perth will adopt a new fire safe policy aimed at enhancing fire, public, and employee safety during construction projects. Photo credit: Pixabay.
Posted on: June 12, 2024

The Town of Perth is experiencing an increase in development, and because of that, there is also an increased risk of fire. 

“There is the possibility of rapid growth which has not been experienced in the past,” fire Chief Trevor Choffe stated in his report to council on June 4 during a committee meeting. 

“The presence of structures during the construction phase creates unique fire risks that can be mitigated through proper fire safety protocols. he provisions contained in this recommended Firebreak Policy establish key protective measures to limit the spread and intensity of fires in new construction areas particularly with the use of firebreak.”

The new policy is aimed at enhancing fire, public, and employee safety during construction projects. This initiative, driven by town staff, addresses the unique fire risks associated with construction activities, Choffe noted.

Under the new policy, fire protection measures will be mandated as part of every development approval, as determined by the Director of Protective Services/Fire Chief. A key component is the requirement for firebreak lots at construction sites. These lots serve as physical barriers to prevent or delay fire spread, particularly crucial in residential developments and areas with prevalent wood-frame buildings.

The policy also emphasizes the importance of maintaining operational watermains and suitable road conditions. It references the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards 1140 and 1141, which provide guidelines for wildland fire protection and fire protection infrastructure in suburban and rural areas.

This proactive measure aims to ensure safe and efficient development within the town.

Coun. Barry Smith noted: “With all the building we’re going to have it’s an excellent policy to adopt.”

Coun. Gary Waterfield asked if the empty lots would be permanent or just during construction. 

Choff said instead of doing 10 builds in a row, they might do five, leave an empty lot, and do five more; once they’re finished, create the build in the empty lot. 

“It’s more phasing in to prevent a fire from just ripping right through,” Choffe said. 

Coun. Jim Boldt asked when this would be communicated to the developer. 

Joanna Bowes, director of development services, said this new policy would be communicated at the time of negotiations with developers. They would work with developers following the guidelines in the policy. 

Choffe said the intent is to work with the developers so there are no surprises and to be as clear as possible during the process. 

Deputy Mayor Ed McPherson asked if this would affect any current developments.

Bowes said they would revisit current plans on the table to encourage builders to work with them through this new policy. 

Councillors unanimously supported the recommendation by staff to create the new fire break policy.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News