MEMBER MEETING – May 12, 2021 2:31 – 4:25 PM VIA ZOOM
- Kathleen Nicholas – Sterling Fire
- Tim Lindsay – Cantec Fire
- Lance Caven – Langford Fire Dept.
- Rob Hamilton – Caledonia Fire Protection
- Lisa Smirfitt – Pacific Coast Fire
- Adam Phillips – Complex Fire
- Ed Prior – Prior Engineering
- Steve Landree – Pacific Coast Fire
- Murray Enders – Troy Life Safety
- Ashley Adams – Mazzei Electric
- Terry Lake – BC CFAA
- Tony Godwin – Senez Consulting
- Chris Caddell – Viking Fire
- Gord Miller – Northfort Fire
- Colin Greenhalgh – Western Canada
- Rob Sonier – 4 Seasons
- Brad Sifert – Victoria Fire Prevention
- Mike Staples – Victoria Electrical Dept & Tradeview Electrical Education
- Adoption of Agenda
- Adoption of April 2021 Minutes
- Finance Report
- Old Business
- New Business
- Education Committee – Direction & Qualifications Discussion (Gord Miller)
- CFAA Waitlist for Re-Certification (Chris Caddell)
- 3-Wire Systems & Discontinuation of Batteries – What that means for EVERYONE. (Tim Lindsay)
- Vote for Gord Miller – CFAA President in the 2021 Elections in June
1. OPEN MEETING AND INTRODUCTIONS: Colin
2. ADOPTION OF AGENDA
3. ADOPTION OF april 2021 MINUTES
Chris – Viking 1st. Tim – Cantec 2nd. Unanimous.
4. FINANCIAL REPORT:
$2,154.57 as at April 30th in account.Almost all dues in now. Going to use some of the funds to work on upgrading our website. Reminder that we now have the updated Membership form online which includes the addition of AHJ’s and Lifetime Memberships.
5. OLD BUSINESS
a. City of Victoria Fire Alarm Control Panel Stickers
Brad from Victoria Fire Dept brought this to our Association several months ago. They see value of putting a FACP sticker on the door of the room that contains the panel to make it easier for the fire depts to find the room in an emergency. Tim has created a draft with the lettering and the VIFPA logo.
Tim has now had a bunch printed at Monk Office and gave 900 copies to Brad at Victoria Fire Dept. This file will now be distributed to the Members, who can print it off for themselves. Will be put up on the VIFPA website in the Member Only area, in Word doc format. The logo can be removed or changed to the Member company.
Lance Caven from Langford supports the effort as it makes it easier for their people to find the fire alarm panel.
6. NEW BUSINESS
a) Education Committee
The new Education committee consists of Steve Landree (Chair), Chris Caddell, and Gord Miller. They had a brief meeting and their focus is on getting more education, like CFAA, on the island. They are going to start gathering a list of education that is available. This is to provide a benefit to our members. Because there is no qualification level specified yet, we want to spell out the education that is available. Want to outline all of the different programs that are available in multiple fire protection related industries. This information will be available in the Members’ area on the web site as a useful resource. Not promoting anything yet, but they are hoping to vet some of the programs.
Victoria has outlined “qualified technician” in the Victoria Fire Prevention Bylaw. Brad will flesh this out and VIFPA would like to see the Education Committee involved in helping support that standard of qualifications. Want to create a helpful exchange of information to improve the industry.
Finding a 3rd party provider that is local or even in BC has proven difficult so far, even in reaching out to Camosun. Either we’re going to have to do it online or we’re going to have to create something internal – experienced members to teach for a stipend based on a syllabus created by the Education Committee. Camosun has turned down CFAA and VIFPA unless they can prove the business model for providing the program.
While there is lots online, there should be a hands-on component as well. There is a vacuum, and we will have to fill it ourselves, with input by the AHJ’s and direction from the Education Committee. Other municipalities are starting to create an approval process to vet those who can practice.
It will be important to make sure that we are covered legally and minimizing the liability of the organization if we are providing education. New legislation for professional associations that self-govern. If VIFPA wishes to proceed with certification of its people, it must adhere to this legislation.
See Professional Governance Act – https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/18047
More about Professional Governance –
If we are “approving” folks, we need to comply with this Act. Not sure if we really want to start from scratch or take on this level of oversight. We don’t want the gathering of education to be unattainable. We’re not looking for deadlines and restrictions right now, just a slowly rising level of training.
You can, as a non-member, take CFAA online continuing ed courses for a slightly higher cost: $250 vs. $175 for members. CFAA now has Course 1 available at BCIT and most of the attendees are not from the Lower Mainland.
b) CFAA Waitlist for Re-Certification
Explanation of multiple problems experienced with trying to recertify, despite the challenges of Covid. CFAA has gone through some major upheavals and they are rectifying the problems, especially now that they have a new Education person coming on board and they are hiring new invigilators. There is a desire to see more Westerners involved on the Board of the CFAA.
Adam has almost finished setting up a full CFAA program and hands on examination set in place within the next month. Committee would like to discuss this more with Adam.
We’ll hold off and wait to hear more from the Education Committee going forward. They’re still working on getting an Educator who is available in Ontario. Going to a new round of advertising.
c) 3-Wire Systems & Discontinuation of Batteries
Back in 2018, the Hotshot batteries were discontinued and Cantec led the way in testing Rayovac 218 batteries and having them approved as replacements for 3-wire systems, such as PacPro panels.
Cantec recently got notification that the 918 batteries as now also being discontinued, so they’re back at the drawing board. A number of AHJ’s are not happy with these 3-Wires, which are essentially evacuation systems, not fire alarm systems.
The problem is that the 12V Rayovac has fewer amp/hours than the 6V. Having an unreliable system is worse than having no system at all.
Brad has discussed this with the Fire Commissioner’s office and they are not interested in dealing with this issue. They believe that as long as the system is still operating as intended, then it doesn’t need to be changed.
Haida Prochet is coming over from North Vancouver to Esquimalt and she was involved in the pre-1992 upgrade project on the mainland. She’s looking forward to joining us.
If Saanich and Oak Bay managed to get rid of these systems, what’s stopping Victoria? If these systems fail, it’s not a quick change out of panel. They have to be properly upgraded, which means fire watch and major cost.
The AHJ’s must be on board with this. There needs to be an equivalency that allows partial upgrade. In North Vancouver, they created a bylaw and ordered complete upgrades.
Engineers must provide engineering for a compliant system, whether the building is compliant or not. These systems were really tackled in Toronto and North Van after fires that caused deaths. Often ancillary device issues also have to be addressed by new systems as well. Integrated System Testing is Code in BC and covers all of these issues. However, you can’t really move forward without inspecting and understanding what the sequence of operation is for the building as it stands.
Victoria Fire Dept has a deputy that isn’t really interested, and the Fire Commissioner doesn’t back upgrades. There are too many buildings that have 3-wire and PacPro systems that provide no detection. Without some form of enforcement, we’re at a loss. But if we try to push clients to make the change, they will simply move on to a different service provider. There needs to be a coordinated response amongst service providers and the AHJ’s to no long inspect or accept these systems.
You have to look at when the building was built and examine the Code that was in place at that time. Many are tired of carrying the liability and are tired of producing reports for them each year. If the city decides to no longer accept these systems, it’s a gold rush for us. How do you overcome that perception?
What about the use of batteries and adding a charging unit? Depends on whether it had a charging unit, but this is massive liability. Kat shared the “Franken-panel”. There is often a way to find a temporary measure to put in place until the system can be upgraded.
Lance acknowledges that these can be challenging systems. He would look at triaging these systems and working with Owners to move towards upgrade. His Chief came from fire prevention, so he’s on board with helping to fix problems.
If a member company sees that a panel has been condemned by another member company, then other companies should acknowledge that it was failed for a reason. In the end, Tim wants everyone to be on board with pushing clients to get their systems upgraded.
This brings out a larger discussion about discontinued systems, parts no longer available, and manufacturer shopping. The client may be contacting multiple companies trying to get a cheaper fix. Time to tell people that they should be upgrading.
And what kind of liability are we carrying by maintaining these systems. What about involving our insurers to have them understand the failures of these systems and have them write a letter saying that these systems are no longer allowed to be worked on. Amazing that insurance industry hasn’t driven this more.
We can use an S536 report with everything marked NO. Be sure to include recommendations to upgrade and explain its failings. The only way that this problem is going to change is if everyone stops testing them or someone dies. Anyone who still tests them should be looked at harder by the AHJ’s.
ACTION: Create a team to work with Brad to present a plan for retirement of these systems to the Fire Dept and City Managers. Tim is on it.
d) Vote for Gord Miller – CFAA President in the 2021 Elections in June
Very few folks from farther west than Saskatchewan. Gord is running with Chris Caddell’s backing. VOTE GORD on June 22nd. Be sure to register to vote on the CFAA website. $300 for participating membership. https://legacy.cfaa.ca/CorporateMembership.aspx
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 2:30 PM via ZOOM
CLOSING: 4:25 PM