B.C. seniors' care homes contacted by CBC news say the deadly Quebec fire Thursday is a wake up call and a reminder that seniors are particularly at risk when something goes wrong.
At the Guildford Senior's Village in Surrey, B.C. where they were piping in the haggis, many of the residents say that despite the festivities, the people who perished in the Quebec fire are very much on their mind.
"It's scary, but you know, it's life and it goes on," said resident Gordon McKie. You just hope it doesn't happen to you."
Retirement Concepts, the company that runs this home, and 19 others in B.C. and Quebec, is out to make sure it doesn't happen either. Regional maintenance manager Mike Harnden says there are regular fire drills and a computerized maintenance program is in place to ensure the sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers are at the ready.
"I get daily, weekly and monthly tasks, as well as semi-annually and annually, regarding the entire building, regarding the fire suppression system."
Good time to review plans
Vice president Rowena Rizzotti says the fire in Quebec has many administrators of care homes wondering if enough is being done to keep people safe.
"It will cause everyone to re-look and re-visit where they are in their plans to see if there is an opportunity for improvement and there surely is and this is just a reminder to all of us to continue to do that and how important it is."
She says company staff from across B.C. are getting briefed on new software which will have the effect of taking their emergency plans off the shelf and putting them on their computer screens where they can be practised.
Fire drill coming, up. Rizzotti says staff will have to complete a module to make sure they're prepared.