Sprinkler crusader turns up the heat
By JONATHAN JENKINS, QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU

Last Updated: 21st January 2009, 3:27am

Her private members' bill on residential sprinklers may be in legislative limbo, but Liberal MPP Linda Jeffrey says it won't stop her campaigning for the initiative.

"As long as I am in the legislature, this is the only issue I will be bringing forward," the Brampton-Springdale MPP said. "I won't rest until we get them in all homes."

Jeffrey said she was saddened by the deaths of two seniors in a fire at an Orillia retirement home Monday.

Current legislation calls for care homes of four storeys or more to have sprinklers. The Orillia facility was only two storeys.

Jeffrey's bill proposed mandatory sprinkler systems in any new residential building, including homes.

VALUE PROVEN

She said the value of a sprinkler system was proven last August when a fire broke out at a Brampton care home for elderly men with mental health issues.

"One sprinkler had caught the fire and everyone was able to escape, including the cat," Jeffrey said. "Those are the stories I want to hear in the future and I wish that had happened in Orillia."

Jeffrey praised Premier Dalton McGuinty for announcing last June that all new multiple-residence buildings over three storeys would need sprinklers, starting in April 2010, but said she'll have to keep pressing for more. "I have to lobby," she said.

New Democrat MPP Andrea Horwath said every long-term care home needs to have such a safety feature.

"It's really clear the residential care facilities -- all of them -- regardless of when they were built, regardless of the construction, should have sprinkler systems."

She said it's baffling why such a law hasn't been passed, since a coroner's inquest recommended one in 1995.

"It's almost one of those no-brainer kinds of situations."

"Thumbs up" from this guy!