Just Let It Burn

Rules are different in some countries

when it comes to fire safety and building occupancy.

I have a freakishly nerdy love for the OBC (Ontario Building Code) and occasionally find myself anxious to flip through it’s big, chunky chapters in search of a new code.  Ok, fine.  I don’t REALLY read the OBC for fun, but I have always thoroughly enjoyed searching for (and finding) that exact code that outlines the proper procedure and protocol for a project.

You know what?

I am going to flip through my monstrously huge OBC binder RIGHT NOW in search of the rule that the photo below is in dangerous violation of:

In case you aren’t sure what we’re looking at here, allow me to elaborate:

This empty glass box is supposed to house a very important emergency fire hose. But as you can see, there is no hose.

Beside the empty water supply box, we should see a manual pull station that can be activated in the emergency of fire. But as you can see, the fire alarm is flipped open and not yet functional.

The above photo was taken while I was waiting for the elevator on the 23rd floor  of a fairly new condo high rise in Panama City, Panama.  I was visiting a friend who has lived in the building for about a year. The condo interior is gorgeous, and the view is to die for.

It cracks me up (in a that’s-not-even-funny way) that my friend, along with hundreds of other tenants, already live here.  Obviously, the rules are different in Ontario. Before tenants are allowed to occupy a building, the following criteria must be met:

Section 3.2. Building Fire Safety

  • WATER SUPPLY (1): An adequate water supply for fire fighting shall be providing for every building.
  • MANUAL PULL STATIONS (1): …if a fire alarm system is installed, a manual pull station shall be installed (b) near every required exit.

Clearly, we have a failure of epic proportions in this condo. If there were to be a fire, the tenants of this building would be screwed.  They cannot sound an alarm, nor can any fire-fighters (who wouldn’t have been alerted in the first place) come to fight fire with water from the hose. FAIL.

This post is found in the Uglies section (despite the stunning views) because there is nothing funny about playing with fire (even if a pun about fire safety may be slightly funny itself), which makes the condo developers and property owners severely stupid.

Oh, and I should also mention that there aren’t any overhead sprinklers located within the individual dwelling units or in the public egress areas. ANOTHER FAIL (by Ontario’s standards at least).

So annoying.

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  1. Yikes! That is crazy! There is no way I could live there…especially on the 23rd floor! We are lucky over here eh?

  2. I know, I feel the same way! Building Code exists for a reason – it keeps us all safe. I was so surprised to see how careless the builders were (and condo owners who moved in). Obviously priorities are different over there. Thanks for reading and for commenting, Shannon. :)

  3. Whoa – that’s crazy! Do the residents mind not having the fire safety in place or is it just accepted? This post really makes me appreciate having a building code that is followed!

  4. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jacqueline. To be honest, the resident that I was staying with didn’t even NOTICE there was no fire hose. He laughed pretty hard when I pointed it out and then shrugged it off as if to say “I’m not surprised.” Seems like the norm over there, where fire safety is more of a luxury than a standard. Scary indeed! Sometimes it takes a ridiculous experience like this to make me realize how lucky it is where *I* live :)
    Thanks again for reading, means a lot! Happy weekend :)


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