Firefighters putting out a home on fire with a large water hoseRecently, a nursing home located a small distance away from Quebec, burnt, trapping many elderly residents inside the flames. The news is reporting that there are currently fifteen people who are unaccounted for, and believed to be dead. Though, there will be no official word until the remains are found. Our condolences and thoughts are with those who were a part of this. With this being said, it also brings to mind several aspects that need to be addressed by all nursing homes in Canada and the US.

Planning Issues

One of the leading problems with this current nursing home fire was the fact that the building had multiple levels, yet these residents were most disabled and slower to get around. Is is wise to have multiple level buildings for residents who will not be able to use the fire escapes or stairs to get away from the fire? This seems to be a huge problem that could have been prevented.

Another issue that seems to be due to poor planning is the lack of sprinklers that were not in the building. Sprinklers would have activated at the first sign of smoke, though there still may have been a fire, the size of the fire could have been contained better. According to most posts about the incident, this was an older building that had yet to be modernized. Due to this planning, fifteen seniors are still unaccounted for and presumed dead.

Unstoppable Forces

Though the planning may to be blame for the intensity and the deaths of people, there were some forces that were simply unstoppable. According to weather reports in the area, during the fire winds were up to 45 mph, not allowing fire crews to lift ladders or get close to get into the building upper floors via the ladders. In addition, with wind gusts so high, this fed the fire to make it burn even longer.

Fire overtaking a nursing home in Quebec CanadaCurrently, fire crews are trying to find remains of those that they believe are still inside, yet with the cold temperatures, the snow and the wind, crews are trying to deal with two feet of ice on the building to get through. This is another aspect that simply could not be prevented. It was in reality, the perfect time for a fire to get out of control.

With this being said, though conditions were helping the fire to spread, it does seem that poor planning should play a huge part in why so many people did not make it out. For other nursing homes, this incident should be used as a story of what you want to avoid. And it should be viewed as a learning experience. Make sure that residents know what to do in the case of a fire, ensure that sprinklers are installed in the building to help with fire control, and also ensure that those who are considered disabled are not located on the top floors of multi-floor buildings. This was a sad incident that needs to teach everyone a lesson in fire prevention.