Oak Bay fire confident in local, regional ammonia response

CRD Hazmat recently trained in ammonia leak response at Panorama Recreation Centre

Oak Bay Recreation Centre has an ammonia plant but residents can be assured local teams are well versed in how to handle it, says Oak Bay Fire Department.

Three people died yesterday after an ammonia leak in Fernie, B.C. A press conference was held this morning after two employees and a contractor died.

The plant at the local recreation centre features a total ammonia detection system as mandated by WorkSafeBC says Rob Kivell, fire prevention officer for the Oak Bay department.

The system alerts with both light and siren while kicking off a ventilation system should it detect a leak.

“It’s a monitored system,” Kivell said. “In smaller communities where they may not have the staff or protection equipment required you’re going to run into a higher risk. We have a fully trained staff that works 24-hours a day.”

Both municipal maintenance staff and firefighters are fully certified and trained.

“I don’t think you would ever get a leak like that where they wouldn’t know how to handle it,” Kivell said.

The region is also covered by the CRD Hazmat team that would respond to a leak situation, such as the one at Fernie Memorial Arena Oct. 17.

“The CRD Hazmat team is well trained,” Kivell said. “They practice on ammonia leaks regularly and they just recently had a practice scenario at Panorama Rec.”

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