As we ring in the New Year, a new fire safety law will come into effect for the province.

The new law will require all facilities in Ontario that house vulnerable occupancy residents to have automatic, fully operational sprinkler systems.

“Sprinkler systems operate at the incipient or very beginning stage of a fire,” said Barrie Fire Prevention Officer Carrie Clark. “If it does not contain the fire immediately, it will contain the fire where it started.”

The law will not only include retirement homes, but facilities with occupants ranging in age and any level of cognition or physical disability.

“This is mainly recommendations that have come out of coroners inquests from fatal fires from facilities throughout the province,” said Clark.

In 2009, a fatal fire at an Orillia retirement home without sprinklers sparked a coroner’s inquest. In 2014, Ontario became the first province to make sprinklers mandatory in licenced retirement homes.

Before the coroner’s inquest, only facilities built after 1998 were required to have sprinklers.

According to fire officials, all 47 vulnerable occupancy residences in Barrie have installed sprinkler systems.

When the new law comes into effect, any facility not compliance will be fined and shut down.