Residential fire sprinklers could become mandatory in for new homes in Ottawa.

On Wednesday, city council endorsed a provincial bill that would allow municipalities to make sprinkler systems mandatory.

Ottawa Fire Services Deputy Chief Bruce Montone argued that the combination of working smoke alarms and sprinkler systems would reduce the number of fire fatalities in Ottawa by at least 80 per cent.


In fact, Montone said that there has never been a report of a fire fatality in a residence that had both working properly.

Bay Ward Councillor Alex Cullen suggested that it was not necessary for the city to legislate sprinkler systems, when their resources could be more effectively focused elsewhere.

"We would be spending a better use of our money to ensure that all our residential homes have a hardwired smoke detector because it is achievable and within reach," said Cullen.

The motion was initially put forward by Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans, who compared fire sprinklers in homes to airbags in cars.

"When I was growing up they didn't have airbags in cars. It was thought to be too costly," he said. "Fast forward to today and imagine buying a car without an airbag."

Deans said this is about new homes getting to the point where they can have a discussion about making fire sprinklers mandatory.

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