Safeguards in place to protect Kamloops arenas from ammonia leaks

By Greg Fry
October 18, 2017 - 2:29pm Updated: October 18, 2017 - 5:41pm

KAMLOOPS — Are Kamloops' five hockey rinks safe from ammonia leaks?

That's the question CFJC Today posed to the City's Parks and Civic Facilities Manager Jeff Putnam after a suspected ammonia leak claimed three lives at a rink in Fernie Tuesday.

"Typically in a major incident like that there are multiple factors that occur and what we're going to do as a city is we are going to review the results of that investigation to see if there's anything we can learn from that," he says. 

"The City itself, all of our city rinks are highly regulated. All of our arenas personnel actually have to be certified from the BC Safety Authority. For all our ice plants we have general and planned maintenance and safety inspections done by a professional contractor out of the Lower Mainland."

In addition to that Putnam says each ice plant receives regular inspections through its alarm and exhaust systems.

"And even if there's a power failure we have backup power to make sure that the alarm and the venting systems in them are working properly. And on top of that our arena personnel at each rink regularly inspect the ice plants every two hours each shift and most of our rinks are running 20 hours a day."

In his eight years on the job, Putnam says he only recalls one incident where there was a minor ammonia leak (that event occurred in February this year at McArthur Island).

"And that got dealt with immediately with the help of Kamloops Fire Rescue Services. But actually nothing to the extent of what happened in Fernie and we hope it never happens here."

And of course his heart goes out to all those effected by the Fernie tragedy.

"I know everyone, especially within the arena operations of the City is incredibly sad about the event that happened in Fernie. And our hearts go out to all of the family members and co-workers of those that were lost."


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