Sanirajak school under 24-hour fire watch since spring due to sprinkler issue

Cost to pay people to perform fire-watch duties is $120,000 so far; still waiting on replacement parts

The Arnaqjuaq School in Sanirajak has been without a functioning sprinkler system since May after multiple repairs were needed to fix it, a Community and Government Services spokesperson said Monday. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

By Madalyn Howitt

Sanirajak’s school has been under a 24-hour fire watch since spring — at a cost of $120,000 so far — because a sprinkler problem at the school has proven complicated to fix.

The issue started in May with one of the sprinkler pumps at Arnaqjuaq School, said Brad McFaul, a spokesperson with the Department of Community and Government Services.

“However, after replacing the part in late November, the switch in the fire pump was found to be faulty and needed to be changed as well,” he said in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

McFaul said the replacement switch was ordered in November but has not yet been received.

The department estimates the total cost to get the system back up and running will be up to $90,000, including labour and travel costs and roughly $70,000 spent on materials and parts.

In the meantime, Sanirajak’s district education authority has already spent $120,000 to date to pay a team of 21 people to act as a fire watch.

The team is hired on a full-time, part-time and relief work basis.

“Procedure requires that all areas of the school are inspected hourly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” McFaul said, adding this protocol is required to keep the school in line with Nunavut’s fire code.

It is unclear when the replacement parts for the sprinklers will arrive and when the sprinkler system will be functional.

Approximately 230 students attend Arnaqjuaq School, which runs from kindergarten to Grade 12.



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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Why So Many People? on

    Why does it take 21 people to do the checks? That should be 5-7 people tops! And that gives enough coverage for people to miss a day or two due to sickness or vacation.

    • Posted by Northern Inuit on

      because of labour standards, they are probably doing 8 hour shifts instead of 12. ideally you could have 8 people on 12 hour shifts and even paying overtime you could save money. 4 days on, 4 days off, day and night shift switch in between days off.

    • Posted by 867 on

      168 hours in a week means 4 people full time are needed, then 4 extra in case the first 4 don’t show up and then 14 more people just because

    • Posted by From sanirajak on

      Because people can’t keep their job and quit, then hire more people. They’re all not working 21 people, they’ve come and gone

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