Chem-free Grad to use old arena

The Chem-free Grad committee held its most recent meeting last week and learned that they wouldn’t have to find a new location for the event after all.
“We are able to hold it on the old ice surface,” said Patti Boileau of the committee.
There was an issue with the grad function using the ice surface of the ‘52 Canadians Arena due to fire regulations. In recent months other functions, like the home and garden trade show, were told they couldn’t use the ice surface unless sprinkler systems were installed.
“We had to look at whether it fell into the category of a trade show,” said Fort Frances Fire Chief Steve Richardson. “And it did not.”^He added that if it had fallen into the category, the event would not have been held in the arena.
“With Chem-free Grad night, it’s a closed function,” he said of why it wasn’t classified as a trade show, adding that it has a set attendance and is a very controlled event.
“Trade shows are open to the entire public.”^“We were given a list of things we need to do to make it workable,” said Boileau.
Richardson explained that some of those requirements were extra fire extinguishers, additional lighting, fire wardens and the posting of emergency signs and procedures.
“There are additional fire safety procedures being put into place,” he said. “The role of a fire warden is to take fire extinguisher training and be sure emergency lights and exits are working and are clear.
Additional exits have also been assigned.
“All the exits are being manned by volunteers to prevent unauthorized entry,” he continued. “They have taken a lot of extra steps to ensure the safety.”^Richardson explained that he has even looked into some of the games that are planned and has checked with the manufacturers for fire specifications.
The Chem-free Grad committee was pleased with the decision.
“It’s so convenient,” said Boileau, “and it’s worked so well over the last two years.”^Boileau explained that things are moving along with the planning as more and more sponsors come on board.
“Right now, we’re looking for volunteers, especially for the Chem-Free Grad night,” she said.
The next meeting of the Chemfree Grad committee is Tuesday, May 27 at 7 p.m. in the library at the high school.