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Tips for keeping decks safe after one collapsed in Charlottetown

A barbecue and other items cover Rebecca MacNeill after she fell about 15 feet when her deck collapsed on Aug. 8.
A barbecue and other items cover Rebecca MacNeill after she fell about 15 feet when her deck collapsed on Aug. 8. - Contributed

Household decks should be checked to make sure they are safe, says a spokesman for the Construction Association of P.E.I.

In an interview with The Guardian, association general manager Sam Sanderson said from a construction industry standpoint, any structures like a deck should have regular inspections.

“Maintenance is a very key thing,” he said.

The Guardian reported Thursday that Charlottetown resident Rebecca MacNeill was recovering in hospital after the deck on her home collapsed while she and her husband were on it.

Related: Charlottetown woman recovering in hospital after deck she was on collapsed

MacNeill is facing months of recovery from a broken leg, shattered ankle, three broken ribs and punctured lungs.

Sanderson said his family went through a similar situation about 10 years ago when his daughter was on a deck that collapsed with several people on it.

Only one person was injured, he said.

In MacNeill’s case, the deck was already on the house when she and her husband bought it 15 years ago.  

Sanderson said in the incident involving his daughter the house was only two years old.

“With it being that new it probably should never have happened.”

Along with regular maintenance, Sanderson said making sure whoever inspects a deck is qualified is also important.

If a resident notices any movement or the deck is coming away from the home they should have it repaired, Sanderson said.

“Make sure that there’s no gaps there and if there is to have somebody properly re-fasten or strengthen the attachment.”

Sanderson said collapsing decks aren’t something the association hears about on a regular basis.

“It’s just one of those things that every once in a while, there seems to be an incident and really for no apparent reason,” he said.

He stressed if people have any concerns about their deck they should have a qualified person look at.

“We’re all about safety and don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

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