Media Advisory - Window and balcony safety campaign broadens reach Toronto police officers and citizen to receive awards for saving a young child|
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More than 50 Toronto children have fallen from windows and balconies since 1999. Many of those falls resulted in deaths that are tragic for families and communities - and for the paramedics called to the scene. Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) started the Partners Promoting Window and Balcony Safety Program in 2003, with support from the Canadian Window and Door Manufacturers Association (CWDMA). The educational prevention program educates children, parents and caregivers about safety devices, regulations and guidelines to protect children from tragic falls.
At the opening ceremonies of this year’s CWDMA convention, Toronto EMS Chief Bruce Farr will present four Toronto Police Officers and one citizen with awards for rescuing a two-year-old girl from falling off an eleventh floor balcony. To highlight the bilingual national campaign, Chief Farr will also present a bilingual window/balcony safety demonstration model to the Quebec City and Montreal Emergency Medical Services. As of November 13, emergency medical services from 12 cities across Canada will be actively involved in keeping children safe through window and balcony fall prevention programs.
Interviews and window and balcony safety demonstrations are available in both English and French throughout the conference, which runs from November 13 to 15. Safety tips, activities for children and an educational video are available on the Partners Promoting Window and Balcony Safety website: www.windowandbalconysafety.ca
Date: Tuesday, November 13
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W., North Building, Halls A & B
The City of Toronto requires that mechanical safety devices be installed on all apartment windows at least two metres above ground to prevent windows from opening more than 10 centimetres (four inches). For more information, visit www.toronto.ca/your_health/window.htm.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.
Prevent window and balcony falls
The following is a partial list of some of the window and balcony falls that have occurred in 2007:
- March 29, Hamilton, ON - 5-year-old boy, seriously injured, fell from 9th floor balcony
- June 3, Toronto, ON - 18-month-old boy, died, fell from 28th floor window
- June 26, Ottawa, ON - 3-year-old boy, died, fell from 15th floor window
- July 5, Ottawa, ON - 9-month-old girl, injured, fell from 2nd floor window
- July 5, Montreal, QC - 2-year-old boy, injured, fell from 4th floor window
- July 12, Montreal, QC - 2-year-old girl, injured, fell from 2nd floor window
- July 17, Toronto, ON - 2-year-old boy, died, fell from 11th floor balcony
- July 20, Calgary, AB - 19-month-old boy, injured, fell from 2nd floor balcony
- July 24, Montreal, QC - 5-year-old boy, injured, fell from 2nd floor balcony
Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reports 11 Toronto children have fallen from windows and balconies so far this year. A Calgary EMS report indicates 12 to 14 falls occur every year in that city. In Montreal, at least 10 children fall from windows and balconies each year.
A coalition of paramedic services, and window and door manufacturers, is working hard to prevent these tragic accidents. The Canadian Window and Door Manufacturers Association (CWDMA), and the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada partnered in 2003 to educate the public on how to prevent young children from falling from windows and balconies.
Paramedics from 12 emergency medical services across Canada are now involved in this prevention campaign. They include: Toronto, York, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, Halifax, Saskatoon, British Columbia and two new members, Montreal and Quebec City.
Children between the ages of 1 and 4 are at the highest risk of falling from a window or balcony, but falls occur among people of all ages, including seniors. Here is what you can do to prevent falls from windows and balconies in your home:
- Direct supervision of children is the single most effective way to prevent window and balcony falls.
- Move furniture or other items away from windows and from balcony railings and decks to prevent climbing hazards.
- Install devices on windows that allow for a maximum opening of 10 cm. Install similar devices or child-proof locks on balcony doors. These devices are inexpensive and can be purchased at hardware stores.
- Complete a safety check with your child’s caregiver to ensure window and door safety devices are in working order, and explain the potential dangers around these areas of the home.
- Make sure that safety devices have emergency release mechanisms so windows can be used for escape in the event of fire.
- Screens are not adequate safety devices. They keep bugs out but do not keep children in.
CWDMA-member companies have generously funded this campaign since it began in 2003. They have also constructed and donated 14 safety demonstration units that paramedics use to teach window and balcony safety lessons to children, parents and caregivers.
Safety tips, activities for children, an educational video and contact information are available on the Partners Promoting Window and Balcony Safety website at www.windowandbalconysafety.ca.
Lyla Miller, Toronto EMS, 416-392-2255, 416-708-8125 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org