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October 1, 1998
"The Great Escape" is coming soon - are Toronto residents ready?
When you hear the term, "The Great Escape," images of Houdini and disappearing
acts may come to mind. Toronto Fire Services are announcing that "The Great
Escape" will take place in Toronto this October, but they're not planning to
make local residents disappear. In fact, Toronto Fire Services have been
working in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and
fire services throughout the United States and Canada to implement the
first-ever North American fire drill - "The Great Escape" - during 1998 Fire
Prevention Week, October 4-10.

"The Great Escape" is a concerted effort to get citizens throughout North
America actively involved in fire safety, specifically home escape planning and
practice. Toronto Fire Services are strongly encouraging all residents of
Toronto to develop home escape plans and practice them on Wednesday, October 7,
at 6:00 p.m., during "The Great Escape." All 80 stations of the Toronto Fire
Services will have their fire trucks sounding their alarms at this time to
signal the start of the city wide fire drill. "The Great Escape" is a fun
activity for entire families to participate in during Fire Prevention Week, but
it also could save their lives," says Fire Chief Alan Speed, Toronto Fire
Services. "If a fire breaks out in your home, you and your family only have a
few minutes to escape safely. Home fire escape planning and practice ensure
that everyone in the household will know how to use that small window of
opportunity effectively and get out alive."

NFPA, the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 70 years,
developed "The Great Escape" theme in response to results from its 1997 Home
Escape Survey that showed only 16% of respondents who had escape plans actually
practice them. It is the hope of the Toronto Fire Services that "The Great
Escape" motivates people to begin thinking about fire safety in a positive,
proactive way, and to start practising their home escape plans regularly, at
least twice a year.

In addition to "The Great Escape" fire drill on October 7, Toronto fire
stations will be distributing fire safety posters to the public featuring
Toronto Argonauts Mike "Pinball" Clemons. The poster contains important
messages about home escape planning and fire safety as well as a mapping grid.
When developing a home escape plan, Fire Chief Alan Speed encourages everyone
to use the mapping grid to draw up a home escape plan.

"'The Great Escape' offers a wealth of opportunities for Toronto residents of
all ages to participate in Fire Prevention Week this year," says Fire Chief
Alan Speed. "We look forward to sharing these events with the community, and
urge everyone to join in on the fun"

Media Contact
Brian Stewart
Public Education Officer,
Toronto Fire Services
(416) 392-0102



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