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June 16, 2008
Toronto Fire Safety Awareness Week 2008
Keeping matches and lighters out of little hands is the first step towards educating and protecting children from fire. To drive this message home, Toronto Firefighters will focus on educating families to keep matches and lighters away from children during this year’s Safety Awareness Week, June 16 - 21.

Firefighters will begin the week with visits to neighbourhoods that have experienced a higher than average number of fires started by children/youth with matches or lighters, and will meet with homeowners to provide them with essential information and resources on matches and lighter safety in the home. Statistics show that from 2003 to 2007 there were over 1,000 fires caused by children under 12 years and youth vandalism causing an estimated $3,370,000 in damage.

“Children who set fires using matches or lighters, or are injured in fires that are the result of using these articles, need to receive education on the potentially serious consequences that playing with fire can have,” stated Toronto Fire Chief Bill Stewart. “Over the last four years alone, 18 per cent of fire fatalities were the direct result of children playing with matches and lighters. Preventable injuries are the leading cause of childhood fatalities and injuries; through educating families on how to protect themselves and their children, we can help prevent these types of needless tragedies.”

Toronto firefighters will also be out in full force at many of the 58 City of Toronto Child Care Centres. Three thousand letters were sent home to parents of children who attend these facilities to provide basic information on how to keep children safe from matches and lighters. In addition to the neighbourhood and child care centre visits this week, on Saturday, June 21, firefighters will be out in the community at various Loblaws Superstore locations to provide information to the public:

• Don Mills and Eglinton, 825 Don Mills Rd.
• Brimley and Progress Rd., 1775 Brimley Rd.
• Weston and Highway 401, 2549 Weston Rd.
• Dufferin and Steeles, 51 Gerry Fitzgerald Dr.

Education is the key to changing negative fire safety behaviours. Toronto Firefighters/Public Educators regularly conduct The Arson Prevention Program for Children (TAPP-C), an intervention program for youthful firesetters, in co-operation with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). For more information on TAPP-C, visit

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of more than 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 and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact: Toronto Fire Services Media Line, 416-338-0763



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