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October 3, 2008
Fire Prevention Week 2008: Prevent Home Fires
Fire Prevention Week originally began as a commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and has since evolved into an annual week-long campaign about fire safety education. On October 9, 1871, a major fire raged through Chicago for 27 hours, killing more than 250 people and leaving over 100,000 people homeless. The fire also destroyed more than 17,400 buildings and almost 5,000 hectares of land.

Fire Prevention Week 2008, which runs from October 5-11, features numerous family-based events throughout the city to educate communities about fire and life safety.

Residential fires account for 85 to 90 per cent of the total number of fires. In 2007 alone, 18 people died in Toronto fires. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is ‘Prevent Home Fires.’ By taking the following precautions at home, residents can help reduce the chance of a fire:
• ensure lights and appliances are plugged into separate outlets
• install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas
• never leave lit candles unattended.

Fire Chief William Stewart reminds residents about the devastating effects a fire can have on their family, home and community: “The tragedy of fire is very far-reaching. The death of a loved one due to a preventable fire rips at the very core of a family and the surrounding community. You need to do everything possible to prevent the opportunity for fire to occur in your home. In fact, most fires are preventable - educate yourself on ways to protect your family.”

Toronto Fire Services invites members of the public to participate in the week-long schedule of events taking place next week. Toronto Fire Service staff will be at the following local malls from October 6-11 during regular operational hours: Cloverdale Mall, Yorkgate Mall, Dufferin Mall and the Scarborough Town Centre.

Staff will also be out conducting presentations on Tuesday, October 7 and Thursday, October 9 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the following community centres: Etobicoke Olympium, Driftwood Community Centre, Scarborough Village Recreation Centre and Trinity Community Centre.

On Wednesday, October 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday, October 11, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., various open house events for the whole family will take place at the Toronto Fire and EMS Training Centre, located at 895 Eastern Ave. Activities include: a mini combat challenge event for children, fire safety videos, junior firefighter photos, firefighting demonstrations, fire truck display, a bouncing inflatable fire truck, tattoo station, barbecue and music. In addition, well-know children’s entertainer Chris McKhool will stop by the open house on Saturday, October 11 from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Throughout the week of events, children aged 7-12 are invited to participate in the Junior Fire Chief for a Day contest. The winner will enjoy a ride in a Toronto fire truck and take home several prizes, including a Futurnova MP3 Player. For more information about Fire Prevention Week 2008, visit

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 numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency 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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