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June 11, 2009
Toronto Fire Services Safety Awareness Week 2009
City of Toronto Fire Services will hold its third annual Safety Awareness Week from June 15 to 20. The campaign will focus on keeping all family members safe from preventable and predictable injuries during the summer months.

As part of its continuing support of the Risk Watch Injury Prevention program into Toronto elementary schools, Toronto Fire Services, along with the dedicated school principals and staff, will host Risk Watch Safety Nights at four schools in various parts of the city next week (each one is from 5 to 9 p.m.):

Monday, June 15 - St. Charles Garnier Catholic School
Tuesday, June 16 - Norway Public School
Wednesday, June 17 - Heritage Park Public School
Thursday, June 18 - Etienne Brule Junior School

Each Risk Watch Safety Night is scheduled to take place from 5 to 9 p.m. and will include of a variety of displays, demonstrations, workshops and activities held both indoors and outdoors in the school yard (weather permitting), including a fundraising barbecue for the school. Also participating and partnering with Fire Services each evening will be Toronto Police Services, Toronto Public Health, Toronto Transportation Services, Toronto EMS, Toronto Animal Services and the Canadian Red Cross.

“The majority of injuries children encounter throughout their childhood are preventable and predictable,” said Fire Chief William Stewart. “With Safety Awareness Week being held at the end of the school year, the timing will be perfect to remind everyone how to stay safe and prevent injuries from occurring in the first place, while enjoying a fun-filled summer.”

Toronto Fire services is urging everyone to remember the following safety and injury prevention tips to keep all family members safe from preventable and predictable injuries during the summer months.

Motor Vehicle Safety
▪ Check to make sure young children haven’t outgrown their child car seat or child booster seat, and be sure everyone buckles up every time they are in a motor vehicle.

Fire and Burn Prevention
▪ This is a good time to practice your home fire escape plan. Pretend your primary exit route is blocked by heavy smoke and practice your second way out. Remember to have a working smoke alarm outside every sleeping area and on every story of your home.
▪ Store gasoline and other flammable products outside your home in an approved safety container, tightly sealed, and out of the sight and reach of children.
▪ Outdoor cooking fires and barbecues need to be kept a safe distance from the house - at least 4.5 metres (15 feet). Barbecues need to be lit by an adult.

Choking, Suffocation and Strangulation Prevention
▪ At family barbecues, remember that hot dogs, steak and marshmallows can be choking hazards. Cut food for young children into small bites. Remember, even in informal outdoor settings, eat only while seated.

Poisoning Prevention
▪ Certain plants, berries and mushrooms can be poisonous. Remind children to check with a trusted adult before eating anything.

Falls and Playground Injury Prevention
▪ Review safe playground behaviours with your children and make sure playground equipment is in good working order.
▪ Window guards are available to prevent children from falling. Place window guards only on windows not to be used as a fire exit, unless they are equipped with a quick release mechanism that can be opened easily from the inside. Screens will not prevent children from falling out.

Bike and Pedestrian Safety
▪ Check to make sure all family members’ bikes, helmets and other protective equipment fit properly and are in good condition. Replace if necessary.
▪ Review safe bike and pedestrian behaviours with your children.

Water and Ice Safety
▪ Check to make sure personal flotation devices (PFDs) or lifejackets are in good condition and fit family members properly. Review water safety behaviours with your children.
▪ Supervise children around water at all times.

The Risk Watch program includes activities promoting safety for each of the eight leading causes of childhood injuries, including motor vehicle safety; fire and burn prevention; choking, suffocation and strangulation prevention; poisoning prevention; falls and playground injury prevention; firearms injury prevention; bike and pedestrian safety; and water and ice safety.

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. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and livability for all its residents.

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



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