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March 9, 2009
Project Zero: Because no one should die in a home fire
  
Toronto Fire Chief Bill Stewart today launched a new public education program aimed at reducing residential fire deaths to zero.

“Project Zero is the first program of its kind in the City of Toronto,” stated Chief Stewart. “Fire inspectors will go door to door in the community ensuring that there are working smoke alarms on every level and at least one carbon monoxide alarm in every home visited, and that homeowners are provided with the necessary information to help keep their homes and families safe. No one should die in a home fire.”

In Ontario, it is the law that every dwelling unit must have a properly maintained smoke alarm installed on every level of the home and in sleeping areas. Smoke alarms, when properly installed and maintained, provide the early warning that is needed to safely escape from a house fire. Where homeowners have already complied with the law by installing smoke alarms on every storey of their home, the alarms will be tested to ensure they are working properly.

Those who have not installed smoke alarms will be issued a notice of violation that must be complied with within seven days. To ensure the home occupants are protected during that time Fire Services staff will install smoke alarms. Teams of fire inspectors, who will be in uniform and carry proper identification, will begin the inspections in the area bounded by Dovercourt Road and Jefferson Avenue to the east, Bloor Street West to the north, Colborne Lodge Road to the west, and Lake Shore Boulevard to the south. This area was identified as having the most number of fires, fire deaths and fire related injuries in 2008. Seventeen people died in fires in Toronto in 2008; 12 of those deaths were in residential occupancies.

The inspection staff will also emphasize the need for home escape planning and practice. It is common for children and seniors to be disoriented when they hear an alarm sounding in the middle of the night. Planning and practising escapes reduce that problem and ensure that people are better prepared when a fire happens. The inspectors will provide materials to assist residents in the escape plan process.

The President of Enbridge Gas Distribution, Janet Holder, and Ontario Fire Marshal, Pat Burke, joined Fire Chief Bill Stewart at the Toronto Fire and EMS Training Centre, 895 Eastern Ave., at 1 p.m. today to address the media.

Toronto is one of the few cities in Ontario that has a bylaw requiring all homes where there is a fuel-fired appliance to have at least one carbon monoxide alarm installed. Carbon monoxide is a toxic, odourless gas that is a by-product of incomplete combustion of many types of common fuels. Carbon monoxide alarms are recommended to protect against the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Project Zero is supported by Enbridge Gas Distribution, which has donated $20,000 toward the purchase of 550 combination carbon monoxide/ smoke alarms. “We regularly educate customers about the importance of properly maintaining all fuel burning-equipment to prevent carbon monoxide buildup and about installing a carbon monoxide alarm as a second line of defense,” said Janet Holder. “Through Project Zero, we’re building on that message by helping the City of Toronto keep people safe.”

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 liveability for all its residents.

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


 

 

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