Backgrounder: Toronto Community Housing supports Toronto Fire Services Cooking Safety campaign, and continues to expand its internal inspection and fire safety compliance team

TORONTO, September 16, 2019—As Canada's largest social housing provider, Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) has a mandate to deliver quality homes and services that support safe, vibrant communities. TCHC's dedicated corporate fire life safety team was established in 2018, and its mandate includes staff training, as well as building inspections and tenant education.

Toronto Community Housing Corporation's (TCHC) Fire Life Safety team includes specialists dedicated full-time to fire prevention programs. The team carries out annual fire safety compliance inspections in all TCHC buildings and implements joint safety education campaigns with Toronto Fire Services (TFS).

Together with the Toronto Fire Services, TCHC continually monitors building fire safety systems, and carries a broad range of fire safety education campaigns, including in-building safety workshops delivered jointly with TFS.

 Tenant fire safety awareness and education

TCHC partners with Toronto Fire Services in delivering a Tenant Fire Safety Ambassador program and Safety Awareness Month programs to tenants. TCHC's corporate fire safety team and community safety special constables also offer a summer program in many TCHC seniors' buildings, where tenants are invited to take part in one-day fire safety workshops, which also feature personal and community safety tips.

Since January 2019, TCHC has expanded its tenant fire safety education program to add more onsite safety seminars, a monthly fire safety poster campaign, outreach on social media channels, and recorded fire safety messages on TCHC's 24-hour client care line.

At the same time, a multi-tier staff fire safety education program has been rolled out, based on 17 e-learning modules, on-site training and simulation exercises.  The e-learning modules address fire prevention and emergency procedures, codes and legislation, fire life safety systems, fire safety plans targeted to each building, fire watch protocols, building supervisory staff responsibilities, and tenant outreach.

Improved fire safety statistics

A focused inspection campaign by TFS coupled with TCHC's expanded fire safety and education programs may have contributed to downward trends in fires, fatalities and fire code violations in TCHC buildings in 2018. TFS reported to TCHC's Board of Directors on December 6, 2018 that the three leading causes of fires in TCHC buildings are trending down.

The number of significant fires dropped from 36 in 2017 to 28 in 2018.There were fewer fatalities in 2018 (two in 2018 versus five in 2017 and five in 2016). In the case of both 2018 fatal fires, Toronto Fire Services reported all building fire life safety systems operated as they should.

Fires caused by arson dropped by more than half in 2018, (39% to 17%).

Quarterly Fire drills and a customized safety plan for each TCHC building

Fire safety plans are developed in partnership and are approved by TFS for each TCHC building in the city. All high-rise, mid-rise building, low-rise buildings and every townhouse complex now has its own fire safety plan. In addition, all TCHC high-rise buildings carry out fire drills every three months.

About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing is Canada's largest social housing provider. We are owned by the City of Toronto and provide homes for nearly 60,000 low- and moderate-income households in more than 100 of the city's neighbourhoods. Our 2,100 buildings represent a $10-billion public asset.

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