Fire safety is top priority at Toronto Community Housing. As a part of our ongoing commitment to provide safe buildings and communities for tenants, we launched an enhanced fire life safety program in 2017, with key activities being implemented well in 2018.
In addition to our legislative requirements of conducting annual fire safety inspections in each building, we started a number of activities in 2017 to educate tenants on fire safety awareness. Six out of seven causes of fires at our buildings are human behaviour-related, such as careless cooking, careless smoking or unattended open flames. The aim of the tenant education program is to further empower tenants to understand their role in fire prevention in their homes.
Yvonne Balfour, a tenant in a seniors-only building, has noticed a visible difference in her building since the enhanced tenant education program started. "The immediate impression is that the place looks cleaner, there are less cigarette butts on the ground and I hardly see any people smoking outside anymore."
According to Yvonne, before the new initiatives rolled out, "a lot of fire alarms were going off in the past due to kitchen fires. People are more aware now and are taking better care of things that could cause a fire." Another behavioural change Yvonne noticed was more tenants closing common room doors—a takeaway from the door-to-door education sessions. "We learned that the laundry room door and rec room doors should be kept closed," Yvonne said.
"We are following the recommendations from the fire safety inspector and now use a key fob to enter." Yvonne added that the fire safety initiatives created a conversation in her building, helping to remind people to be extra careful and make changes at home.
- A "12 Days of Fire Safety" campaign that included posters in all buildings and offices, a social media campaign and a dedicated webpage.
- A mailer of fire safety emergency procedures, including the two sections of the building's fire safety plan specific to tenants, which was sent to 52,000 households.
- Fire safety tips in the winter issue of the Housing Update newsletter sent to all households.
- Partnering with Toronto Fire Services to run door-to-door education sessions in 72 seniors buildings during Fire Safety Awareness Week in June.
Read more stories like Yvonne`s by downloading our 2017 Annual Report.