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Ontario’s first accredited Fire Safety Certification program launches to better protect the public and responding firefighters

November 8, 2021
By CFF Staff

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Almost every building owner in Ontario is required to have a Fire Safety Plan, approved and implemented at their building.  Part of this implementation, required by the Ontario Fire Code, is that all “Supervisory” staff of that building be trained on how to implement the Fire Safety Plan, and understand their own roles and responsibilities under that plan – before being given any responsibilities at the building.   

Building owners and building staff, responsible for fire safety, must understand that their specific roles and responsibilities impact both occupant and firefighter safety.  This makes it essential that before firefighters arrive at your building, staff must have successfully implemented the Fire Safety Plan.  The most appropriate way to do this is through training of the specific roles and responsibilities that building supervisory staff fulfill, in adherence to the Fire Safety Plan. Helping to meet this obligation, the new online fire safety training program launched by the National Life Safety Group (NLSG) is providing critical knowledge to ensure that both public and private organizations not only comply with the Fire Code, but truly understand their fire safety plan – so they can effectively implement it.

The new NLSG training program also provides a solution to the recent Raising the Alarm report by the City of Toronto’s Auditor General, which highlighted the need for industry recognized training aimed at building owners and staff to assist and support them in understanding their roles and responsibilities under the Fire Code.

The new NLSG online training enables building owners, property managers, security personnel, concierge and fire wardens to complete their mandatory fire safety compliance courses, knowing it is the only Fire Safety Plan implementation course available in Canada, accredited by the Institution of Fire Engineers – Canada (IFE), an internationally recognized accrediting body, with membership around the globe.

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“Implementing a Fire Safety Plan – through training at your building is much more than a fire code requirement.  Your building occupant safety depends on it.  In fact, firefighters who will respond to your building also expect the Fire Safety Plan has been implemented.  Firefighters expect all systems functioning, tested and recently inspected when they arrive.  They also depend on knowledgeable building staff at times of emergencies.” says Jason Reid, Senior Advisor of Fire & Emergency Management with NLSG, whose team of NFPA 1035 certified Fire & Life Safety Educators created the new online program. “Training has been highlighted as a consistent gap right here in Ontario for over 30 years”, says Reid.

In a 1995 a Coroner’s Inquest into the Forrest Laneway fire that resulted in multiple deaths, the Coroner recommended that the building owners have mandatory training to better understand their accountabilities. Specifically, the Inquest recommended to: “Develop a mandatory, certification training course for building supervisory staff which includes the following subjects: the use of emergency voice communication systems (EVAC), fire alarms systems, sprinkler systems, smoke control measures, emergency power, elevator operations and control, fire safety planning, maintenance of door closures, understanding / scheduling of maintenance as detailed in the Ontario Fire Code NLSG’s course delivers on this and more.

Matthew Williams, president and CEO of Pennine Security Solutions has nearly 200 security staff that help to manage high-rise buildings across the province and now insists that all of his employees complete the online NLSG Fire Safety program. “In my business, lives are at stake, and it’s our security guards at the controls of these life safety systems at 2:00 AM.  Sometimes a matter of inches and seconds, so I want my people trained to the highest standard in the industry. Firefighters need the support of trained security and building personnel, and with more high rises being built every year, fire alarms go off daily and they need this training to speed up response times and keep residents safe and secure. My staff appreciate that I am investing in them professionally, with measured and endorsed training”, says Matthew.

With thousands of firefighters and 441 fire departments across Ontario risking their lives for public safety every day, completing the online or in-person training for residential or commercial buildings is a small but legally required step that every responsible property owner, property management team and employer must complete.   This new training program allows everyone with responsibilities included in Section 2.8 of the Ontario Fire Code, to fully understand their fire safety plan.