Program Selection, Development & Implementation

Fire Prevention Effectiveness Model – Position Paper

Section II: Program Selection, Development & Implementation

rogram Selection/Development Implementation sub-model:Inspection

 

2.1 Introduction

Once a community's fire risks have been identified, programs that are most likely to address these risks should be selected, developed and implemented.

Fire prevention activities can be separated into three basic areas:

Inspections
Public Safety Education
Fire Incident Evaluation

Accurate information about fires can be gathered only from evaluating related incidents. Fire Incident Evaluation is considered a necessary component of any effective fire prevention strategy. Inspections are appropriate when the lack of fire safety in properties significantly contributes to the fire problem. Public education is best suited to improving fire safety knowledge and awareness when the lack of it has been identified as a significant contributor to the fire problem.

This section describes the three areas of fire prevention and provides information about the programs that may be conducted within each area. This information will assist fire departments in selecting programs to address the community's fire risks which were previously identified in the needs analysis. Part of the selection process involves assessing the available resources. It may be necessary to modify a program if adequate resources are not available or to consider a different program to address a particular issue. Alternatively, it may be more appropriate to improve the available resources prior to developing a program.

The specific resources required to carry out inspection, public safety education and fire incident evaluation activities will vary. It may be necessary to select a program that is less effective if the resources for a more effective program cannot be allocated initially. For example, a routine inspection of a specific occupancy may be appropriate to address a fire risk. However, only a public safety education program for the property's owners can be provided given the available resources.

This may also be done as an interim step while you are improving the available resources in order to provide a more effective program. For example, while training fire suppression staff in inspection skills prior to implementing a fire company inspection program, it may be appropriate to institute a public safety education program to remind property owners of their responsibilities.

Note: When determining the appropriate program to implement, the impact of re-allocating resources must be considered. An evaluation of existing programs will indicate what the effects will be of changing, reducing or eliminating such programs.

2.2 Minimum Suggested Programs

It is strongly recommended that fire departments conduct at least the following fire prevention programs. These are the minimums that are expected from all communities, regardless of size. The amount of activity required for a small community may be quite limited. Also, the means chosen to deliver the required services may differ, depending on the local circumstances.

Municipalities are expected to use their available resources to best effect. The more resources available, the greater the expectations of service. Consequently, communities with significant resources are expected to provide more services than the minimum that are defined here.

An effective approach to address fire risks is to combine complementary programs that target the same risk. Programs such as TAPP-C (The Arson Prevention Program for Children) are effective because they combine elements of fire safety education (educating the juvenile fire-setter and caregiver) with inspections (of the juvenile fire-setter's home) and evaluation of fire incidents.

Inspections

It is strongly recommended that communities at least conduct Complaint Inspections of properties within their jurisdiction and Request Inspections, where the request is a result of concern for fire safety (e.g. not for insurance purposes).

Municipalities need to respond when fire safety hazards or violations are brought to their attention. Failing to investigate a fire safety complaint may leave a municipality at risk from litigation. The municipality may be considered partially responsible for not taking steps within their authority to correct any hazards brought to its attention. Conducting Complaint Inspections and following up on any violations will help to address this concern, as well as ensure that any confirmed violations are corrected.

Requests for inspections to assist owners in complying with fire safety legislation should be fulfilled. When concerned citizens request assistance to assess their fire safety, it is reasonable to expect that the fire department will help. Conducting Request Inspections meets this expectation. Also, certain provisions of the Ontario Fire Code require the approval of the Chief Fire Official, (e.g. fire safety planning, where the property owner cannot comply with the Fire Code without the assistance of the fire department).

Where there are sufficient resources, a community should actively promote compliance with fire safety legislation by means of regular Routine Inspections or some other suitable program.

Violations noted during any inspections need to be corrected. The municipality is responsible to enforce compliance, as necessary.

Public Safety Education

A suitable program should be implemented to improve fire safety knowledge and awareness in the community. The fire risks of a community are dependent upon how knowledgeable and aware its residents are. The fire department should do what it can within its capabilities to improve and/or maintain this awareness. As the threat of fire is higher in residential occupancies, these occupancies and its residents are usually targeted.

Fire Incident Evaluation

An accurate Standard Incident Report should be completed for all fires within a department's jurisdiction.

The fire service relies upon the information gathered at fire scenes to understand and improve fire situations. Enhancements in firefighting, legislation, equipment, education, construction, and other factors affecting fire safety depend upon fire incident evaluations. Therefore, it is extremely important that fire departments collect sufficient and accurate information. It is strongly recommended that additional information be gathered at fire scenes to help evaluate the effectiveness of fire department programs (e.g. status of smoke alarms).

Required Staff

There must be a sufficient number of adequately trained staff to deliver a program. Required duties may include field activities associated with selected programs, supervisory duties (directing, monitoring, and evaluating), and clerical and support functions. Staff must be able to carry out their duties in the most effective manner to achieve a program's objectives. (See Appendix I which can be used as a guide to help assess the staff required for any chosen program.)

It should be emphasized that staff skills and knowledge are extremely important in order for a program to achieve credible and effective results. If the available staff do not have the skills and knowledge mandated for a specific program, a comprehensive training course may be required. If staff do have an adequate level of skills and knowledge, training should still be provided on a regular basis to maintain this level.

Program Guidelines

Guidelines and policies should clearly indicate to staff the duties and responsibilities required for each program. This will help to ensure that the programs are carried out in the most effective manner. (See the Development and Implementation Section for further information regarding the activities that should be included in operating guidelines.)

Having comprehensive guidelines (and following them consistently) can also help in dispelling any perception of differential treatment. For example, when inspecting a property owned by a relative or a municipally owned property.

Fees For Fire Prevention Services

Many fire departments already charge fees for services. Prior to levying charges for fire prevention services, the potential implications to fire safety and the appropriate process to begin charging fees need to be considered.

Generally, fees should not be charged where the failure to pay prevents the delivery of fire prevention services which benefit the community. For example, charging fees for conducting complaint inspections or routine inspections may reduce their success. The department must consider what action to take if the fee is not paid and whether non payment may prevent the inspection from being done. Such a result should not be acceptable. Before charging for services, a department should develop a plan on how charges will be implemented.

Charging a fee for service may be used to encourage fire safe behaviour. For instance charging a fee for request inspections where there are violations found (in addition to any necessary prosecution) but providing the inspection for no charge if no violations are found.

2.3 Inspections

he Inspection sub-model:types of inspectionmethod of inspectioncategory of buildingfrequency of inspection

The Selection sub-model:

Inspection

types of inspection
method of inspection
category of building
frequency of inspection

2.3.1. Selection

Description

An Inspection Program involves inspecting selected properties and taking subsequent action(s) to achieve an acceptable level of fire safety. In the community, a program of this type has the potential to:

  • reduce fire occurrence;
  • improve containment thereby minimizing the impact of a fire;
  • provide adequate detection of a fire and warning to occupants;
  • provide an adequate means of egress to allow occupants to evacuate without injury;
  • provide and maintain suppression features to limit the damage caused by fire;
  • provide adequate fire safety planning; and
  • reduce injury, the loss of life and damage to property.

A successful inspection program requires the department to assign adequately trained staff to:

  • conduct the physical inspections;
  • note and record the results; and
  • follow-up to ensure the correction of any noted violations or identified hazards. (This may include prosecution.)

Selection

Several issues must be addressed when selecting an Inspection Program:

  1. the objective(s) of the program;
  2. the properties that will be subject to inspection;
  3. the types of inspections to conduct (e.g. Routine, Complaint);
  4. the methods to use in conducting inspections;
  5. the categories in which inspected properties will belong; and
  6. the frequency of inspections.

Program Goals and Objectives

A goal should be established for each program. The following goal would be appropriate for an Inspection Program:

To achieve an acceptable level of fire safety for the community and to provide a safe environment for occupants by ensuring that properties meet or exceed the Ontario Fire Code and other relevant legislation.

An effective inspection program also needs objectives that are realistic and measurable. These will help to monitor the delivery of the program and in evaluating its results. (See Section III for further details of measurable objectives.)

Maintaining a property in a fire safe condition is the responsibility of the owner, and possibly, the occupant. The purpose of the inspection is to determine whether the owner is maintaining a fire safe property. It is not just to identify violations of fire safety legislation.

Properties Subject To Inspection

A needs analysis will determine which properties should be subject to inspection. Consideration should be given to the types of properties, occupancies, and/or occupants.

Types Of Inspection

The different ways that inspections of properties can be initiated in a community are described below. Those that are most appropriate to address a community's fire concerns should be selected.

Conducting Complaint inspections is strongly recommended. Request inspections should also be provided (or at least, the implications of not providing this type of inspection should be considered).

Complaint Inspections

Description: Inspection of hazards and violations brought to the department's attention by citizens, fire crews, agencies or other third parties.

Results: Addresses identified hazards by confirming/identifying hazards and code violations, issuing notices of violation, and following up or prosecuting for non-compliance as necessary.

Departments may be considered partially responsible for hazards which have been brought to their attention. Conducting Complaint inspections will help to address liability concerns.

Considerations: Inspections are conducted and remedial action taken only when a hazard has been identified. It will not address every hazard in the community (or a particular property type).

Request Inspections

Description: Inspection of a property upon the request of a person concerned about the level of fire safety. For example, a property owner may request assistance to determine the acceptability of an existing commercial cooking equipment exhaust and fire suppression system.

Note: This does not include inspections for licensing or insurance purposes. These types of inspections are termed Information Inspections and are described later.

Results: Assists in improving the fire safety of properties involved in the requests. Also, it allows a property owner to benefit from the fire department's discretionary authority for Fire Code requirements and provides the necessary approval of the Chief Fire Official where an owner is required to comply with the Fire Code.

Considerations: Only those properties that the department is requested to inspect are inspected. Not providing this service will prevent a fire department from exercising discretionary authority and impede owners from complying with the Fire Code.

New Construction

Description: Inspections of properties under construction prior to and during occupancy. These inspections are conducted in cooperation with municipal building officials. May include plan review and consulting regarding construction projects, depending upon the agreement with the municipal building official.

Results: Ensures that new buildings are provided with the necessary fire safety features prior to occupancy. Fire departments will be aware of new buildings which allows them to become familiar with new equipment and to pre-plan for fire responses. This helps to ensure that approved fire safety plans are in place when the property is ready for occupancy.

Considerations: Requires very detailed inspections which involve the commitment of substantial resources. An agreement must be reached with the Chief Building Official regarding authority and jurisdiction.

Routine Inspections

Description: The inspection of selected properties on a regular basis. Usually, targets identified risk occupancies. The inspections may be thorough or more cursory depending upon the established procedures.

Results: Most effective way of ensuring that targeted properties achieve an acceptable level of safety.

Considerations: May require a large commitment of resources. Once properties are determined to be in compliance, consideration of a Self-Compliance Inspection Program may be appropriate. This will reduce staff time requirements in future.

Self-Compliance Inspections

Description: A program to help owners conduct an inspection of their properties to assess for compliance and fulfill their responsibilities for fire safety. This program consists of two parts. The first, a complete inspection of selected properties to ensure that Retrofit regulations and fire safety planning have been addressed for the property and that the property is in a good state of compliance with fire safety legislation. The second, monitors the owner's efforts to maintain the required level of fire safety by reviewing information regularly provided by the property owner. This can be done in conjunction with a modified routine inspection program.

Results: Ensures that all targeted properties achieve an acceptable level of safety.

Considerations: Achieves the same results as a Routine Inspection program but requires fewer resources to maintain upon completion of the first phase. Careful consideration should be given to the legal implications of replacing or changing the frequency of a routine inspection program with self-compliance inspections.

Smoke Alarm Check

Description: A limited inspection that only checks the placement and operation of smoke alarms in residential properties and provides safety information to occupants. To assess electrical wiring and service equipment, such as furnaces and wood stoves, occupants should be referred to competent service technicians unless the person conducting the inspection is adequately trained and is prepared to follow up to ensure correction of noted hazards.

Results: Improves the reliability of smoke alarms in residential occupancies and enhances the fire safety awareness and knowledge of the occupants. Working smoke alarms are the most effective means of reducing fire deaths and injuries.

Considerations: Requires the development of fire safety materials which provide information on fire safety planning, checking a home for safety hazards, smoke alarm installation and maintenance. It may also require fire departments to secure funding or a supply of batteries and smoke alarms to give away during the check. Firefighters need to be adequately trained and their role clarified, particularly in dealing with violations of the Fire Code or smoke alarm by-laws.

Fire Company Inspections

Description: The inspection of targeted properties by in-service firefighters to an established standard and frequency. These inspections may be conducted in support of a Self-Compliance Inspection Program.

Results: Ensures that all targeted properties achieve an acceptable level of fire safety.

Considerations: Require comprehensive supervision to ensure that inspections are conducted effectively and compliance is achieved. If in-service firefighters are unable to meet the knowledge requirements to conduct a proper inspection of the identified category of properties, then it may be more appropriate to allocate these staff to another program.

Information Inspections (e.g., Licensing, Funding, Resale, Insurance Requests)

Description: An inspection of properties upon the request of interested parties for the purpose of providing a compliance letter or list of violations.

Results: Provides a service to interested parties to allow them to receive licenses, funding, etc.

Considerations: Results are limited to those properties that the department is requested to inspect. Providing inspections of properties upon the request of interested parties, for insurance, licensing, funding or property resale purposes, is primarily an administrative service. (This includes the majority of wood stove inspections currently done in residential occupancies). Information inspections do not address the fire safety of properties effectively unless they are conducted as part of a comprehensive inspection program of all related properties.

Fire departments either planning to provide these types of inspections or are directed by their municipalities to provide them, should seek the advice of their municipal solicitor to properly manage any associated risk.

Instead of an inspection, it may prove more appropriate for the fire department to check its records and, with proper authorization, release the information to the interested party. This should work particularly well in conjunction with an established inspection program of all properties in the subject risk category.

Method Of Inspection

Acceptable methods of conducting fire safety inspections are described below. An appropriate method must be established for any inspection program.

Method I

Suitable for Complaint, Request, Routine, Fire Company and Information inspections.

1. Interview the owner and/or other responsible persons to determine their knowledge of fire safety responsibilities. If applicable, review their duties as detailed in the approved fire safety plan.

2. Review the maintenance and test records kept by the owner to determine if the required maintenance and testing is being carried out and recorded and that the results are consistent with the visual inspection.

3. Conduct a basic visual inspection of the fire safety equipment at the main controls to determine if they are in satisfactory operating condition.

Note: For Complaints Inspections, the identified hazard and the area immediately adjacent to the hazard would also be inspected, in addition to the above. This also applies to a program that targets a specific hazard (e.g., smoke alarms, propane).

Method II

Suitable for Complaint, Request, Routine, Fire Company and Information inspections. This method is the same as Method I except for item 3 above.

3) Conduct a basic visual inspection of the:

• containment features;

• means of egress, including exit signs and emergency lighting;

• fire alarm and detection systems, including voice communication systems; and

• suppression features, including sprinklers, standpipe and hose systems, firefighter elevators, fire department access, emergency power, and smoke control systems, in all areas of the building, excluding individual dwelling units. Where there are typical floors, a representative sample may be inspected.

Method III

Suitable for Complaint, Request, Routine, Fire Company and Information inspections.

This method is the same as Method II except that all areas must be inspected excluding individual dwelling units but including all typical floors.

Method IV

Suitable for Retrofit inspections.

This method is the same as Method III except that all areas of the building must be inspected, including a representative sample of the individual dwelling units.

Method V

Suitable for New Construction inspections. An agreement should be reached with Building Officials to establish areas of responsibility.

  1. Conduct a visual and physical examination of all areas of the property, including a representative sample of the individual dwelling units, for:
  • containment features;
  • means of egress, including exit signs and emergency lighting;
  • fire alarm and detection systems, including voice communication systems;
  • suppression features, including sprinklers, standpipe and hose systems, firefighter elevators, fire department access, emergency power, and smoke control systems.
  1. Witness physical performance tests and review appropriate documentation of:
  • fire alarm and detection systems, including the voice communication system; and
  • suppression features, including sprinklers, standpipe and hose systems, firefighter elevators, fire department access, emergency power supplies, and smoke control systems.
  1. Determine if a fire safety plan has been approved and implemented and that staff are sufficiently trained to carry out their duties as specified therein.

Method VI

Suitable for Self-Compliance Inspections.

  1. Ensure that the subject properties comply with the Fire Code, including Retrofit, and other relevant fire safety legislation. This may involve a complete Method IV inspection initially.
  2. Ensure that the subject properties have approved fire safety plans, where applicable, and that the owners are aware of their fire safety responsibilities.
  3. Provide self-inspection report forms to property owners and review the completed forms. To avoid creating additional work for the owner, these forms could be incorporated into the test and maintenance recording provisions of the approved fire safety plan. Provide the appropriate follow-up of identified problems.
  4. Conduct random inspections periodically, including after fire incidents, of the subject properties to assess compliance. Strictly enforce any violations. Random inspections may be any conducted under Methods I - III.

Categories Of Buildings

To help determine the level of skills and knowledge that are required to inspect the variety of properties in a community, the following categories of buildings have been defined. This information is intended as a guide only, as it does not include every conceivable variation. If a property does not fit into one of the categories, consider the relevant factors and place it in the category that seems the most appropriate.

Category A

Includes buildings that:

  • are less than 600 m2 in building area;
  • are 3 storeys or less in height;
  • do not contain an occupancy subject to Retrofit (Part 9 of the Fire Code);
  • do not contain a hazardous occupancy that has specific fire safety requirements; and
  • do not contain an institutional occupancy.

Staff assigned to inspections in this category must be able to demonstrate an acceptable level of knowledge of:

  • basic fire safety;
  • which occupancies are subject to Retrofit;
  • which hazardous occupancies have specific fire safety requirements;
  • other safety legislation and the responsible agencies (e.g., the Electrical Safety Code - Ontario Hydro);
  • portable fire extinguishers;
  • simple sprinkler systems;
  • simple fire alarm and detection systems;
  • fixed extinguishing systems; and
  • fire safety planning.

Note: Basic fire safety includes:

  • fire hazard identification; containment fundamentals;
  • means of egress fundamentals;
  • fire alarm and detection fundamentals;
  • fire suppression equipment fundamentals; and
  • human behaviour in fire situations.

Category B

Includes buildings that:

  • are greater than 600m2 in building area
  • are 6 storeys or less in height;
  • do not contain an occupancy subject to Retrofit not yet in compliance; and
  • do not contain an institutional occupancy.

In addition to the requirements of Category A, staff assigned to inspections in this category must be able to demonstrate an acceptable level of knowledge of the following:

  • scope and application of Retrofit;
  • fire safety requirements for specific hazardous occupancies;
  • large sprinkler systems;
  • large fire alarm and detection systems; and
  • standpipe and hose systems.

Category C

Includes buildings that:

  • are greater than 600m2 in building area
  • are more than 6 storeys in height;
  • do not contain an occupancy subject to Retrofit not yet in compliance; and
  • may contain an institutional occupancy that is in compliance with Retrofit.

In addition to the requirements of Category B, staff assigned to inspections in this category must be able to demonstrate an acceptable knowledge of the following:

  • firefighter elevators;
  • emergency power generators; and
  • smoke control measures.

Category D

Contains an occupancy subject to Retrofit which has not achieved compliance:

  • Category D I - Assembly Occupancies
  • Category D II - Rooming Houses, Community and Social Services
  • Category D III - Institutional Occupancies
  • Category D IV - Low Rise Residential
  • Category D V - High Rise Residential
  • Category D VI - Two Unit Residential

Note: A Method IV inspection is appropriate for this Category of buildings.

Staff assigned to inspections in this category must be able to demonstrate an acceptable level of knowledge of:

  • basic fire safety;
  • scope and application of Retrofit;
  • other safety legislation and the responsible agencies (e.g., the Electrical Safety Code - Ontario Hydro);
  • portable fire extinguishers;
  • fire alarm and detection systems;
  • fire safety planning; and
  • applicable Retrofit requirements of the Ontario Fire Code.

And where relevant, of:

  • fixed extinguishing systems (except Category D II and D VI);
  • sprinkler systems (except Category D II and D VI);
  • standpipe and hose systems (except Category D II and D VI);
  • fire fighters elevators (Categories D III and D IV only);
  • emergency power generators (Categories D III and D IV only); and
  • smoke control measures (Categories D III and D IV only).

Category E

Includes buildings that are of new construction or renovation subject to the Ontario Building Code (OBC);

  • Category E I - buildings referenced by Part 9 of the OBC;
  • Category E II - buildings referenced by Part 3 of the OBC; and
  • Category E III - high rise buildings as referenced by Subsection 3.2.6. of the OBC.

Note: A Method V inspection is appropriate for this Category of buildings.

Staff assigned to inspections in this category must be able to demonstrate an acceptable level of knowledge of:

  • basic fire safety;
  • other safety legislation and the responsible agencies (e.g., the Electrical Safety Code - Ontario Hydro);
  • portable fire extinguishers;
  • fire safety planning; and
  • applicable requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

And where relevant, of:

  • sprinkler systems;
  • fire alarm and detection systems;
  • standpipe and hose systems;
  • fire fighters elevators;
  • emergency power generators;
  • smoke control measures; and
  • fixed extinguishing systems.

Frequency of Inspections

Properties which have been identified through needs analysis to be of particular concern may warrant periodic inspections. Frequency of inspection is an important issue for periodic inspections and can affect the level of safety of inspected properties. Routine inspections, when conducted, should be conducted at a frequency that will adequately re-enforce to the owners of properties their responsibility for ensuring that their properties are constructed and maintained in a safe condition.

The purpose of inspections is to determine if owners are fulfilling their responsibilities. An inspection by the fire department does not alleviate the owner of their responsibility to maintain a fire safe property. The occupants should not have to rely on an inspection by the fire department in order for their property to be fire safe!

A frequency should be established as a target when planning an Inspection Program. This should be evaluated during the Program implementation and adjusted accordingly. Property owners who demonstrate that they maintain their properties may be inspected less frequently, or perhaps be started on a self-inspection program.

Frequency may be adjusted for specific properties, inspecting some every year and others every two years, for example, depending upon the relative risk and any other pertinent factors.

Establishing a frequency for inspection is not relevant for many types of inspections, such as complaints or new construction.

2.3.2. Development and Implementation

A fire department has to take the appropriate steps to create an effective response to fire safety issues confronting the community. In this section, guidance is provided to assist fire departments to develop and implement selected inspection programs. It is during this phase that all of the supports, operational procedures and other related material necessary to conduct the selected programs, should be developed.

It is important that all selected programs are fully developed prior to implementation. This will ensure that every issue has been addressed adequately to make the program as effective as possible.

For more specific information regarding the conduct of code enforcement inspections, refer to the Fire Safety Inspection And Enforcement Guide which is available from the Office of the Fire Marshal.

Issues of authority and responsibility should be made clear to all fire department personnel involved in an inspection program. Responsibility for complying with fire safety legislation rests with the owner of the property. The law requires owners to make their premises fire safe and to maintain them accordingly. The purpose of an inspection is to determine if a property is fire safe, and to take appropriate action if it is not. It is an offence when an owner does not comply with provincial legislation. A fire department may choose not to prosecute an owner for a noted violation if it is more appropriate to allow the owner time to correct the situation. Due to the nature of these issues, it is important to establish a policy on how to address noted violations.

It is necessary to plan an inspection program carefully so that it is effective. Prior to implementing any inspection program, the following should be taken into consideration and the appropriate policies and operating guidelines created.

  1. Consider the available resources, both human and physical, and assess whether the department has the resources necessary to conduct the program effectively. A fire department must decide who will conduct the inspections given the level of competency of the candidates.

There must be sufficient number of adequately trained staff available to carry out the duties required. These duties include field activities associated with the selected programs, as well as supervisory (directing, monitoring, and evaluating), clerical and support functions.

More staff may be needed to deliver a program or additional training required. If a program's objectives cannot be met with the available resources, it may be appropriate to modify the program (e.g. change the frequency or method of inspection) or enhance the resources available through training or assigning additional staff. Alternatively, a different program, such as a Public Safety Education Program, may be needed to achieve the desired objectives.

  1. Establish goals and measurable objectives for the program. (See also Section III).
  2. Establish an enforcement policy that includes methods to notify responsible persons of noted violations, suggested compliance times for typical violations, actions to be taken if compliance is not achieved within the allowed time, and methods for laying charges.
  3. Establish a method for recording inspection results and any relevant actions or information. These records should include:
  • a description of the property (e.g. occupancy, size, height, construction, age, occupant load, fire protection equipment, fire safety planning);
  • the date, description of the inspection, pertinent details and results of any department action relevant to a property (e.g. fire incident evaluations, inspections, follow-ups, contact with responsible persons, fire incidents, presentations, enforcement);
  • all correspondence and other information (e.g., letters, Notices of Violations, court information, incident reports).
  1. Compile the necessary report forms, inspection checklists, form letters and any other related material.
  2. Establish a means of communication with other relevant authorities.
  3. Establish a method of evaluating the results to determine the effectiveness of the program. (See Evaluating Effectiveness Section for related information.)
  4. Establish a list of properties that are subject to inspection. It may be appropriate to group the properties geographically.
  5. Conduct trial inspections to ensure that all of the issues have been adequately addressed.
  6. Ensure that staff have the skills and knowledge required to conduct inspections of the properties in each category under the program.
  7. Train staff in their program duties and responsibilities. Thoroughly explain the objectives of the program and the methods that will be used (e.g. results expected, properties subject to inspection and why, policies and duties of the program, responsibilities and liabilities of staff, reporting and recording methods, importance of evaluating the results).
  8. Assign the targeted properties or geographic groupings amongst the available staff.

Conducting Activities

Remember to keep thorough records.

a. A fire department may wish to notify the owners, or other persons responsible of properties that are subject to inspection prior to implementing a program. This may help to achieve better compliance with fire safety legislation.

b. Conduct inspections of the targeted properties in accordance with established procedures. Identify violations of applicable legislation and any other hazards. Record a description of same on a Standard Inspection Report.

c. Notify owners (or other responsible persons) of violations and other identified hazards by means of a standard Notice of Violation or other appropriate method. Explain the Notice of Violation, including its importance and fire safety relevance.

d. Prepare written records of an inspection, including a Notice of Violation or other record of hazards and violations, actions taken to notify owners of the inspection results, conversations/correspondence relevant to the inspection, and any other information.

e. Conduct timely follow-up inspections as needed to determine if violations and hazards have been remedied.

f. Enforce fire safety legislation as needed to achieve compliance and to maintain an acceptable level of fire safety.

2.4 Public Safety Education

ublic Safety Education Sub-model:-audienceSelection-message-available resources-method of delivery-duration/frequency-available programs

Public Safety Education

audienceSelection
message
available resources

method of delivery
duration/frequency

available programs

2.4.1. Selection

Description

Public safety education is a vital component of any effective fire prevention strategy. Public safety education involves raising the public's awareness and knowledge to improve the level of fire safety in the community. Education has the potential to increase the knowledge of occupants to lead to prompt and appropriate reactions in a fire situation.

Achieving this level of knowledge may:

  • reduce fire occurrence;
  • minimize injury due to fire; and
  • reduce the impact of fire.

Public safety education can still achieve positive results with limited resources provided staff are committed and implement programs effectively.

Selection

After conducting a needs analysis of the community's fire risk, several issues still need to be addressed when selecting a public safety education program, including the:

  1. goals and objectives;
  2. target audience;
  3. message and how it will be delivered;
  4. available resources;
  5. delivery of the program;
  6. duration or frequency of the message and program.

Program Goals and Objectives

A goal should be established for each program. The following goal would be appropriate for a public safety education program.

To achieve an acceptable level of fire safety for the community and to ensure the safety of its residents in the event of fire by providing the information necessary to reduce the occurrence, spread, and impact of fire.

An effective public safety education program also needs objectives that are realistic and measurable. These will help to monitor the delivery of the program and in evaluating its results. (See Section III for further details of measurable objectives.)

Audience Selection

The first step in developing an appropriate public safety education program is to determine who should be educated in the community to address the fire concerns identified in the needs analysis. Target audience(s) may be residents who are at the greatest risk of fire or those that influence these high risk groups (such as parents, teachers or employers).

Message

The message is the information that will be communicated to achieve the desired change in behaviour. When developing a message, both the audience that will be targeted and the problem that needs to be corrected must be taken into consideration. The message may be very simple (e.g. "change your clock, change your batteries") or more in-depth (e.g., fire safety planning in a high rise building, which requires training in how to develop and implement fire safety plans).

Determine The Available Resources

Create an inventory of the communication resources that are available to the fire department, including those available from the business sector, media, and community.

Using all the resources available within the community can greatly increase the efficiency of fire safety education efforts. Local newspapers and special interest publications, as well as radio and television stations can be a tremendous asset. Community groups can also be very useful in reaching certain target audiences, for example using Meals-on-Wheels or visiting nurses to help reach the disabled or elderly. Individual volunteers may also be willing to assist.

Method Of Delivery

Determine the most appropriate or available medium to deliver the safety message (e.g. television, radio, newspaper, magazine, newsletter, billboard, inserts/flyers, hand-outs, video, audio, presentation, seminar, displays).

A number of factors will affect the format chosen to deliver the information:

  1. Target audience. What it the most suitable method of contacting and educating the target audience(s)? Are these mediums cost effective?
  2. Nature of the information. What medium is the information best suited to so that the message is communicated effectively?
  3. Available resources. What resources are available to deliver the safety message and are they appropriate for that message?

Duration/Frequency

Keeping in mind the program's objectives, decide on the duration of the program and the frequency that the message will be repeated to the target audience. The message should be promoted for a sufficient length of time so that the entire target audience receives it. The message should also be repeated at a sufficient frequency to ensure that the knowledge and awareness are retained.

Types of Activities

Following are some examples of public fire safety education activities that may be incorporated into effective programs. There are any number of programs available, limited only by the planners' resources and imagination.

Combining several types of activity to reach one or more target groups can be particularly effective. Successful programs such as Learn Not to Burn, Alarmed for Life and the more recent Older and Wiser and Risk Watch use a combination of activities to achieve the maximum educational benefits.

Programs such as TAPP-C (The Arson Prevention Program for Children) are effective because they combine elements of fire safety education (educating the juvenile fire-setter and caregiver) with inspections (of the juvenile fire-setter's home).

In School Programs

Description: Presentation of fire safety information to school children by fire department staff or others. This can be a simple presentation type activity or can be a comprehensive education program delivered by school teachers as part of the regular school curriculum, such as Learn Not to Burn. Learn Not to Burn is supported and re-enforced by the fire department and teaches essential fire safety skills to children from pre-school to Grade Eight.

Results: Improves fire safety awareness and knowledge among school children with a resultant improvement in fire safety behaviour. It also helps to improve the awareness and knowledge of children's parents.

Considerations: Requires the co-operation and support of the school board and teaching staff.

Displays

Description: Setting up a display and posting fire safety information in a public location such as a mall. The display may be attended by fire department staff to provide information to passersby.

Results: Increases the profile of the fire department and provides some improvement in fire safety awareness and knowledge of passersby.

Considerations: Contact with individuals is typically very brief which restricts the amount of information that can be provided.

Public Service Announcements

Description: The use of various media such as radio, television and newspapers to widely distribute a fire safety message.

Results: Improves fire safety awareness and knowledge.

Considerations: Some media may not be appropriate for specific problems (i.e. radio is limited as it does not have a visual component).

Presentations

Description: Presentation of fire safety information to a group of people in a lecture format. Groups may include interested parties such as community service groups and apartment occupants, or they may be "captive" audiences at a community function such as a bingo or ratepayers meeting. A presentation may involve the use of training aids (e.g. slides or videos).

Results: Improves the fire safety awareness and knowledge of the targeted group.

Considerations: A considerable amount of information can be delivered to a large group at a low cost.

Training Sessions

Description: Fire safety training for property owners, managers, supervisors, maintenance persons, and other appropriate personnel to ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities. (An example is the High Rise Superintendents Course).

Results: Improves the ability of these persons to maintain their properties in a fire safe condition.

Considerations: Usually limited in the number of persons that can be reached.

Station Visits

Description: Conducting tours or open-houses at fire stations to interested community groups such as school children or Scouts/Guides. Includes the provision of fire safety information and training.

Results: Improves fire safety awareness and knowledge of the group. It also increases the profile of the fire department in the community.

Considerations: Effective in increasing fire safety awareness and knowledge of the group but this method is limited in the number of groups or people that can be reached.

2.4.2. Development and Implementation

This is the planning stage for public safety education programs. During this stage, all of the supporting information, operational procedures and related material necessary to successfully conduct the selected programs, should be developed. It is important that any selected programs be fully developed prior to implementation. This will ensure that all important matters are addressed and that the program will be as effective as possible.

Public safety education will form an integral and essential part of your fire prevention strategy. Developing an effective program will require comprehensive planning and an assessment of available community resources.

  1. Consider the available resources, both human and physical.
  2. Establish the goals and measurable objectives of your program.
  3. Determine what message will be necessary to address the fire safety concerns of the community.
  4. Determine the specific format of the message, including "How, What, When and Where" of the program).
  5. Design, produce and/or purchase the materials necessary for the program.
  6. Assign responsibility for the program and its various activities to fire department staff.
  7. Establish a method for recording and evaluating the results of the program. This should include: audience information, numbers, names, materials information, number of pamphlets distributed, length of presentation, venue information, name of host organization, location, a description of the activity conducted, including what information was imparted and medium used and any other relevant information.
  8. Determine where and when the message will be delivered.
  9. Program duties and responsibilities should be explained to staff. Staff should be adequately trained to carry out the activities associated with the program. Consider that staff may be asked for information beyond the immediate scope of the program.

2.5 Fire Incident Evaluation

ire Incident Evaluation sub-model:-using the information-select fire incidents subject to fire incident evaluation-levels of fire incident evaluation

 

Fire Incident Evaluation

using the information
select fire incidents subject to fire incident evaluation
levels of fire incident evaluation

2.5.1. Selection

Description

A Fire Incident Evaluation Program consists of gathering information relevant to fire occurrences by visually and physically examining the site and interviewing those who are involved. The purpose of gathering such information is to gain an understanding of what occurred so that the appropriate actions may be taken to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Fire Incident Evaluations of fire occurrences may provide the data necessary to assess the impact of fire on the community. It may also provide the information necessary to conduct a thorough needs analysis and an evaluation of the effectiveness of fire safety programs. Fire Incident Evaluations, cause determination and subsequent actions may result in a reduced occurrence of fires.

A Fire Incident Evaluation program requires a sufficient number of adequately trained staff to conduct the appropriate evaluations. A department's involvement in Fire Incident Evaluation has to be conducted in cooperation with the Fire Investigation Program of the Office of the Fire Marshal.

Selection

Several issues must be addressed when selecting a Fire Incident Evaluation program:

  1. the objective of the program;
  2. how the information gathered will be used;
  3. which fires will be evaluated, and
  4. what information will be gathered during the evaluation. This is identified as the level of Fire Incident Evaluation.

It is important to emphasize that the best results will be achieved by evaluating all fires. Also, Fire Incident Evaluations should include a review of the performance of the property and its occupants.

Program Goals and Objectives

A goal should be established for each program. The following goal would be appropriate for a Fire Incident Evaluation program:

To evaluate fire incidents and gather pertinent information to enhance the level of fire safety of the community.

An effective fire incident evaluation program also needs objectives that are realistic and measurable. These will help to monitor the delivery of the program and in evaluating its results. (See Section III for further details of measurable objectives.)

Using The Information

Determine specifically how the information collected will be used. Any information gathered will be useful in assessing and analyzing the impact of fire on the community. It will also be essential in evaluating the fire safety programs conducted by a fire department. However, the information may be used for other purposes, such as legal action, amending existing inspection or public safety education programs, implementing additional programs, reviewing or revising fire suppression activities and identifying needed legislative changes.

Select The Fire Incidents Subject To Fire Incident Evaluation

A program can be designed to provide a complete evaluation of every fire that occurs in the community or it can be restricted to certain categories of fires. The fires may be categorized according to the type of fire incident, the property or occupancy where it occurred, or the occupant that was involved (e.g. the elderly).

Before establishing which fires will be evaluated, the resources available will need to be assessed. Other considerations include how the information gathered will be used and the community's fire risk identified in the needs analysis.

Levels Of Fire Incident Evaluation

The type of Fire Incident Evaluation refers to the amount of information gathered at a scene. The level selected depends upon the amount of information required to understand the fire situation and to determine the effectiveness of fire safety programs.

Information from fire incidents is required to evaluate inspection and fire safety education activities. Basic information from each incident is also required by the Office of the Fire Marshal to compile provincial fire loss information.

Standard Incident Report

The Standard Incident Report must be completed by suppression staff, or other designated staff, as required under the Fire Marshals Act. The Casualty Report must also be completed as appropriate.

Expanded Incident Report

Suppression staff, or other designated staff, may complete an additional report (created by the fire department), ancillary to the Standard Incident Report, to gather more information that is relevant to the fire and the community's fire safety issues.

Examples of information that may be collected would include:

  • status of compliance with fire safety legislation
  • compliance with any smoke alarm by-laws

Basic Fire Incident Evaluation

An evaluation of a fire incident by designated staff and the completion of an report that addresses the issues the department has established as fundamental to its programs. This may involve a physical examination of the fire scene and/or appropriate interviews.

Information that may be collected would include:

  • occupants' reaction to emergency and any relevance to fire safety education programs
  • whether fire spread outside of the room of origin, and if so, why
  • impact of containment, alarm and detection, egress and built-in suppression features on the fire incident

Detailed Fire Incident Evaluation

A detailed evaluation of a fire incident by designated staff and the completion of a detailed report that addresses all fire safety issues relevant to the fire incident. This may include building performance, occupant performance, and the effect of fire department programs. It may also include an evaluation of fire suppression effectiveness which would require a physical examination of the fire scene and appropriate interviews.

Levels Of Skills/Knowledge

The level of knowledge of staff conducting fire incident evaluations would depend upon the amount and type of information gathered.

2.5.2. Development and Implementation

This is the planning stage for Fire Incident Evaluation programs. During this stage, all of the supporting information, operational procedures and other related material necessary to successfully conduct the selected programs, should be developed.

It is important that selected programs are fully developed prior to implementation. This will ensure that every issue has been addressed adequately to make the program as effective as possible.

A Fire Incident Evaluation program must be well planned with the scope and intent of the program clearly defined and understood. There must be good communications with the Office of the Fire Marshal's Investigators to ensure that the proper process is followed for fire incidents that require their involvement.

A Fire Incident Evaluation program must be carefully planned so that it is effective. Prior to implementing any Fire Incident Evaluation program, the following should be considered.

  1. Consider the available resources, both human and physical. Assess whether the department has the resources necessary to conduct a fire incident evaluations program given the level of competency of staff. Additional training or support may be needed.
  2. Establish the goals and measurable objectives of your program.
  3. Determine what actions to take depending upon the information gathered.
  4. Establish a method for recording fire incident evaluations results and any relevant actions or information. These records should include:
  • a description of the property (e.g. occupancy, size, height, construction, age, occupant load, fire protection equipment, fire safety planning);
  • the date, description of the evaluation, pertinent details and results of any fire department actions relevant to the property (e.g. fire incident evaluations, inspections, follow-ups, contact with responsible persons, fire incidents, presentations);
  • all correspondence and other information (e.g. letters, Notices of Violations, court information, incident reports).
  1. Compile the necessary report forms, fire incident evaluation checklists, form letters and other related material.
  2. Establish a means of communication with other relevant authorities.
  3. Establish a method of evaluating the results to determine the effectiveness of the program. (See Evaluating Effectiveness Section for related information.)
  4. Conduct a trial fire incident evaluation to ensure that all of the issues have been adequately addressed.
  5. Train staff in their program duties and responsibilities. Thoroughly explain the objectives of the program and the methods that will be used to achieve these objectives (e.g. results expected, policies and duties of the program, responsibilities of staff, reporting and recording methods, the importance of evaluating the results).

Conducting Activities

  1. Conduct a fire incident evaluation of fire incidents in accordance with the procedures established for the program.
  2. Identify and document pertinent information that is relevant to the scope of the Fire Incident Evaluation Program (e.g. fire cause, area of origin, status of property, action of occupants). Note that some type of standard form should be developed for this purpose.
  3. Notify the appropriate authority of any relevant results (e.g. Office of the Fire Marshal Investigators, Police).

Note: If it is determined that an Office of the Fire Marshal Investigation is required, all evaluation activities must stop. Ensure that the scene is secured.

  1. Act on pertinent information in accordance with the scope and policies established for the Fire Incident Evaluation Program (e.g. enforcement of fire safety legislation, relaying information for input to other programs (Inspection, Public Safety Education).
  2. Record actions and results in a standard fashion.