Changing behaviours one person at a time

Changing behaviours one person at a time

A true story has made some people in Ottawa consider the importance of keeping apartment unit balconies free and clear of possessions.

Randy Thorpe, Fire Prevention Officer with Ottawa Fire Services (now retired) was doing an inspection in downtown Ottawa.  He ran into a pumper doing a street drill and told the crew that he was doing an inspection.  The conversation was about hoarding and fire safety. The FPO relayed the importance of telling tenants who hoard to keep their balconies clear as there was the potential for heavy winds to pick up belongings and send them crashing to the ground. There was also the possibility for these tenants to be severely injured or even killed by their own possessions while they are out walking.

“Within a couple of minutes of telling the firefighters what I do, a heavy box came down to the ground that could have killed someone. What a coincidence. We were all shocked,” said Thorpe.

After the incident, Thorpe spoke with the custodian of the apartment building and informed him of the potential for injury when balconies are overloaded for storage.  And re-telling the story had an even greater impact on public safety: tenants, who were hoarding in another building, promptly cleaned up their balconies after hearing it.