If you discover a fire, always call 9-1-1. Never assume someone else has already called 9-1-1. Give your name, building address and the location of the fire. For all other safety concerns, please call Toronto Community Housing's Community Safety Unit at 416-921-2323.
Toronto Community Housing works with Toronto Fire Services to inform and engage tenants about fire safety. Fire safety is a top priority in Toronto Community Housing, and we are committed to promoting fire prevention in our communities.
The purpose of insurance is to protect a household from unexpected events that may occur and help cover the costs to replace items. In situations of loss, theft or damages to the home, Toronto Community Housing's corporate insurance only covers damages to the building or the property owned by the organization. Tenants' belongings or anything that tenants bring into their home are not covered.
Tenants should get tenant insurance to protect their household belongings. You can contact Housing Services Corporation to apply for tenant insurance. You can pick up an application at your hub office or apply online.
All tenants of Toronto Community Housing are eligible to get tenant insurance coverage. Tenants on Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) can apply to have a portion of their income go toward their tenant insurance coverage.
Learn more about the Tenant Insurance Program offered to tenants of Toronto Community Housing.
False fire alarms
Toronto Community Housing spends about $3 million a year from approximately 3000 false fire alarm calls. This reduces the money used for community safety improvements, repairs, resident services and other programs.
You should only pull the fire alarm when there is a fire because:
- It is an unnecessary distraction for residents and staff.
- The alarm forces emergency vehicles to come to the scene when they could be putting out a real fire.
- The alarm creates panic among tenants.
- Can contribute to ‘alarm fatigue’ where people may not believe an alarm is ringing for a real reason. This may put then in danger in the event of a real fire or emergency.
Smoke/Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms
There is a smoke/CO alarm installed in every Toronto Community Housing home. The smoke alarm goes off when it detects smoke in the unit and will warn you by sounding an alarm. CO alarms will warn you if the level of carbon monoxide, an odourless gas, is too high. Never remove or tamper with the smoke/CO alarm, it is against the law.
If your smoke alarm goes off when there is smoke from cooking but no fire, fan the smoke away from the alarm or push the “hush” button. If you are in an apartment or high-rise, then open a window to vent out the smoke.
If the alarm sounds when there is no smoke, press the “hush” button then call the Client Care Centre.
Toronto Community Housing's staff check that the smoke/CO alarm is working every time they enter the unit and during the annual inspection. If the smoke/CO alarm is not working or nearing expiry, it will be repaired or replaced.
If you disable, remove or refuse access to check and maintain the smoke/CO alarm, you are putting yourself, your family, and your neighbours at risk. We will notify Toronto Fire Services who will send you a warning letter. You may be charged for repairs and could be fined up to $50,000 plus court fees. If this happens more than two times, you will face eviction.
If your smoke/CO alarm is not working in your home, please contact the Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500 or inform your building's Superintendent immediately.
Fire safety tips
Preparing your household for a fire emergency
Create a fire safety plan so everyone in your household knows what to do in an emergency.
Create an emergency kit and know where it is located in your home.
Purchase tenant insurance to protect your household belongings.
If there is a fire
If there is a fire and you are unable to put it out, pull the nearest fire alarm and call 9-1-1.
If you are able to leave your home, do so using the nearest exit.
If you are unable to leave your home, seal all cracks where smoke can enter by using wet towels or sheets and cover mail slots and ventilation outlets with tape.
Keep your kitchen safe
Keep your stove clean and keep anything that can catch fire such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, shopping bags and paper towel away from the top of the stove.
Don't leave the room while cooking.
Turn pot handles inward so you don’t bump them and children can’t reach them.
Open a window to clear cooking smells.
Do not open your apartment door; it will let smoke into the hall and set off the building's fire alarm system.
Do not open a window or prop open a door if there is a fire. If you cannot put out the fire quickly, leave your home immediately, make sure the door is closed behind you, pull the nearest fire alarm, and call 9-1-1.
If your smoke alarm goes off while you're cooking, push the "hush" button. This will quiet the alarm while the smoke clears.
Never move a pot or pan that is on fire.
Never disconnect a smoke alarm.
Be careful when smoking
Always use deep sturdy ashtrays or cans and place them away from anything that can burn.
Do not leave cigarettes burning when you leave the room.
Do not smoke in bed.
Do not throw cigarette butts off a balcony
Be careful with flammable materials
Keep lighters and matches in a safe place.
Do not leave candles burning when you leave the room or before going to bed.
Do not throw flammable materials like paint, ammonia, or oil down the garbage chute.
Ask your Superintendent how you can throw away flammable materials safely.
Do not overload electrical outlets
Plugging too many electronics or appliances into one outlet using extension cords or power bars is a fire hazard. Unplug things you are not using to make room for what you need.
Use CSA Group-approved electrical devices.
Excessive clutter creates fire hazards
Too much clutter creates fire hazards. Keep your home clean and free of clutter. If you or someone you know needs help managing clutter, call the Client Care Centre at 416-981-5500. We will get you the help you need.
Items left in hallways are a hazard
Items left in hallways are a hazard. If you have a piece of furniture or other items to throw away, never leave them in the hallway. Call 416-981-5500 to find out how and where you can throw away large items.
Pack a “grab-and-go" bag
A “grab-and-go" bag should have the important information you might need in an emergency. Use any bag. Keep this bag near your front door so you can grab it when you need to leave your home quickly in an emergency.
What you need to build a “grab-and-go" bag
A list of important contact numbers, including:
- Your guardian or emergency contact(s)
- Family and friends
- Special care provider or support worker
- Doctor's office
- Insurance company information
Other important items:
- An extra set of keys
- A copy of bank books and some cash
- Extra glasses, contact lenses, and/or hearing aid batteries
- A change of underwear
- A bottle of water
- A blanket
- Pet food and medicine (if needed regularly) and a photocopy of your pet's shots/vaccinations
Your “grab-and-go" bag should also include:
- A copy of your photo identification
- One week's worth of prescription drugs, medical supplies and special equipment.
- An information sheet about your special needs or accessibility challenge(s).
- Foods that meet your dietary needs.
- Information about your allergies.
- Copies of your hospital cards.
If you have special needs, need a support person, or use life-sustaining equipment:
- Tell Toronto Community Housing and arrange in advance for someone to check on you if there is an emergency.
- Wear a MedicAlert bracelet or carry an identification card.
- Carry a personal alarm that makes a loud noise so you can signal for help if you need it.
- Label your equipment and attach instructions on how to use and move it.
- Be prepared
- Who else should be on your emergency contact list?
- What else might you need in an emergency?
The City of Toronto observes Fire Safety Awareness month every June. Toronto Community Housing partners with Toronto Fire Services during the month of June to provide face-to-face education with tenants on fire safety.
National Fire Prevention Week is observed during the week in which October 9 falls. Visit the National Fire Protection Association website for more information about fire prevention and safety tips.
For more information about how to prepare for an emergency, visit the City of Toronto's Office of Emergency Management website or the Emergency Management Ontario website.