Robert Patton

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  • in reply to: Fire Prevention Staff Safety #2591
    Robert PattonRobert Patton


    Toronto did have radios with an emergency button at one time in history for Inspectors. They were removed all at once and replaced with cell phones. Our concern:
    a) safety and b) radios were part of our everyday responsibilities such as Ontario Building Code inspections and definitely an asset when conducting fire alarm testing etc. Other issues that came up relying on radios was “dead zones” so communication was impossible without a repeater (District Chief vehicles). In addition, our communications division didn’t want to be burdened with our over the air requests when conducting fire alarm testing in a building or attending a fire drill, etc. Interesting though, our new Deputy did address this and was concerned that radios were not provided.

    As for safety, post fire evaluations whether or not the OFM is present are conducted by Inspectors but the inspection is limited. Exposure is not acceptable. Therefore, we presently have a volunteer list of individuals that have been SCBA trained and mask fit tested. We totally rely on our OPS guys for our safety. This would also apply in “hoarding” situations where our staff may be exposed to airborne particulate such a animal feces, human feces, bedbugs, etc. Full SCBA is required. No respirators. If potential contaminants are “unknown” filter type respirators are not recommended. Full SCBA is.

    Toronto staff recently in conjunction with CAMH attended a mandatory “De-escalation training” session which was very informative and useful for front line staff. First of its kind. I have been on the department for 22 years and never received training for personal protection. Had to rely on experience and the “spidey” sense. I must say that over the last few years, reports of verbal threats, owners punching walls and yelling at our staff appears to be on the increase. In my opinion, it is just a matter of time before an Inspector gets injured as the threat is underestimated and no proactive steps are taken historically until someone is injured. Cheers.

    in reply to: Electronic devices used for inspections #2590
    Robert PattonRobert Patton


    Toronto utilizes IPADS with a web based “ONE STEP” software version for the fire prevention. Version 8.1 IPADs. Various apps (city approved) such as google maps etc. In use since 2014 approx. IPAD has a 9 1/2 inch screen with 12 gb capacity.

    – Timing out issues with the software
    – Printing is an issue until recently where only 4 locations can be selected by Inspectors to print
    – Ergonomically difficult
    – Inspectors prefer the desk top version of the software and not the web base
    – Inspection details with software – updates every hour so any inputs such as complaints, referrals, etc information will be delayed so usually Captains will assign it and send an email so the information doesn’t get missed.

    – Excellent for photos
    – Mapping is excellent to avoid papercuts from the paperback map books
    – Access to instant information such as Ontario Fire Code, NFPA, etc


    in reply to: Murals on exit doors #2589
    Robert PattonRobert Patton

    We found a mural for an exit door that resembled a bookshelf for a nursing home last year that we had removed. Referred to as “Exit Diversion” for Alzheimer / dementia residents / patients. Our fire department does not have a policy in place addressing murals on exit doors. We had mixed opinions amongst our group. Ontario Fire Code is silent with respect the mural. The flame spread characteristics of the mural at the time of inspection were not available. The following link and info may be of assistance:

    Society of Fire Protection Engineers:

    Disguised Doors in Health Care
    The provisions of 18/ permit doors to have murals that disguise the door might be helpful in dementia units, provided five conditions are met. The door that has a mural must be a door that is permitted to be locked such as the doors for egressing a sleeping unit, including cross-corridor doors and doors to exit stair enclosures.

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