Residence Fire Safety

General

University of Toronto’s residences are Fire Prevention’s top priority. We provide fire safety seminars and brochures as requested for residences and fire alarm systems are tested on a diligent schedule. Any repairs to fire safety systems are carried out with urgent priority.

Automatic Fire Detection

Residences on the St. George Campus are well-equipped with automatic fire detection and warning devices. Each suite, and every sleeping room not classified as part of a suite, is protected by both a local smoke alarm (a self-contained unit that will sound its own alarm), and a heat detector connected to the building fire alarm system. In addition, the residence corridors and stairways are protected by smoke detectors, which are also part of the building fire alarm system.

The smoke alarm is designed to awaken you in the early stages of development, if a fire starts within your suite. The majority of smoke alarms in residences are battery-operated, and will sound an intermittent warning ‘peep’ when the battery voltage becomes low. If this happens, contact your residence Porter’s office for a replacement battery. Don’t leave the unit without power for any longer than absolutely necessary.

Heat detectors in suites provide others in the building with warning in case of fire. If a fire starts in your room when you’re away, the heat detector will be activated before the fire spreads to the corridor, automatically sounding the alarm to evacuate the building.

Smoke detectors are installed in residence corridors and stairshafts to protect your means of egress – your exit route. Because most fire fatalities are the result of smoke, not heat, any buildup in the means of egress must be detected early, so that the corridors and stairs are still passable when the alarm sounds.

The fire alarm system is installed for your protection. It is mandatory to leave the building if the alarm is sounding (see FAQs – Do I Have to Leave… and Procedures – Fire Emergencies for additional information).

Other Fire Protection Systems

In addition to the fire alarm system, there are other fire protection measures that are included in residences:

Sprinklers are installed in the basements of all residences, to provide below-grade fire suppression. This greatly aids firefighting, since emergency response personnel have to descend into the fire area, against the rising heat. Sprinklers will contain, and in most cases, completely extinguish a fire prior to the arrival of the Fire Department.

The corridor and exit system are critical for safe evacuation. For this reason, it’s important to keep fire doors closed unless they are held open magnetically and automatically released by the fire alarm system. Try to remember – if you discover a fire in your room, make sure the door is closed as you leave. This will help to keep the corridor smoke-free for as long as possible. Also, don’t store anything in the corridor. Storage can become deadly in the event of a real fire, causing people to trip as they try to escape. A few breaths of toxic
smoke that it could cost someone could make the difference between survival and becoming a statistic (See Policies – Corridors, Exits & Stairs).

Fire hoses in cabinets are for use by emergency response personnel. They can be effective in bringing a fire under control if used by a trained individual in a timely manner.

Fire extinguishers are installed in the corridors of residences (generally inside the fire hose cabinets). These can knock out a fire if used properly in the early stages of its development (see Fire Extinguishers for instruction for use).

Please remember that ALL fire equipment is there to protect you. Its misuse and/or vandalism impacts your safety.

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