The Fire Prevention and Life Safety division provides various services to the public including: plans review, code enforcement through fire inspections, public education programs, and fire investigation services. The following is a brief description of each area.
The Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention and Life Safety is Nancy Macdonald-Duncan. With 30 years of combined Licenced Paralegal experience in fire code prosecutions, along with experience working with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office and directly in the fire service, Macdonald-Duncan heads up a division of 44 full-time employees in various sections. Nancy was grandfathered NFPA I031 Inspector I and fulfilled the gap course requirements to obtain her NFPA 1031 Inspector II. Nancy is a Licenced Paralegal and brings years of experience in fire code prosecutions. In addition, Nancy has training and experiences as a Fire and Explosion Investigator and public educator and has been an adjunct instructor at the Ontario Fire College for over ten (10) years.
Fire Plans Examination
The Fire Plans Examination section consists of a Supervisor and seven (7) Plan Examiners. Located on the 2nd floor of the Civic Centre (North tower elevators) and adjacent to the Building Inspection section, the group provides integrated customer service related to building permit applications as well as various development applications.
A critical role in the building permit review process, the Fire Plans Examination group ensures that all fire and life safety requirements of the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code, Municipal By-laws and associated standards are addressed prior to the issuance of a building permit. Items under Fire's jurisdiction include, but are not limited to, fire alarm systems, automatic fire sprinkler systems, emergency power systems, emergency lighting systems, hose and standpipe systems, commercial cooking exhaust systems, special fire suppression systems, hazardous processes/operations and protection, smoke control systems and high-rise fire safety measures.
Also participating in the development applications process, Fire Plans Examination is charged with the responsibility to review submissions for site plan approval, fire access routes, site servicing, sub-division agreements, land division agreements and committee of adjustment and rezoning applications.
Working with hundreds of different Acts, Codes, regulations and referenced standards, staff must keep their knowledge level current, accurate and of a high standard in order to deal effectively with Architects and Professional Engineers on a daily basis. Staff qualifications include Master of Applied Science in Fire Protection Engineering (P. Eng.), Limited Engineering License (LEL), Certified Engineering Technologists (CET), Certified Engineering Technicians (C. Tech), Bachelor of Engineering, Certified Fire Protection Specialists (CFPS) Certified Fire Prevention Officers (FPO), NFPA 1031 Standard for professional Qualifications for Fire Inspectors and Plans Examiners, Certified Building Code Officials and/or equivalent diplomas.
Through their involvement with the building permit and development application process, this group is involved with over 4000 reviews annually. Current technology utilizes a desktop terminal connected to the City of Mississauga's, Mississauga Approval Xpress (MAX) and E-Plans systems. Both are used to track the status of these applications with Fire Plans Examination review comments being seamlessly entered as an integral component of building permit and planning applications and associated status reports. This ability streamlines and ultimately reduces processing time and produces a comprehensive report of all permit related comments. This group also provides valuable technical support to the Fire Inspection, Building Department staff and other City departments.
The Fire Inspections group currently consists of 32 staff that has Fire Code, Building Code, By-law and complaint inspection and enforcement duties throughout the City. Geographically divided into five (5) prevention areas (Centre, North West, North East, South West and South East) each inspection group has a Captain with 5 (five) or 6 (six) Fire Inspectors.
Called on to wear numerous hats, all Fire Inspectors are Certified Building Code Inspectors, Assistants to the Fire Marshal and By-law Enforcement Officers as well as Provincial Offences Officers for the purposes of Prosecutions.
Conducting over 14,000 inspections annually, the division is charged with ensuring the fire safety of the public and their fellow firefighters.
Named under the Building Officials By-law staff ensure all life safety and fire protection systems required by the Building Code are installed and operate as intended for all new construction. Fire Inspectors conduct building code inspections related to the issuance of over 1600 permits annually within a building stock of approximately 27,000 occupancies.
Once the new construction is completed and signed off, the Fire Inspectors change hats to conduct Fire Code and complaint inspections to ensure that property use, fire and life safety systems, hazardous operations and processes are maintained and/or conducted in conformance with the Ontario Fire Code, municipal By-laws and a variety of referenced regulations, standards and guidelines.
Staff qualifications include Certified Engineering Technician (CET), Certified Fire Prevention Officer (FPO), NFPA 1031 Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Inspectors and Plans Examiners, Certified Building Code Officials, Certified Public Fire and Life Safety Educator (PFLSE) and/or equivalent accreditations. While all types of inspections conducted may result in the issuance of Inspection Orders, the ultimate goal is to achieve compliance. In conjunction with inspection activities staff provide an educational awareness of fire safety requirements and the responsibilities of the owner to meet code standards.
It is the role of the Fire Inspector to enforce the minimum life safety standards of the Ontario Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code within all buildings in their jurisdiction. The divisional goal is to be able to inspect all existing industrial, commercial and multi-tenant occupancies at least once a year; however, the reality of limited resources has resulted in the 'Mandatory Inspection Program'. This program identifies high life risk occupancies such as Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Hotels where annual inspections are conducted. As our Comprehensive Risk Assessment response plan develops, and projected new construction levels decline, additions to the Mandatory Inspections list will increase.
Fire Cause Determination
In Mississauga, all fire incidents are investigated, regardless of dollar loss, to determine the cause. Protocol requires a Fire Prevention Officer to attend at the scene to investigate when fire loss exceeds $100,000, when the Assistant Chief feels further investigation is necessary to secure evidence, or when the Fire Marshal’s Investigator is required to attend the scene.
If investigation identifies that the fire was caused by arson, the scene becomes a crime scene. The Peel Regional Police and the Ontario Fire Marshal Investigators are then called in to prepare the case to bring the offender to trial.
Fire investigators are qualified in accordance with NFPA 1033 Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigators and NFPA 921 being the Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.
Public Education is mandated by the Fire Prevention and Protection Act and is generally performed by two (2) full-time PFLSEs responsible for the implementation of educational programs to serve a wide variety of groups within the community.
The divisional goal is to have all Fire Inspectors qualified to NFPA 1035, the Standard on Fire and Life Safety Educators, Public Information Officer, Youth Fire setter Intervention Specialist and Youth Fire setter Program Manager professional Qualifications to assist in educating target groups and industry within the City. Programs are geared to provide a range of fire prevention, life safety, injury prevention and fire safe learning behaviours for all members of the public.
Currently, several programs are in place and used year round to convey these important lessons, information and behaviours. From the vulnerable, such as infants and seniors, "Remembering When" (seniors programs) to young school aged children, (Risk Watch, TAPP - C, Firefighter in the Community, Firefighter Careers) as well as for Commercial and Industrial customers, Fire Warden Training, Fire Extinguisher Training, Evacuation Drills and Cooking for Teens.
Always looking for the opportunity to get the fire safety message out to large numbers of residents, PFLSEs attend public and community events such as Fire Prevention Week, Christmas Fire Safety at Dixie Outlet mall, Movie Nights at Celebration Square throughout the summer, Crime Prevention, Bernie Home Safe seminar talks as well as numerous individual shows at malls, businesses and stores throughout the year.
Our Fire Safety House is a great tool used to enhance and reinforce existing education programs and the fire safety messages presently offered by our PFLSEs.
Fire Prevention and Life Safety division’s operations are supported by four (4) full-time Administrative Assistants. Whether by phone, email or at the counter, the Admin support staff are generally the first contact for customers looking for the services we provide.
Providing a range of essential support duties, from phone reception and counter service, to maintaining occupancy based records system of 27,000 files, these staff maintains the records and documents related to the daily operation of the Fire Prevention and Life Safety division such as: Inspection Orders, Prosecutions and Summonses, Burning Permits, updating file contact information, to taking general telephone enquiries and complaint information.
Fire Prevention and Life Safety’s support staff can be found at the Civic Centre on the 2nd floor (N tower side) working Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fire Prevention Division Mississauga Fire & Emergency Services