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 Jamie Zimmerman. With 30 years experience in the fire service, Zimmerman heads up a division of 42 full time employees in various sections. Jamie is a graduate of the Ontario Fire College and holds a certificate in Fire Service Leadership from Dalhousie University, in Fire and Explosion Investigator, NFPA Fire Inspector 1 and NFPA Public Information Officer with the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management.
Fire Plans Examination
The Fire Plans Examination Section consists of a Supervisor and five (5) 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 to building permit applicants. A critical role in the building permit review process, the Fire Plans 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, hazardous processes/operations and protection, smoke control systems and high-rise fire safety measures.
Also participating in the development applications process, 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 Certified Engineering Technician (CET), Bachelor of Engineering, Certified Fire Prevention Officer (FPO), 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 utilizing a desktop terminal connected to the City of Mississauga's, Mississauga Approval Xpress (MAX) System is used to tracks the status of these reviews with Fire Plans review comments being seamlessly entered as an integral component of building permit and planning application 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 of the Fire Inspection and Building Department staff.
The Fire Inspections group currently consists of 30 staff that have, Fire Code, Building Code, Bylaw and Complaint inspection and enforcement duties throughout the city.
Geographically divided into four prevention areas (North West, North East, South East and South West) each inspection group has a Captain with 6 or 7 Inspectors.
Called on to wear numerous hats, all Prevention 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 bylaw, inspection staff ensure all life safety and fire protection systems required by the Building Code are in place and operate as intended for all new construction. Inspectors conduct building code inspections related to the issuance of over 1600 permits annually in a building stock of approximately 27,000 occupancies.
Once the new construction is completed and signed off, the inspectors change hats to conduct Fire Code and complaint inspections to ensure building fire and life safety systems are maintained in conformance with the Ontario Fire Code and municipal By-laws.
Staff qualifications include Certified Engineering Technician (CET), Certified Fire Prevention Officer (FPO), Certified Building Code Officials, Certified Public Fire and Life Safety Educator (PFLSE) and/or equivalent diplomas.
While all types of inspections conducted may result in the issuance of Inspection Orders, the ultimate goal is to achieve compliance while at the same time providing an educational awareness of fire safety requirements and identifying the responsibilities of the owner to meet those requirements.
It is the role of the 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 new City development trails off, and the need for building permit inspections with it, additions to the Mandatory Inspections list will increase.
Fire Prevention and Life Safety has a full time Training Officer dedicated to the training and professional development of the entire division. Training new recruits, conducting promotional examinations, arranging and facilitating training activities and courses for current staff, as well as researching new fire safety regulations and technologies are the primary responsibilities.
Public Education is mandated by the Fire Prevention and Protection Act and is generally performed by two full time PFLSE responsible for the implementation of educational programs to serve a wide variety of groups within the community. The divisional goal is to have all Inspectors certified 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, Cooking for Teens.
Always looking for the opportunity to get the Fire Safety message out to large numbers of residents, Pub Ed attend public and community events such as Canada Day Celebrations, Port Credit Waterfront Festival, Fire Prevention Week and 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 Public Fire Safety Educators.
Fire Prevention and Life Safety Division operations are supported by four (4) full-time uniformed Administrative Assistants. Whether by phone, 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 our occupancy based records system of 27,000 files.
These staff, maintain the records and documents related to the daily operation of the Prevention division: Inspection Orders, Prosecutions and Summonses, Burning Permits, updating file contact information, to taking general telephone enquiries and complaint information.
Fire Cause Determination
In Mississauga, all fire incidents are investigated to determine the cause, regardless of dollar loss. Protocol requires a fire prevention officer to attend at the scene to investigate when fire loss exceeds $100,000.00, when the District Chief feels further investigation is necessary to determine the cause, where evidence is to be secured, where a death, explosion or criminal act is involved also requiring a Fire Marshal's Investigator to attend the scene.
If initial investigation of the scene suggests 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 the lead Investigators called in to prepare the case to bring the offender to trial.
In 1993, a Vehicle Arson Task Force was created by Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services, Peel Regional Police and the Brampton Fire Department. The task force investigates all vehicle fires occurring within their jurisdictions. The results have been a reduced number of vehicle arson frauds and an overall reduction in the number of vehicle arsons within the Region.
Fire Prevention Division Mississauga Fire & Emergency Services