Why Your Condo Board Must Include Residents In Fire Safety Plans

Condo fire safety plans

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High-rise buildings in Ontario require fire safety plans under section 2.8 of the Ontario Fire Code. As a critical part of building safety, everyone who lives and works in the building must understand how the plan works and their role when a fire alarm goes off. Here we look at why your condo board must include residents in your fire safety plans to ensure it is followed as efficiently as possible.

Understanding What to Do In Case of Emergency

Your fire plan tells residents what to do in case of an emergency, the implications of an alarm and how not responding or responding inappropriately can impact their safety. Understanding the function of safety features/systems in the building and how to proceed can also avoid a flood of concerned residents interfering with condo personnel trying to perform their roles when an emergency is in progress. 

When residents know what to do, they can decide when it is necessary to evacuate, understand proper evacuation protocols and see how reacting appropriately can help keep everyone safe.   

Educational Sessions for Informed Decisions

Building staff must conduct quarterly fire drills to maintain proof of their training and ongoing testing. However, for residents to receive training on emergency safety, your board should provide annual educational sessions. 

Annual community reviews of your site-specific fire plan ensure as many residents as possible understand how individual inaction or improper action during an emergency contribute to resident safety. It also allows residents to make informed decisions when an alarm is sounded.  

Educational sessions include:

  • Procedures for persons requiring assistance (PRA) during a building evacuation
  • Ensuring everyone who requires assistance appears on the PRA list for emergency services
  • Preparing residents for scheduled fire alarms
  • Understanding the implications of false alarms and how they can reduce proper response for residents 
  • Reviewing fire hazards such as tossing cigarette butts off the balcony, balcony (or indoor) barbecue use, holiday decorations on unit entry doors, unattended candles, etc.
  • The importance of pulling fire alarms when it is clear a fire is in progress such as smoke and fire
  • Proper evacuation procedures
  • Roles and responsibilities of various staff members

Sessions teach residents how their decisions during an emergency impact other residents, staff, and visitors. You can increase attendance by making an event of the sessions and offering alternative ways to attend such as virtual sessions. You can also record the event and make it available for those who don’t attend. 


Implementation must include annual distribution of the fire safety plan to residents, as well as a review and sharing of the document as new residents move in. Posting the plan online and sharing it via an annual newsletter also helps ensure residents are well-informed on emergency and fire safety. Announcing dates and times for alarm testing via social media, email, websites, and signs posted in common areas such as the mailroom, lobby, elevators, entries to parking, etc. reduce the risk of people not responding when an actual emergency alarm is sounded. 

Including residents in your plan through proper education ensures everyone understands Fire Code responsibilities for themselves and staff to respond to a fire alarm safely.

The condo experts at CPO Management Inc, a condo property management company in Toronto and the GTA, can assist with fire safety planning and education for your condo community. Speak to us today.

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