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How to Comply with the Ontario Fire Code

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The Ontario Fire Code (OFC) compliance requirements are designed to protect lives and structures through fire emergency protection and prevention laws. Even the basic regulations of fire extinguisher training is an important part of fire safety.

What Is the Ontario Fire Code?

The Ontario Fire Code is the first step towards fire prevention and fire protection by outlining requirements, guidelines, and regulations in the province. It is a regulation under The Ontario’s Fire Protection and Prevention Act (FPPA).

The OFC provides the standards commercial and residential buildings must follow in terms of fire safety. It encompasses the technical, electrical, and mechanical requirements for the internal, external, and structural components of buildings. The local municipal fire department enforces the OFC in communities.

Who Is Responsible for Complying with the Ontario Fire Code?

Fire safety and the Ontario Fire Code guidelines are everyone’s business. It is designed to protect lives and property by holding everyone accountable. The following people and organizations must comply:

  • Building owners
  • Occupants and tenants
  • Employers
  • Contractors and developers
  • Property managers
  • Municipal fire departments
  • Local fire authorities
  • Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General
  • Fire inspectors and officials
  • Fire safety coordinators

The Importance of Complying with the Ontario Fire Code

  • Protect Lives: The Ontario Fire Code includes requirements for safe evacuations through the use of fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire escape access.
  • Prevent Fires: To reduce the potential for fire incidents, the Ontario Fire Code has regulations for the storage of flammable materials.
  • Reduce Fire Damage: The Ontario Fire Code contains requirements for the construction of buildings with fire-resistant materials to help lessen fire damage.
  • Protect the Environment: As flammable materials can lead to hazards and damage to the environment, the Ontario Fire Code includes requirements for the disposal of said materials.

General Requirements for Complying with the Ontario Fire Code 

  • Regular inspection and testing of fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and fire extinguishers
  • Fire escape plan
  • Frequent fire drill practice
  • Offer fire safety education and training to occupants and employees
  • Fire-resistant building materials as per code standards
  • Electrical systems and heating equipment that meet fire safety standards
  • Regular fire inspections to ensure compliance and obtain necessary certifications
  • Temporary fire safety measures for construction or renovation projects

More Specific Requirements for Complying with the Ontario Fire Code

There are structures that require additional and more specific conditions than others. Commercial buildings require:

  • Fire alarm systems monitored by a central station
  • Self-closing fire doors
  • Fire extinguishers located throughout the building

Residential buildings require:

  • Smoke alarms on every level of the home
  • Carbon monoxide detectors in all sleeping areas and near heating devices
  • Fire escape plans accessible to all occupants

Consequences of Non-Compliance of the Ontario Fire Code

  • Fines and Penalties: Neglect or failure to adhere to any portion of the OFC will result in hefty fine and penalties, dependent on the severity of the offense. Any repeated violations can lead to more serious consequences.
  • Closure Orders: These serious consequences, and in situations where the non-compliance is a potential risk to one’s life or property damage, can lead to the temporary closure of the business or residency. Under the orders of the Fire Marshal, the closure may remain until all concerns are addressed.
  • Legal Liabilities: In addition to fines and/or possible loss of revenue if a closure occurs, a property owner could be served with a lawsuit if any damage or injury occurs because of the violation.
  • Insurance Implications: A business or residency organization has a legal obligation to carry appropriate insurance. With an OFC non-compliance order, there is a risk for a premium increase and/or cease of coverage by the insurance company.
  • Reputational Damage: While some business owners believe “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”, with a violation of a fire code, it can adversely affect the business’ reputation. Whether the situation is intentional or not, an order from the Fire Marhsal can see a decline in the public’s trust of the business or organization.
  • Increased Fire Risk: The OFC is designed to help prevent the risk of fire incidents. By not complying with the guidelines and policies, a business or organization is putting lives at serious risk. All regulations are in place to protect against property damage and injury.
  • Difficulty Obtaining Permits: Once an order by the Fire Marshal has been placed, it may be difficult for certain businesses and residences to access building and zoning permits once the order has been lifted.
  • Corrective Action Costs: Depending on the reason for the non-compliance order, the costs to rectify the matter can be significant. Business and residence owners may need to install and upgrade fire safety equipment which can cost thousands of dollars on top of potential fines.
  • Legal Action by Authorities: With the OFC, government and fire authorities have the right to take legal action if an upper level of safety and security has been found to be in non-compliance. This can see legal proceedings take years to complete, adding extra expenses.
  • Criminal Charges: Legal actions involving criminal charges may arise with particular non-compliance violations. If a fire incident results in injury, property damage, or loss of life, the owners of the structures involved could be charged.

Meet Ontario Fire Code Compliance Requirements with Our Training Program

The Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) offers comprehensive Ontario Fire Code (OFC) training for supervisors and staff. We have an extensive line of programs and courses for firefighter training certification.

The Supervisory Staff and Ontario Fire Code is a half-day training program under our emergency service professionals grading designed for superintendents, property and building managers and owners. This program outlines the legal responsibilities under Section 2.8 of the OFC.

For more information, contact us with this form and we will be pleased to speak to you!

Mastering the Maze: Navigating Complex Industrial Firefighting Scenarios

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Industrial firefighting involves complex firefighting scenarios that command the very best of firefighter training for the health and safety of all involved.

Most industrial businesses and organizations have a dedicated team of firefighters trained in combating high hazardous fires in multi-level buildings with confined spaces. An industrial fire scenario occurs in any business facility such as a manufacturing complex that uses, stores, and/or produces hazardous chemicals and fuels.

Challenges in Industrial Firefighting

Much like any other fire situation, industrial fires present a unique set of challenges. Below are some of the most common challenges fire personnel deal with.

  • Industrial Infrastructure and Layout: As industrial settings often have multi-layer and multi-level layouts, industrial firefighters must be able to navigate the vast spaces, including confined areas, during an emergency response. 
  • Specialized Equipment and Suppression Techniques: With the presence of chemical waste, hazardous waste, and combustible fuels in business settings, industrial firefighters must have access to specialized equipment. Having proper training for use of said equipment and suppression techniques can be the difference between life and death.
  • Electrical Systems and Power Hazards: Industrial firefighters have to contend with high voltage electrical systems that lead to power hazards during any form of an emergency response. Understanding how to tackle these situations with the proper equipment can introduce new challenges as technology changes.
  • Chemical Management and Hazardous Materials: The management and suppression of fires due to the chemical components of the hazardous materials requires constant education and training in the identification of such materials.
  • Team Coordination and Incident Command: During an emergency response to an industrial fire or situation, the firefighters face communication challenges as various resources are key in the management of a response. 
  • Continuous Training and Preparedness: As no two industrial fires are the same, it is pertinent that all firefighters and counterparts are adequately trained and prepared for any and all fire and rescue-related scenarios. Continuous training through education is crucial.

The Role of New Technology in Industrial Firefighting

Firefighting strategies can only improve by integrating the latest technology into training for industrial firefighters.


The use of drones in emergency response is the perfect example of how advanced technology can be used to save lives and property. Special equipment drones have the ability to combat dangerous fires where hazardous chemicals and toxic fumes restrict firefighters. Drones also give industrial firefighters the advantage of accessing aerial imagery that can improve firefighting.


Extensive training, knowledge, and resources cannot always protect the health and safety of industrial firefighters. Use of robotics to replace the firefighter in extremely hazardous situations is becoming increasing popular in various departments. With sensors to detect smoke, heat, fire, and the presence of unseen human beings, robotics are the best choice to send into complex scenarios. 

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality technology has been used in everyday settings and has become a gamechanger in fire rescue. AR thermal vision cameras can be a lifesaving tool for industrial firefighters in low vision fire situations. To enhance the safety of the firefighters, specialized AR technology has been developed for such scenarios.

Artificial Intelligence

The continuing advancement of AI in firefighting is significant. AI has the ability to analyze the behaviour of a fire before it begins to spread. Training industrial firefighters to use various AI tools introduces new strategies to save time and lives.

Essential Certification Training Required for Industrial Firefighters

The Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) offers extensive training and certification for firefighters of all fields and industries. We offer several industrial firefighter certifications for new and veteran members.

NFPA 1001 Level 1 and 2

New firefighters can begin their training and certification with this course offered in-house and online. The NFPA 1001 Level 1 & 2 involves use of FESTI’s unique training facilities with active fire scenarios, search and rescue, firefighting survival, ladder drills, and auto extrication.

Hazmat Training

FESTI offers several training programs for hazmat training in response to emergency situations. We have the Hazardous Materials Officer Program, Hazmat Scene Management, CBRNE Hazardous Material Awareness, NFPA 1072 Hazardous Materials Operations, NFPA 1072 Hazardous Materials Awareness, and NFPA 1072 Hazardous Materials Technician.

Confined Space Rescue Training

This course uses practical training to address hazards of rescue in confined spaces. FESTI offers the Basic Industrial Confined Space Rescue, Confined Space Entry Certification, and Confined Space Entry Recertification.

Standard First Aid, CPR Level “C” with AED

This two-day certification program is for the responders first on the scene of an emergency. The Standard First Aid, Level C CPR and AED involves training and use of real-world tools and equipment.

Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)

The EMR program gives practical assessments and interventions for proper patient care from a firefighter or other emergency responder.

Enroll in Our Specialized Industrial Fire Fighter Training Courses Today!

Contact FESTI to enroll in our industrial firefighter training programs and accreditations. We are located at Toronto Pearson International Airport as we are part of the fire service onsite. Check here to access more details on our training college. To learn more about our courses, contact us today by filling out the form here.

From Flames to Rescue: Exploring the Challenges Faced by Aircraft Firefighters

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Aircraft firefighters are glamourized by Hollywood but face hazardous and life-threatening challenges in the real world. Rescue training for firefighters must address these challenges to protect the safety and health of the firefighters and the general public.

Canadian Aviation Regulation (CAR) for Aviation Firefighters

Aircraft firefighting training is mandated by the Canadian Aviation Regulation (CAR) under Transport Canada and the responsibility of the Minister of Transport. The training requirements, equipment requirements, and response procedures require stringent polices, guidelines, and certifications.

Unique Challenges Faced by Aircraft Firefighters

Aviation firefighters face some of the challenges aircraft firefighters face on a daily basis, as well as many unique challenges specific to the field:

Rapid Response and Time Sensitivity

Fires of any form require quick and efficient response and an aircraft fire can happen anywhere, on and off the tarmac. With the rapid spread of fire, responders must be able to attend to the incident in a matter of minutes. The situation becomes tricky with aircrafts landing in remote or dense areas such as woods and fields, or even in busy neighbourhoods.

High Flammability of Aircraft Fuel

Working with aircraft fuel presents its own unique challenges due to the hazardous composition of the various types of fuels. Aircraft uses petroleum-based fuels, or synthetic fuel blends which have higher risk regulations than fuel used for ground vehicles.

Aircraft Structures and Systems

At first glance, the aircraft systems and structures can be daunting, confusing, and overwhelming. Response challenges include understanding and being familiar with the design of the aircraft and designated spaces within the cabin.

Confined Spaces and Evacuation

Responding to various sizes of aircraft emergencies presents the challenge of fighting fires within confined spaces to successfully evacuate trapped passengers and crew. These spaces include cockpits, cargo holds, engine compartments, and within the aircraft cabin itself.

Danger of Jet Engine Ingestion 

A firefighter needs to keep their safety in mind when attending a fire, particularly one dealing with the jet engines of an aircraft. The jet engine ingestion is a dangerous situation as the powerful components draw in air which pulls in any object or person within the designated area.

Aviation-Specific Firefighting Tactics 

An aircraft fire presents different challenges than that of a structure fire. The location, extreme temperatures, and adverse weather conditions can increase the risk for passengers, crew, and emergency responders themselves.

Collaboration and Coordination

Aircraft firefighter training must involve learning the importance of working closely with other related industries in responding to an emergency. In coordinating to respond to aircraft fires, various members of medical teams, law enforcement, and airport personnel collaborate. 

Not Having Enough Trained Firefighters

As with many emergency response careers, there is a lack of trained firefighters, especially in the aircraft emergency response industry. It is crucial to provide firefighters with access to the proper training and work opportunities in becoming an aircraft firefighter.

How Can FESTI Help Aircraft Firefighters with ARFF Training?

Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) certification is key in becoming an aviation firefighter by completing the ARFF courses.

Based at the country’s largest airport, the Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) enables aircraft firefighters to receive active training through certification programs and courses. Real-world experiences are incorporated into every exercise and learning session.

NFPA 1003 IFE Airport Firefighter Professional

The NFPA 1003 IFE Airport Firefighter Professional certification is part of the ARFF training which is designed for all firefighters assigned to aircraft fire and rescue. Under the stipulations of NFPA 1003 and the Canadian Aviation Regulations 323.14, this course focuses on ARFF vehicles, equipment, use of extinguishing agents, and airport familiarization.

ARFF Awareness for Structural Firefighters

ARFF certification courses such as the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Awareness program is designed for municipal fire departments with a designated airport within the jurisdiction. Response procedures, hazards, positioning apparatus, fire control, and rescue operations are part of the course. It provides an intro to specialized aircraft rescue firefighting vehicles.

Airport Firefighter I.A.W. CARs 323.14

Training for aviation firefighters involves certification of Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) in accordance with Canadian Aviation Regulations 323.14. Of the 11 modules, firefighter safety, fire behaviour, extinguishing agents, personal protective equipment, and communication is incorporated. It covers airport preplan, airport familiarization, aircraft familiarization, apparatus, rescue operations, and strategic and tactical operations.

ARFF Vehicle Service Course and Test

Aviation firefighters will receive the knowledge and certification for the annual service test by the Canadian Aviation Regulation standard 323. This program provides testing requirements, performance criteria, conducts pre-test pump delivery, tests methods and calculations, pressurized agent purging and venting, acceleration test, and brake operation tests.

NFPA 1002 [Chapter 9] – Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator 

Certification and accreditation of the NFPA 1002 Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator involves requirements for personnel responsible for operating the machinery in non-emergency and emergency scenarios.

ARFF Recertification – 1 Day

Current airport firefighters work with Fire Service Instructors for evaluation of the I.A.W. Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) 323.14 Compliant Recertification checklist. Recertification provides simulations and scenarios based on response runs with the vehicle.

ARFF Recertification – 2 Days

In conjunction with the Canadian Aviation Regulations 323.14 (4) Recurrent Training, FESTI offers an ARFF Recertification two-day course. Employed airport firefighters are able to retain their level of proficiency.

Training Facilities Offered at FESTI

FESTI offers an environmentally sustainable location designed with advanced technology and equipment to ensure each type of firefighter receives superb training. The facility holds a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating.

As FESTI is located at Canada’s largest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, the training facilities for aircraft firefighters are ideal. From a confined spaces building, a rescue tower, a burn building, an auto extrication area, a machine rescue area, a hazardous training site, a Trans Canada rail car CCPX 911, and a specialized aircraft training mock-up area, firefighters have the best training scenarios.

Ignite Your Career with Our Specialized ARFF Training Courses

Aerial firefighting can be challenging to say the least. FESTI offers world-class training and certification for those fire and emergency service professionals dealing with such challenges. We strive to provide every responder with the knowledge, understanding, and qualifications needed to help protect and save lives.

Contact us today for more information about our specialized courses and programs by filling out this form