Housing: Background Content

Fire Protection on Reserves


May 19, 2016


Fed. Govt., ON

Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign

NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION (NAN) – AMBER’S FIRE SAFETY CAMPAIGN

Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign includes a 10-point Action Plan detailing responsibilities, timelines and estimated costs. Action items:

  1. INAC to consult with NAN First Nations regarding funding and legislation
  2. Develop a Fire Protection Strategy for NAN communities
  3. Establish a funding model based on identified needs
  4. Build First Nation capacity to manage fire protection and prevention
  5. Develop a regional First Nations fire protection authority
  6. Implement a communications protocol for government fire policy and legislation
  7. Establish long-term commitment for Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign
  8. Implement Wood Energy Technology Training for all NAN First Nations
  9. Utilize partnerships with municipalities to conduct training initiatives
  10. Build upon INAC’s Be Fire Safe program and Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign smoke detector initiatives

Dec, 05, 2017 – NAN’s submission to INACs Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs to provide insight and recommendations on the Committee’s study Fire Safety and Emergency Management in Indigenous Communities. NAN’s submission included the 10-point Action Plan above as well as several additional recommendations to improve fire safety and emergency management in NAN First Nations, and calls on the federal government to:

  1. Provide funding and resources for the implementation of the Amber’s Fire Safety Action Plan for NAN First Nations.
  2. Provide funding, resources and enforcement to ensure that all homes and infrastructure meet national building and fire codes, as per funding agreements.
  3. Support and establish an Independent Fire Marshal Office for First Nation communities to assist First Nations communities with safety and prevention through establishing fire safety standards and performing regular inspections.
  4. Reinstate the tracking of fires on-reserve and create a detailed database of deaths, infrastructure loss and other fire-related incidents and response for use in analytics for the evaluation of fire protection and prevention measures and approaches.
  5. Explore the development of a trilateral process between NAN and the governments of Canada and Ontario to review the provincial Fire Prevention and Protection Act (1997) in order to provide equitable fire prevention services and protection under the rule of law.

March 19, 2016


Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) – Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign includes a 10-point Action Plan detailing responsibilities, timelines and estimated costs (attached). Action items: 

  1. INAC to consult with NAN First Nations regarding funding and legislation 
  2. Develop a Fire Protection Strategy for NAN communities 
  3. Establish a funding model based on identified needs 
  4. Build First Nation capacity to manage fire protection and prevention 
  5. Develop a regional First Nations fire protection authority 
  6. Implement a communications protocol for government fire policy and legislation 
  7. Establish long-term commitment for Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign 
  8. Implement Wood Energy Technology Training for all NAN First Nations 
  9. Utilize partnerships with municipalities to conduct training initiatives 
  10. Build upon INAC’s Be Fire Safe program and Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign smoke detector initiatives 

March, 2021


Fed. Govt., ON

Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign Update report

Think about fire before it starts: Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign: Update Report 2021

Amber’s Fire Safe Campaign continues to:

  • Provide a smoke detector in every home in NAN territory
  • Enhance fire prevention education and increase fire safety awareness
  • Develop plans for fire protection, fire-fighting equipment, services and infrastructure
  • Develop partnerships with key fire protection organizations

Pillars of Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign

  • Education
  • Training
  • Partnerships
  • Capacity Building

Accomplishments

  • GreenON Program: In 2017, NAN started its first Wood Stove Exchange pilot project in partnership withe Provincial Government of Ontario. With the approval of the $1.7 million proposal, this project focused on the exchange of 175 old wood stoves with newer, more energy efficient wood stoves
  • NRCAN BioHeat Program: This project has expanded to additional communities and has built upon existing communities bioheat programs, training and capacity. With the approval of the $2.5 million project in partnership Natural Resources Canada, NAN is working to exchange 200 woodstoves among 6 communities in NAN and provide Wood Energy Transfer Technology training to community members in all 6 communities.
  • WETT Training: Each community that has participated (or will be participating) in the GreenON and NRCAN projects have the opportunity to identify four to six individuals who will take part in the WETT training. WETT training is offered in three phases over a 5-day training period. Once individuals are trained, certified installation can begin. Installers will all be educators as well, distributing information on wood stove maintenance, wood choice and need for proper storage and safety information.
  • Promotional and Communication Materials: NAN developed a number of promotional and communications tools to use in assisting with the delivery of the Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign messaging.
  • Fire Prevention Education Initiative

The NAN Amber’s Fire Safety Campaign (AFSC) has been mandated by the NAN Chiefs-in- Assembly to provide fire prevention education to NAN First Nations schools and communities in order to increase fire safety awareness. So far, the campaign has delivered fire prevention education to 17 NAN First Nations.

Future Objectives

  • Smoke Detector Initiatives
  • Fire Prevention Education
  • Fire Services Inventory
  • Nishnawbe Aski Fire and Emergency Management Service
  • Communications
  • Partnerships

https://www.nan.ca/app/uploads/2021/03/AFSC-Report-2021_DIGITAL.pdf


July 14, 2021


ON

Coroner Findings on Fire Deaths in First Nations

Nishnawbe Aski Nation – In response to the Office of the Chief Coroner report, Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Chiefs of Ontario have identified the following priorities for major improvements to fire safety and prevention:

  • Increase fire safety awareness and education through Amber’s Fire Safety
  • Implement a standardized service delivery model across NAN
  • Ensure community infrastructure and housing conditions are acceptable and built to code
  • Fatal house fires are all too common in many First Nations due to overcrowding, poor housing conditions and a critical lack of fire safety and prevention services.

https://www.nan.ca/news/nan-coo-identify-priorities-as-report-links-systemic-issues-to-fire-deaths-in-first-nations/


July 1, 2021


ON

Coroner Findings on Fire Deaths in First Nations

Ontario Chief Coroner’s Table on Understanding Fire Deaths in First Nations (OCC-UFDFN)

The OCC-UFDFN examined fire deaths in First Nations communities in Ontario over a ten-year period, spanning from 2008 to 2017. This review identified 56 deaths in 29 fires that occurred in 20 First Nations communities across Ontario. Communities where the fatal fires occurred ranged in population size from 30 to 12,750, with the majority having less than 1,000 people living in the community.

Overview of findings and questions that remain:

  • Communities with no year-round road access had the highest number of fatal fires as well as the highest number of fire fatalities.
  • Previous research into fire fatalities found those at greatest risk to be children and older adults. This review found that First Nations children ages 0-9 had the highest fire-related mortality rate (86 times greater than non-First Nations children in Ontario).
  • Seventy percent of fire fatalities in First Nations communities occurred in colder months and 70% occurred overnight. This pattern is consistent with fire fatalities in non-First Nations communities in Ontario and other populations previously reviewed. However, there were a few months that did not follow the overall pattern. A further examination of what may be occurring during these months should be considered.
  • Most (86%) fatal fires in First Nations communities had either no or non-operational smoke alarms in the homes/structures (or the presence of the smoke alarms was unknown). Smoke alarms alert house occupants to smoke allowing early detection and more opportunity for escape. Smoke alarms are one of a number of safety planning approaches important in preventing fire deaths. Education and prevention key elements in reducing fire fatalities
  • Compared to non-First Nations communities in Ontario, more fatal fire investigations report the cause as undetermined in First Nations communities. This is likely due to the higher levels of structural damage seen in fatal fires in First Nations communities, especially those in remote areas where there is limited or no fire suppression capability. Cooking stoves and heating sources (wood stove, chimney/fire place) were the most common way a fire started when the cause was known.
  • This review identified differences in the most common building materials and heating sources used in homes and structures in First Nations communities. Specific construction materials may affect flammability and fire spread in structures. OFM will be conducting further research on structural elements of fatal fires.
  • Emergency response and fire suppression on their own have a limited impact on survival which makes early detection and escape paramount. In some communities there were no fire services available to respond to a fire. It is important to consider the funding and resources required for First Nations communities to ensure that training and education occurs and is tailored to the communities’ needs and realities.

The Advisory Group raised several issues and concerns about housing structures and funding. Important issues requiring further consideration in fire fatalities include:

  • Funding for structures
  • Allocation of funds to meet community needs
  • Role of fire and building codes
  • Status of structure maintenance
  • Jurisdictional issues and responsibilities

 

https://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/sites/default/files/content/mcscs/docs/Ontario%20Chief%20Coroner%27s%20Table%20on%20Understanding%20Fire%20Deaths%20in%20First%20Nations%20final%20June%202021.pdf


May 2, 2017


Fed. Govt.

Fire Prevention of First Nations

  • At least 173 people have died in house fires in First Nations communities since the government stopped tracking the death toll in 2010. At least 25 of the dead are children. (Toronto Star, May 2, 2017)
  • Only two of 18 northern communities the Ontario Firefighters association visited last winter had any organized fire protection services at all.

The Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada has recommended that:

  • The federal government create a fire marshal’s office
  • Enact new legislation that applies the national fire and building codes on reserves, which currently do not apply

The words “fire protection,” “fire prevention,” and “fire services” do not appear once in the 2017 federal budget, which does include $3.4 billion in new spending for indigenous people. Despite “unprecedented” spending for indigenous issues, the new federal budget doesn’t promise a penny more for fire prevention in First Nations communities.

May 2017 – Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations, Carolyn Bennett committed to the creation of a First Nation Fire Marshal and the improvement of tracking fire data on- reserve. This commitment came after Budget 2017 made no mention of funding designated for fire protection in First Nation communities.


June 1, 2018


Fed. Govt.

From The Ashes: Reimagining Fire Safety

From the Ashes: Reimagining Fire Safety and Emergency Management in Indigenous Communities.
15th report of The House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs

This unanimous report calls for changes to the federal framework supporting First Nations in the areas of emergency management and fire safety. Recognizing First Nations as equal partners is an essential first step in improving Canada’s approach. As such, the Committee urges that the federal government works in partnership with First Nations, provinces and territories to clarify, through trilateral agreements, the various roles and responsibilities regarding emergency management in First Nation communities.

During this study, the Committee heard of many promising initiatives, most notably, work towards the creation of a National Indigenous Fire Marshal’s Office. The Committee is in full support of this project. It will promote fire safety and prevention, and have a positive impact in these communities. The role of an Indigenous Fire Marshal’s Office should include: undertaking public education and awareness campaigns, implementing standardized training for fire safety officials, developing and enforcing fire safety standards and building codes, and conducting regular building inspections and data collection.

The link below from Feather of Hope lists all 13 recommendations listed in “From the Ashes” and the offical government repsonse from October 18, 2018
https://www.feathersofhope.ca/government-of-canada-response-to-the-standing-committee-on-indigenous-and-northern-affairs-from-the-ashes-re-imagining-fire-safety-and-emergency-management-in-indigenous-communities/


December 5, 2017


NAN submission to “Fire Safety and Emergency Management in Indigenous Communities”

Dec, 05, 2017 – NAN’s submission to INACs Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs to provide insight and recommendations on the Committee’s study Fire Safety and Emergency Management in Indigenous Communities.

NAN’s submission included the 10-point Action Plan above as well as several additional recommendations to improve fire safety and emergency management in NAN First Nations, and calls on the federal government to:

  1. Provide funding and resources for the implementation of the Amber’s Fire Safety Action Plan for NAN First Nations. 
  • Provide funding, resources and enforcement to ensure that all homes and infrastructure meet national building and fire codes, as per funding agreements. 
  • Support and establish an Independent Fire Marshal Office for First Nation communities to assist First Nations communities with safety and prevention through establishing fire safety standards and performing regular inspections. 
  • Reinstate the tracking of fires on-reserve and create a detailed database of deaths, infrastructure loss and other fire-related incidents and response for use in analytics for the evaluation of fire protection and prevention measures and approaches.
  • Explore the development of a trilateral process between NAN and the governments of Canada and Ontario to review the provincial Fire Prevention and Protection Act (1997) in order to provide equitable fire prevention services and protection under the rule of law.