February 2014 - Code Compliance

Staffing Levels in Care Occupancies, Care and Treatment Occupancies and Retirement Homes

February 1, 2014

Ontario’s Fire Code requires every care occupancy, care and treatment occupancy and retirement home to prepare and implement a fire safety plan that has been approved by the Chief Fire Official of the authority having jurisdiction.

Evacuation of residents or patients to a point of safety is the responsibility of the facility administrator and supervisory staff.  Each facility must appoint, organize and instruct the supervisory staff to carry out evacuation procedures in a fire emergency.

The primary role of fire fighters is to suppress the fire and provide rescue where needed, and therefore should not be relied upon to assist with evacuation.


Patients and residents requiring assistance to evacuate include persons who:

                    > are incapable of independent mobility,

                    > require assistance to use or access a mobility aid; or

                    > are incapable of following directions under emergency conditions; or

                    > are capable of self-evacuation, but not without initial assistance and direction.


The level of staff assistance required for occupant evacuation is directly related to the degree and nature of occupant disabilities. Facilities that house occupants with significant physical and/or cognitive impairment require a greater number of staff to assist occupants with moving to a safe location in the event of an emergency.

A care facility with a large number of residents using mobility aids also place a higher demand on supervisory staff than do similar facilities with some cognitively impaired but predominantly ambulatory residents.

Assessing staffing needs to evacuate a facility requires a systematic and coordinated approach.

Code compliance.ca has the skill and training required to assist facility management staff with establishing acceptable staffing needs to ensure that the time taken to detect or discover a fire, and to evacuate patients or residents from a room or floor area (or part of a floor area) to a point of safety, does not exceed the time available to safely evacuate in the event of a fire.

Call codecompliance.ca today at 613-861-0911 and speak to a consultant.