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Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs - News Release

New Study Proves Fire Response Time Savings

A new protocol called e-DTF can shave an average of 103 seconds off the time it takes fire fighters to respond to an emergency.

Toronto, Ontario May 23, 2001

A new study by fire prevention officials shows that, on average, fire fighters can get to the scene of a fire 103 seconds faster using a new type of fire response technology called e-DTF. The study results were announced at a recent meeting of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs in Toronto.

Time savings of a full 2 minutes or more were experienced in over 25% of the sites tested in the study. The faster response is due to a new protocol known as e-DTF or electronic direct to the fire department notification. With e-DTF, a fire signal is transmitted electronically to the fire department's computer dispatch system as it simultaneously reaches an alarm monitoring station.

The study was conducted over the winter months in Mississauga, Ontario [a city of 650,000 bordering Toronto]. Fire prevention authorities and the fire engineering consulting firm Leber Rubes Inc. actually conducted the tests. The Insurers' Advisory Organization [IAO] audited the study.

The current application of e-DTF is called OPEN ACCESS™, which is provided by Fire Monitoring Technologies International Inc. [FMTI]. OPEN ACCESS™ can be used by UL/ULC listed alarm monitoring stations. Several cities utilize the technology today including Mississauga, Ottawa and Windsor.

"The advantage of electronic notification", said Cyril Hare of Leber Rubes Inc., the study's project director, "is that the fire signal is sent electronically, once it arrives at a monitoring station, directly into the fire department's computer dispatch system. Time savings result from eliminating certain manual steps when the call details are being processed by the monitoring station and the fire department."

"One or two minutes may not sound like a great deal of time," said Norman Cheesman, the Director of Communications for FMTI, the company which sponsored the study. "Fire grows exponentially in its early stages. Saving even a few seconds could make the difference between life and death".

Savings in fire response time from e-DTF is similar to using a banking machine. Certain manual steps are eliminated, and the result is faster.

"We consistently found that the use of electronic dispatch shortened the time required to process a fire signal," Mr. Hare stated. "While valuable seconds can be saved with this new technology, alarm station operators and fire dispatchers are still vital to the emergency response process."

The tests were undertaken at properties required to be monitored for fire in accordance with building and fire code regulations. Such premises included a mix of schools, hospitals, large apartment buildings, nursing homes and some commercial facilities. All were selected at random. Approximately 20% of the sample were properties monitored using e-DTF. The balance was properties monitored by conventional means, i.e., the signal was processed manually by operators at the monitoring station and in the fire department.

Kevin Duffy, the Assistant Deputy - Communications & Operations for the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services, said that "this kind of time saving represents a very substantial reduction in overall response time. This new protocol not only has the potential to save lives, but to reduce damage in the event of a fire. It also provides a safer environment for our fire fighters."

"These results have tremendous implications for property managers and builders as well as insurers", commented Jim Asselstine, the President and CEO of Fire Monitoring. "We're pleased that these preliminary results are fully consistent with a similar study undertaken in Ottawa. Anything that reduces the risk of life loss and property damage should be given the highest consideration."

Fire Monitoring Technologies International Inc., or FMTI, is a leading e-based fire response technology supplier with offices in Toronto and St. Catharines, Ontario.