Toronto Fire Services (TFS) is asking Parkdale residents to stop flicking their cigarette butts with a new targeted ad campaign launching Monday.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said at the campaign launch that 51 fires in the Parkdale area were caused by carelessly tossed lit cigarette butts on balconies in the last year alone. So far in 2018, 28 fires in the neighbourhood have also been caused by the same reasons.
“Our analytics show that the leading cause of fires in the Parkdale area is careless smoking, which outnumbered the predominate city-wide cause of kitchen fires by nearly two to one,” Pegg said.
Toronto fire said over the last five years, data showed that fires due to careless smoking occurred the most in the Parkdale area than any other neighbourhood in the city.
“That needs to stop,” he said. “That’s not a code issue, that’s not a legal issue, that’s just a human behaviour issue.”
Two of the posters unveiled included messages such as, “Don’t be a flicking idiot” and “Kill your butts, not your neighbours.”
Pegg said they had consulted with marketing and analytic experts to develop the new campaign, citing that previous messaging made by Toronto fire had been too gentle and generic.
WATCH: Toronto balcony fire caused by tossed cigarette butt
Experts said the new messaging will be hard hitting and will resonate with residents of the Parkdale area.
“We have every confidence that this will result in a demountable change in behaviour, and we should see over the next couple years a distinct change in our fire stats as well,” Pegg said.
The posters will be seen all over Parkdale, including places such as bus shelters, condo buildings, bars, and community centres. TFS public education staff will also go door-to-door to deliver the new messages to residents in the neighbourhood.