The Community Property Safety Team (CPST) is a bold, innovative and proactive approach to reducing fire risk in the City of Edmonton.

Utilizing the National Fire Code - Alberta Edition 2019 (Division B Section and the Municipal Government Act, the CPST is responsible for securing and holding landowners accountable for unsecured and vacant buildings that pose a fire risk to the surrounding community.

If owners do not comply with an order issued by an Edmonton Fire Prevention Officer, the work will be carried out on the behalf of the owner with all costs charged to the owner's tax roll. Securement requirements can include robust board-up procedures, fencing, and up to 24/7 security patrols ordered through an escalating model of enforcement.


What is the Community Property Safety Team (CPST)?

The CPST is a pilot project (based on the Surrey model) that was developed in the first quarter of 2022 to address the worsening problem of fires occurring in unsecured vacant properties. It is a joint initiative between Edmonton Fire Rescue Services and the City of Edmonton’s Community Standards and Neighbourhoods Branch - Complaints and Investigations section. 

The pilot will run from April 11, 2022, to the end of 2023.  

What is an unsecured vacant property?

A vacant building is considered unsecured if the structure has any openings that allow for unauthorized entry such as windows or doors. A building is considered unsecured if there is an unauthorized person inside, if there is evidence of unauthorized people having been in the building, or if there is a way for an authorized person to access the building.

This applies to both residential and commercial buildings.

Why is an unsecured vacant property a problem?

Fires in unsecured vacant properties have been identified through Edmonton Fire Rescue Services’ Community Risk Assessment as the most dangerous fire problem currently facing Edmontonians and firefighters. All of the fires that occur in these properties are caused, either intentionally or unintentionally, by illegal occupants. Securing these properties will drastically reduce fire frequency at these properties.

Why is the Community Property Safety Team (CPST) pilot project important?

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services is committed to protecting life, property and the environment.

In the fall of 2021, two individuals died in fires involving unsecured vacant properties, and a firefighter had a near miss due to a building structural issue while trying to extinguish a fire. Fire frequency is very high and is getting worse. 

What is the Community Property Safety Team (CPST) process?

The CPST follows an escalating model of enforcement. The model includes extremely thorough boarding, fencing, intermittent on-site security and up to 24/7 on-site security, all billed to the non-compliant property owner. If a property owner fails to pay the invoice, the amount owing will be added to their tax roll account. 

Property owners have the option of boarding up the properties themselves, which the City will accept as long as rigorous standards are met. If an owner has complied with the order to secure their property, the property will be placed on a monitoring list to ensure that compliance with the order is maintained.

In extreme cases (under specific circumstances) and only with approval from the Deputy Fire Chief of Public Safety, the CPST can order demolitions.

The expected result of the escalation model is that voluntary, owner-initiated demolition or securement will become common, as property owners will likely want to avoid the cost-intensive security options.

What information is needed to file a complaint?
  • Name and contact information of the person reporting the property
  • Address of the property in question
  • Description of the building including supporting details confirming it is unsecured and vacant
What is the projected response time once a complaint has been filed?

A Fire Prevention Officer will open an investigation into the complaint within three (3) business days of the initial call.