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HABC Recognized for Its Innovative Resident Fire Safety Initiative

Best practice approach to risk management improves living conditions

The Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) received an honorable mention for the 2012 Best Practices and Housing Authority Risk Retention Innovation (HARRI) Awards. The commendation was given to HABC by the Housing Authority Insurance Group for its innovative “Resident Fire Safety Training Initiative.” The comprehensive risk management program was created in 2006 to prevent fires in mixed–population high rise buildings and ensure the safety of HABC residents in the event of a fire. Since its launch in 2006, the program has reduced the amount of stove fires, eliminated injuries during a fire, and increased resident participation in fire training and drills. HABC is currently implementing this best practice approach to fire safety at all of its facilities.

“We are pleased to have our hard work recognized by the Housing Authority Insurance Group,” said Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano. “HABC’s first priority is to serve our city’s most vulnerable populations and to continuously find ways to improve the safety and living conditions for our residents.”

Annually, HABC’s Safety Office along with the Baltimore City Fire Department hold fire prevention meetings, fire drill training and fire drills at all HABC high-rise developments. This best practice approach includes bringing together a high-level team of fire marshals, local management and resident leaders to teach residents how to identify and eliminate common behaviors that can cause a fire. The fire marshals perform fire drill training to teach safety practices that minimize panic and reduce injury during fire evacuation.

HABC is the 5th largest public housing authority in the nation serving more than 20,000 residents. Its inventory includes 20 mixed population high-rise buildings, which incorporate fire management systems. These buildings have a total population of 3,087 with a senior population of 1,367. In addition, there are approximately 1,704 non-elderly disabled residents with special needs. A special thank you is due to Charlie Aquavella, Associate Deputy Director of Engineering and Capital Improvements, and his team for their novel approach to resident safety.

The Housing Authority Insurance Group serves public housing authorities, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, affordable housing providers, low-income housing and multifamily apartment owners under the low income housing tax credit program with special, niche insurance programs.


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