Knowing the top causes of fires is a good way to start learning how to prevent fires. Did you know that cooking is the number one cause of fires in the home? Heating, electrical, smoking and candles are also among the top five causes.
You can also help prevent fire damage and injury by ensuring your family is prepared for a fire emergency by developing a home fire escape plan, and installing and regularly inspecting both smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors.
There are also special considerations during the holiday season when many homes have extra lights both inside and outside, people are spending more time in the kitchen and people may be using extra heating appliances. Follow the simple fire safety tips below to protect your family and home.
Knowing the top causes of fires is a good way to start learning how to prevent fires. Cooking is the Number one cause of fires in the home. Heating, electrical, smoking and candles are also among the top five causes. To reduce these types of fires, follow these simple steps.
Cooking provides an outlet for creativity and can be relaxing - help prevent cooking fires by staying in the kitchen while using the stove.
Never leave your cooking, (including the barbecue) unattended!
Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels - away from your stove top. And never put water on a grease/oil fire!
Please ensure all home heating appliances, like furnaces, gas fireplaces, chimneys, space heaters, etc., are in good working condition.
Ensure that heaters are plugged directly in to the wall and remember to place portable devices at least 1 metre away from flammable materials and turn them off while you’re sleeping or when you leave your home.
Electricity makes our lives easier, but we need to be cautious and keep safety in mind especially during the holiday season when we have more items plugged in such as Christmas lights.
Remember to only use approved light sets only, do not overload circuits, check all light sets prior to use discarding any that are frayed or damaged and use proper clips - not staples - to install outdoors. Extension cords and power bars should be used as a temporary measure only.
Always turn off lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Candles may be pretty to look at but their open flame can easily ignite anything – choose battery-operated “flameless” candles as a great alternative.
If you must use candles, keep them on a flat, non-combustible surface, away from anything that can burn, and never leave them unattended.
Smoking should be done outside only, and cigarettes shall be extinguished using a designated ashtray or water. Never try to extinguish cigarettes in garden soil or plant pots.
Working smoke alarms in the home reduce the risk of dying in a house fire by 50%.
Every home is required to have working smoke alarms installed on every level of the home and on the ceiling outside of sleeping areas. Smoke alarms should be tested once per month, and batteries should be replaced twice a year. If your smoke alarm is older than 10 years, it is time to replace it. Check your smoke alarms today!
For more information on smoke alarms, view the "Smoke Alarms at Home" Tip Sheet (PDF).
Carbon monoxide ("the silent killer") is an invisible, odourless, colourless gas that is created when fuels (such as natural gas) burns incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.
A person can be poisoned by a small amount of Carbon Monoxide over a longer period of time, or by a large amount of Carbon Monoxide over a shorter amount of time.
For more information on Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Monoxide detectors, view the "Carbon Monoxide Safety" Tip Sheet (PDF).
Having a home fire escape plan in place is an important part of being prepared for a fire emergency. Every room should have two ways out, aisles should be clear and an outside meeting place should be assigned.
Ensure your family has an emergency escape plan and that all family members know of and practice at least two ways out, both at night and during daylight hours. Children should be taught how to escape on their own in case no one is able to assist them.
Children can and should be taught fire safety from a very young age. Here are a few steps you can take:
For more information, activities and lesson plans about Fire Safety for Kids, visit Sparky.org.
It's always important to keep an eye on and be aware of the local fire-risk rating as there are a number of changes and impacts to residents when it increases such as barbeque bans in our parks or the relaxation of watering restrictions in areas adjacent to heavily wooded/forested areas such as Mundy Park the northern forested boundary of the city.
The current fire risk is “LOW”