4 causes of fire that can be avoided

4 causes of fire that can be avoided

SSQ Insurance, in collaboration with the Quebec Firefighters Foundation for Major Burn Victims, has made a list of the 4 most frequent yet avoidable causes of fire, which can save you a lot of trouble!

1. Be patient with hot coals

With the arrival of fall comes cooler days and nights. If you use a fireplace or wood stove to heat your house or enjoy a cozy evening by the fire, make sure you do so safely because 35% of fires in Quebec are caused by wood-burning appliances.

When you get rid of ashes, use a metal container with a raised bottom, which you must store outdoors away from anything combustible. Be careful: ashes can stay hot for up to 72 hours.

2. Electrical troubles: call on an expert

It’s better to exercise caution when it comes to electricity and electrical appliances, as electrical defects and malfunctions (either electrical or mechanical) are responsible for 30% of major fires in Quebec each year.

Here is some safe behaviour to adopt:

  • For any new electrical installation, repair or verification, use a master electrician.
  • Don’t attach electrical wiring or extensions with nails or other inadequate means. Use fasteners designed specifically for that purpose.
  • Don’t rely on extension cords for permanent set-ups and make sure they are disconnected when not in use. When using them, leave them exposed and avoid concealing them under rugs or in a wall.

3. Be doubly cautious when cooking

Cooking fires represent 20% of house fires: it is therefore essential to cook with care.

  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended and use a timer.
  • Never heat oil in a pan for frying, no matter what type of pan it is. Use a thermostatic fryer instead.
  • Select a pot that is either the same diameter or bigger than the element as food spills can cause a fire.
  • Always keep a lid nearby. If it’s not the lid for the pot you’re using, make sure it fits properly.
  • Regularly clean the kitchen hood and cooking appliances because grease buildup is a fire hazard.

4. Beware of smoking hazards

It’s a well-known fact that smoking is the cause of many fires. Specifically, it causes 12% of fatal fires in Quebec. The majority of these fires are caused by:

  • Smokers who fall asleep and drop their cigarette in bed or on furniture, or unfortunately don’t discard their butts and ashes in a safe manner;
  • Smokers who put cigarettes in flowerpots;
  • Children who play with matches or lighters.

To prevent this sort of accident:

  • Never leave a burning cigarette unattended.
  • Use large ashtrays that are deep and flat, and don’t put them on the chairs or beds.
  • Never smoke lying down on a sofa or bed.
  • Never throw your ashes and cigarette butts in the garbage. Wet them first or put them in the toilet.
  • Teach your children to tell an adult before using matches or lighters.

Source : Quebec Firefighters Foundation for Major Burn Victims