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.