5 Fire-Prevention Tips
There are many different causes of home fires, but you can do your best to eliminate the risks. Here are 5.
1. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Install battery-operated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your house. They are essential. You definitely want to be alerted when carbon monoxide levels start getting high.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colourless gas that won’t irritate the eyes or breathing passages, making it undetectable.
You should also consider installing smoke detectors that are connected to a central monitoring station that will report alarms to your 911 services.
Replace the batteries as soon as the detector makes a chirping sound or when setting the clocks forward or back.
Once a month, press the test button to make sure the detector is working properly.
Once a year, expose them to smoke (e.g. blow out a candle nearby).
Don’t forget that the average lifespan of a detector is 10 years.
2. A fire extinguisher
Handheld extinguishers will help you put out a small fire, and hopefully help you control it until the firefighters arrive.
When shopping for extinguishers, consider:
- Certification (ULC’s Fire and Security Alarm System Certificate)
- Weight (less than 5 pounds)
- Ability to put out solid (paper, wood, cardboard, etc.) and liquid combustible fires, as well as electric fires (appliances).
Keep extinguishers handy, but out of reach of children.
Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guidelines, and replace extinguishers every 6 years.
3. An evacuation plan
To ensure an effective evacuation for everyone living under your roof, plan ahead and prepare a fire safety plan.
This plan must show:
- Emergency exits (front door, windows, etc.)
- A path to each exit
- A muster station that is accessible year-round
- The location of the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Find a safe place from where to call 911. When your house is on fire, you might forget to bring your phone!
With a stopwatch in hand, perform an evacuation exercise. Consider doing this when changing the batteries in your detector.
4. Use cigarettes and vaping devices responsibly
Smoking electronic or traditional cigarettes poses a fire risk. Be careful!
- Never leave lit cigarettes unattended
- Keep lighters and matches away from children
- Use a deep ashtray on a sturdy surface
- Smoke outside, and avoid tossing the butts into flowerpots or the garden
- Do not smoke while lying down
- Lightly douse your ashtray with water before throwing out the butts and ash
- Avoid smoking while intoxicated (alcohol or drugs)
- Do not smoke next to flammable products
Manipulate your vaping device with care:
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations
- Avoid overloading the device’s battery
- Use the cables provided by the manufacturer (charger, USB cable, etc.)
- Carry your e-cigarette in its case to avoid it coming into contact with metal
5. A clutter-free home
To reduce the risk of fire, get rid of useless junk that is simply taking up space, like newspapers and circulars.
Clutter makes it hard to walk around the house, which will make it that much more difficult for firefighters to control the fire.